LAKE LOUISE, Alberta – Lindsey Vonn showed her Canadian fans that a double-double isn’t just a coffee order at Tim Hortons, it’s also the best way to collect World Cup downhill victories at Lake Louise. She skied to her second win in as many days down the Men’s Olympic slope, leading some to question if she’s kicking off another streak to rival her one from 2010-2012 when she claimed seven consecutive races at the Alberta resort.
“I still don’t think I’m quite to the form that I was in 2012, the season that I won the four titles. I was so confident in all disciplines,” reflected Vonn. “I feel like I’m pretty confident right now but I think I could still be better, but I’m still happy with where I am.”
If Vonn gets more confident, she may leave her nearest competitors even further behind. After a mishap the day before still led to a 0.58-second margin of victory, Vonn planned to ski a less risky line and wound up over a second ahead of Switzerland’s Fabienne Suter, the runner-up on the day.
“Today I tried to limit my risk but at the same time my skis were so fast and the light was really flat and also it was a little more bumpy today, that I was kind of hanging on for dear life,” admitted Vonn. “I felt like I was trying to be aggressive and trying to still ski solidly but nothing was kind of going my way. I have to look at video and see how it actually was compared to what it felt like. I think Heinz (Hämmerle) is doing an amazing job. My skis were really fast today.”
Austria’s Ramona Siebenhofer was also running fast skis and entered the homestretch of Easy Street with an early lead on the day, but she launched the final jump in view of the finish line off balance and crashed through the turning gate below. Luckily, she rose to her feet and was able to ski down unassisted, but her promising race run was over. The first skier of the day, Johanna Schnarf, crashed off the very same jump.
“I wasn’t getting any reports about that, but I definitely was shocked by it when I went off of it and I was kind of in the backseat a little bit, landed on my tails, and was slightly worried for a second there that I was going to go out right before the finish – which I have done before. So I’m thankful that I was on the right side of the gate and made it to the finish,” reasoned Vonn.
Second-place finisher Suter weighed retirement after failing to reach the podium in the 2014-15 season. The Swiss skier had been ranked in the top seven in both super G and downhill in 2010 and in super G from 2008-2010 and 2012-2013.
“It took a long time to come back onto the podium,” Suter said. “I am just so happy right now, enjoying every moment.”
Word of the flat light on course and challenging lower jump reached some athletes at the start via radio communication, but they also heard there was opportunity on the track for those who pushed.
“It wasn’t really easy today,” Suter commented on her run. “I saw at the start that the light was getting bad, but I heard that some girls before me had good results. So I knew everything could be possible and tried to attack. That was my goal, and I think I didn’t make out to0 badly.”
For the second time in as many days, Conny Huetter joined Vonn on the podium, this time taking third. The Austrian who is already having the speed season of her career after only two races wasn’t even a skier until the age of 10.
“From (age) five to ten, I only snowboarded. So that was a little bit different from the other ski racers. And then at 10, I thought that it would be a good job to earn my money with this – to have fun and be outside in nature. So then I trained a lot. At first I was slower than the others because I did not have as much training, and then I got better and better. And now I’m here!” Huetter exclaimed with a smile.
A rare three-way tie for eighth place between Lara Gut, Viktoria Rebensburg, and Nicole Schmidhofer bumped American Stacey Cook into 11th. Jackie Wiles proved her recent head sponsorship from the Lindsey Vonn Foundation was no fluke by producing her best result since Jan. 2014, finishing 17th. Alice McKennis was 20th and Laurenne Ross finished 21st. Young gun Breezy Johnson just missed the points in 32nd.
The ladies’ speed week at Lake Louise concludes on Sunday with a super G race scheduled for 11:00 a.m. MST.
By Hank McKee
1 Vonn, Head/Head/Head
2 Suter F., Dynastar/Lange/Dynastar
3 Huetter, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
4 Fanchini, Dynastar/Lange/Dynastar
5 Kling, Head/Head/Head
6 Suter C., Head/Head/Head
7 Yurkiw, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
8 Rebensburg, Stockli/Lange/Atomic
8 Gut, Head/Head/Head
8 Schmidhofer, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Women’s World Cup downhill, Lake Louise, Canada, Dec. 5, 2015. … It is the sixth of 41 races on the women’s World Cup schedule … the second of nine scheduled downhills and the second in two days at Lake Louise, as scheduled. … It is the 104th World Cup race at Lake Louise which has been hosting since 1980. … It is the 63rd downhill at the site and the fourth this season.
- It is the 69th career World Cup win for Lindsey Vonn … her 35th in downhill and her 17th win at Lake Louise and 14th in downhill. … It is the fourth time she has swept both downhills at Lake Louise having accomplished it in 2009 – 2011 – 2012 and this season. … It is the 292nd U.S. win and fifth of the season. … Winning margin is 1.05 seconds. … Top 11 are within two seconds.
- It is the 16th career World Cup podium placing for Fabienne Suter. … She was also second in Lake Louise in super G on Dec. 7, 2008.
- It is the third career World Cup podium for Cornelia Huetter and her second in two days.
- It is the fifth best career result for Larisa Yurkiw, matching her second best at Lake Louise. … It is the 23rd best career result for Stacey Cook and the 10th best at Lake Louise. … It is the second best career result for Jackie Wiles following a 15th in downhill at Cortina Jan. 24, 2014. … It is the 21st top-20 finish for Alice McKennis. … It is the 11th score at Lake Louise for Laurenne Ross.
- Mikaela Shiffrin (did not race) leads the World Cup overall standings 280-222 over Lara Gut (eighth in race). … Vonn jumps to third overall with 200.
- Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 657-645 over the U.S. … Italy is third with 631pts. … Canada is seventh with 219pts.
|18||30||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR||1:52.78||+2.35||26.60|
|45||53||465098||CAILL Ania Monica||1995||ROU||1:58.88||+8.45||95.65|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|44||206548||MAGG Ann Katrin||1994||GER|