Courtesy of fisalpine.com
LAKE LOUISE, Canada – Let the ladies speed season begin! After a very exciting technical weekend in Aspen, the ladies head to their first speed races of the season in Canada. Other than a few minor differences with start position and gate placement, this is the only track on which both men and women compete. With very cold temperatures forecasted and hard packed, natural snow this year, the track has been left un-injected. The awesome conditions last week for the men proved that great results can happen from any start number. With three training runs planned, the ladies should get a really good feel for the track and build up their confidence for race day.
Lake Louise as a speed track has a little bit of everything. There are lots of flat sections which require gliding skills, the right wax, and the proper line. Setting up for the flat sections is key. If racers bobble before the long flat sections they risk losing valuable time. Other than the flats, there are jumps, and lots of rolls. This is race that is not extremely difficult, but is difficult to be fast on. Racers really need to nail the right line in order to create as much speed as possible.
Lindsey Vonn dominated the Lake Louise races last season in both Downhill and Super G. She knows the track and she knows how to ski it fast. With seventeen previous podiums in Lake Louise, she enters the race as the definite favorite. Whether or not her recent illness will affect her performance is still uncertain. She opted out of Sundays slalom race in order to rest more for the speed races. Her performance in giant slalom was not her best but demonstrated that she could still manage to get some points for her defense of this year’s overall title.
Maria Hoefl-Riesch, Dominique Gisin, Elisabeth Goergl, Andrea Fischbacher and Anna Fenninger have all been consistently fast in Lake Louise over the past few seasons and are undoubtedly podium contenders. Anna Fenninger, Lara Gut and Viktoria Rebensberg should be bringing lots of confidence into these speed races after their awesome giant slalom performances last weekend at the Aspen World Cup. All eyes will be on Tina Maze after her two podium performances last weekend in Aspen. She’s “ready to feel some speed” and certainly going for another win.
With the absence of one of the most dominant ladies in speed, Anja Pearson who retired last season, there is room for someone to step up and break into the top group of girls.
With one star leaving, another is returning; Chemmy Alcott is making her comeback at Lake Louise and is bringing tons of positivity and smiles into her return to World Cup racing!
With an amazing crew of course workers, the “Sled Dogs,” making sure that the hill is in the best possible shape, the upcoming week of speed races should be very entertaining and exciting. Will Vonn continue to dominate or will someone like Maze bring her confidence into Lake Louise and make another statement?