A tough fight from the top to the bottom on the Kandahar slope

Vonn from the US starts during the first training for the Alpine Skiing World Cup downhill ski race in St. AntonLindsey Vonn from the U.S. starts during the first training for the Alpine Skiing World Cup downhill ski race in St. Anton, January 10, 2013. (REUTERS/ Leonhard Foeger)

Courtesy of fisalpine.com

St. Anton, Austria – Switzerland’s Lara Gut was fastest in this morning’s downhill training in a time of 1:38.31, more than one second ahead of Anna Fenninger (+1.02). However the Austrian racer did a clear run, while Lara Gut missed gate number 6. As a matter of fact, a lot of gates were missed by the ladies on the difficult slope of Kandahar — 31-year-old Daniela Merighetti, who is third on the timesheets, did so as well.

“It’s gonna be a challenging course for the entire field.” These were the words of speed queen Lindsey Vonn. It is indeed the general opinion here. Vonn had the 24th fastest time on the bumpy and challenging course following her three-week break to recover from intestinal illness.

Lara Gut, who won the last downhill of the season in Val d’Isère, admitted with her usual smile that the course was tough but that she enjoyed it a lot. “The snow on the top section is very aggressive, a bit like in Lake Louise, and very icy on the bottom part because of the rain of the last week. It is bumpy from the very top to the finish area. It’s actually crazy”, said the Swiss racer.

A similar comment was made by Anna Fenninger: “It was a fight, a fight all the way down. A fight for survival! This course is steep almost from the very top and it was very hard to ski today. Usually I feel very comfortable on my skis but not today. I am hoping to bring my winning momentum from 2012 into 2013. I am happy to have some speed races again, it’s been a while since Val d’Isere. I am especially looking forward to the super-G, which we also trained last few days.”

Marie Marchand-Arvier agrees with her World Cup mates on the difficulties they faced today. “It’s not the steepness that makes this course tough,” said number one in the French speed team. “It was the bumps. It is bumpy all the way down, and that’s tough. Your legs burn.”

Let’s hope that the weather will allow a second training tomorrow for all the ladies to feel more comfortable on the Kandahar slope.

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