If there was a theme song for Sunday’s World Cup super-G race at Lake Louise, it would be “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash. The athletes could see clearly, and the snow had gone. The ladies could see all the obstacles in their way.
It was a picturesque way to end the first speed races of the season, and Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather took advantage to win her first race of the season.
“It was great,” Weirather said of her run. “I mean it was a bit difficult because the snow was so different. There were gates where it was really hard and icy and bumpy and others were pretty soft, so you had to be ready for anything and that made it pretty tricky.”
Author’s note: I recommend listening to this song while reading this article.
Weirather gets to keep her red bib after winning last season’s super-G globe. She beat rival Swiss athlete Lara Gut by 0.11 seconds. The two athletes have a healthy competition between them.
“Well, it’s always great if she’s second and I’m first,” Gut said jokingly. “No, I’m kidding. It’s cool. I think this is what we need on the World Cup circuit… Skiing with Lindsey or Fenninger or all those athletes, well, it helps you, brings you farther.”
Weirather, who often trains with the Swiss team, shared her competitor’s sentiments.
“We’re for sure competitors, and we like those battles because like the last two years she was beating me by a couple hundredths,” she said. “Today I beat her by a couple hundredths, and I’m sure we both want to be faster, but also, we can lose. Then when you’re a couple hundredths back, of course you’re a bit mad at yourself, but then you really congratulate her from the heart. I think it’s really important to have those natural and honest competitors.”
While the World Cup super-G globe winner knows the importance of these types of competitors, Weirather admitted she’s never been a fan of competing against people.
“…I’m the person who is more like, not in competition with others, but more with myself because I used to play tennis when I was younger, and I always hated to play against someone and play the shots that the other one didn’t like,” she explained. “I always preferred skiing, where I could have my battle with the hill and then in the finish area know how fast the others were, but I don’t like to fight anyone else.”
The pair was joined on the podium by 2017 Super-G World Champion Nicole Schmidhofer. The Austrian stands just over five-feet tall, but that doesn’t stop her from being one of the fastest women around. The third-place finisher prefers super-G because its lacks training runs.
“You have only once chance,” Schmidhofer shared. “It’s high speed. In the downhill, you have two or three training runs and this is a lot different from super-G. It’s more turny than the downhill, so I think super-G is a more interesting competition.”
The headliner for the weekend, American Mikaela Shiffrin, finished just off the podium in fifth place. There were only 0.84 seconds between her and the win, and she was pleased with her run.
“There was a little bit of a tricky section coming into the shade in the middle part, where I think quite a few girls made a little bit of a mistake there, and I definitely made a pretty big mistake there,” she recalled. “I could feel myself slowing down, but all in all, the run was really aggressive, and I sort of took the same mindset that I had from the downhill and put it in the super-G today. So, I still have some things to learn about switching my timing and my rhythm from downhill to super-G, but generally speaking, I’m really excited and really happy with the mentality I had all weekend.”
Shiffrin was the only American in the top 20. Breezy Johnson skied to 25th while Alice McKennis also scored World Cup points, coming in 29th. Stacey Cook, Jacqueline Wiles and Alice Merryweather were all outside the top 30, earning 32nd, 35th and 39th, respectively. Lindsey Vonn did not finish after her skis slid out from under her, and she slid to a stop. The American ski star was able to ski down on her own.
The women now head to St. Moritz, Switzerland, for two super-G races and an alpine combined from Dec. 8-10.
- Tina Weirather (LIE) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Lara Gut (SUI) – Head / Head / Head
- Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT) – Fischer / Fischer / Fischer
- Tessa Worley (FRA) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
- Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Johanna Schnarf (ITA) – Fischer / Fischer / Fischer
- Jasmine Flury (SUI) – Stoeckli / Lange /
- Cornelia Huetter (AUT) – Voelkl / Marker / Dalbello
- Sofia Goggia (ITA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Corinne Suter (SUI) – Head / Head / Head
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points||WC Points|
|41||34||426257||LIE Kajsa Vickhoff||1998||NOR||1:22.70||+4.18||57.49|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|Disqualified 1st run|