BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — After topping the field by 1.18 seconds in Thursday’s downhill training, Lara Gut said she will try to improve on her performance in Friday’s race. That would almost definitely make for a winning run in the ladies’ inaugural contest on Raptor, the new women’s downhill course in Beaver Creek.
For the second day in row, Tina Weirather finished runner-up, followed by Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia in third.
Gut, who opened the week fastest in Tuesday’s training run, was able to correct a mistake she made Wednesday in the crucial Banshee Bank section of the course.
“I’m always too late and I’m losing some speed (there). If I can’t, then it’s going to be hard to be fast into the finish,” said Gut. “I just tried to ski, not like yesterday (when) I wasn’t so clean on my skis. Today I just tried to ski clean. And this is the only difference between yesterday and today.”
Gut said she’s had to make an adjustment to the North American snow, saying it’s more aggressive and easier to make the skis turn, compared to Europe.
“I’m just going to watch the video and improve on what I did today. (There were) a few turns that I didn’t do the way I wanted. (I’m) going to try to do it even better tomorrow,” added Gut. “Tomorrow everybody has to do something. Everybody starts everything from zero.”
Last’s season’s overall champ Tina Maze had her best finish of the training week in eighth. The Slovenian said she isn’t terribly alarmed by her results at this early point in the season.
“Of course, one race was bad, but bad days happen and you have to take them if you want to be strong. It’s not that you can win everyday, you need to be able to lose too,” said Maze. “I know where I made mistakes and I know where I can do better, but two seconds I think it would be too hard for me to recover. Maybe not, but I’m feeling day by day better here, so never say never.”
Meanwhile, Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who played around with longer skis and less aggressive boots Wednesday, went back to her original setup today, which worked better for her. She finished sixth.
“Today, I had much better feeling with my equipment,” said Hoefl-Riesch. “Tomorrow, I hope I can optimize my turns. There were some turns where I lost some speed and some time.”
American Leanne Smith skied her best of three training runs, finishing ninth, which is consistent with her planned progression to get faster every day.
“I think that was a step in the right direction,” said Smith. “I think that’s what I wanted before we start racing tomorrow. (The course) is definitely getting easier to figure out. … There’s still stuff to clean up, which is what I want. I want something to focus on tonight.”
Smith has been warming up on GS skis this week, a testament to the technicality of the race hill at Beaver Creek. “I normally warm up on super G skis for downhill anyway, but today I was looking for some more aggressive skiing, so I tried to really just crank GS turns.”
Smith said Gut must be doing something right to be that far ahead, and the U.S. team will likely study Gut’s video prior to Friday’s race. She also assured Ski Racing Magazine that the girls will find some turkey and stuffing this Thanksgiving evening, but they might have to skip dessert in anticipation of Friday’s race.
Results — Beaver Creek Training Day 3
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||FIS Points|
|4||30||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR||1:42.57|
|35||14||495318||RUIZ CASTILLO Carolina||1981||SPA||1:44.65|
|40||48||298084||AGERER Lisa Magdalena||1991||ITA||1:44.98|
|59||71||35089||SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG||1:48.36|