The newfangled sled was never the problem and Calgarian Paul Boehm knew it would just take a while until he got familiar with his ride. Well, looks like the time's come after the 30-year-old captured his first career Canadian skeleton championship yesterday at Canada Olympic Park.
He bought the Ryan Davenport-built unit before the current World Cup season but watched as his rankings plummeted like a lead balloon.
"It's taken a while to get used to (the sled) and I got used to it today," said Boehm, who is normally good for top 10 results but his best World Cup finish this season is 11th.
Boehm's two-run time of one minute 55.12 seconds beat defending Canadian and world champion Duff Gibson of Calgary, who was second in 1:55.37.
Another Calgarian, Keith Loach, had his best finish at nationals, sliding into third in 1:56.60.
For Boehm, whose best World Cup finish was fourth last season in Calgary, the win is a big confidence booster with the Stampede City hosting the world championships starting Feb. 20.
"It's good to have the times compared to someone like Duff and it boosts the confidence where I know I've got a shot at contending when we come back (for worlds)," said Boehm, who is a log homebuilder.
Calgary's Jeff Pain, the current overall World Cup leader, didn't compete yesterday after injuring his hamstring Monday.
The former world champion said he'll be fine this week when the team heads to Turin, Italy, for the next World Cup and Olympic testing.
Meanwhile, Lindsay Alcock defended her Canadian title, obliterating the field in the process.
The Calgarian finished her two runs in 1:57.91, beating Eckville's Mellisa Hollingsworth by more than a second , which in skeleton racing is the equivalent of miles. Hollingsworth, who has several World Cup medals under her belt and is no slouch on a sled, finished in 1:59.39.
Fort St. John, B.C.'s Michelle Kelly was third in 1:59.97.