LAKE LOUISE, Alberta – The World Cup speed ladies were caught a bit off guard on a less familiar track in Lake Louise this year during their opening downhill training run, as the course utilizes more terrain and larger features than in previous editions. The Austrian team demonstrated the strongest ability to make adjustments from inspection, and Cornelia Huetter led the way with the fastest training run time of 1:51.54. She was followed by her teammate Nicole Schmidhofer at 0.83 seconds back, while Swiss star Lara Gut was 0.97 seconds back.
Four Austrian skiers produced results among the five fastest times, all within one second of Huetter.
“I had a solid run but there are still sections where I can improve like going over these new rollers,” said Huetter. “It’s nice to be the fastest, but that’s only the first training and we cannot take it too seriously.”
Lindsey Vonn skied the fastest first split and was carrying speed into the middle of the course, but that’s where her intrepid approach may have gotten the better of her.
“There’s some new terrain on the course this year, and I came into a section with more speed than I anticipated and just kind of launched off of it and was going the wrong direction,” said Vonn. “That’s what training runs are for, to kind of get the feeling and see what speed you have, where you can push the line and where you can’t. I definitely learned a bit about the new terrain today, and hopefully tomorrow goes a little better.”
Despite finishing over four seconds behind the leader’s time, Vonn plans to push hard again in Thursday’s final training run.
“Tomorrow I’m definitely not going to back off because I need to be able to see what speed I’m going to have coming into those bumps and how to best carry my speed through them instead of launching off of them,” she noted. “I’m definitely going to have to try to push things tomorrow and see how it works out, see if I have to make any more adjustments for the races.”
Independent Canadian skier Larisa Yurkiw led the charge for North Americans, finishing 10th. The U.S. Ski Team’s Laurenne Ross and Stacey Cook were 11th and 15th, respectively.
Gut, eager to take advantage of a short window of opportunity to train afternoon slalom, declined interviews following her downhill run. A course hold after Daniela Merighetti’s start in bib 11 concerned spectators as the rescue helicopter took off from the finish area. Merighetti was evacuated from the course using the long line, but her team reports that she suffered a laceration to her hip, likely from a ski edge, but is still hopeful to race. Her name was left on the board for Thursday’s training run. Last season the Italian broke her jaw and leg in two separate crashes during the winter.
|18||23||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR||1:54.03||+2.49|
|48||44||206548||MAGG Ann Katrin||1994||GER||1:57.79||+6.25|
|53||56||465098||CAILL Ania Monica||1995||ROU||2:00.47||+8.93|
|Did not finish 1st run|