After a flurry of activity to prepare for Sunday’s SuperG, the Chateau Lake Louise hosted the public bib draw/bib pick.
The podium winners from Saturday’s race were feted and then the top 10 SuperG racers chose their bibs for Sunday’s race. Brian Stemmle and Drew Bragg were great at keeping the evening moving along. They chatted with each athlete and local young racers assisted the SuperG athletes with their bib number selection. The athletes were great about signing autographs – signing everything from posters to helmets to jackets to bibs to postcards. Those seeking autographs were already lined up 40 minutes before the athletes arrived. Great to see so many excited fans.
One fun part of the evening was the Skype call with Lindsey Vonn who is recovering from an injury and was not able to race here this week. The technology allowed for a very clear conversation with Lindsey while she is in Colorado. In the conversation, Charlie & Louise Locke announced that they are changing the name of the run known as Ladies Downhill to Lake Lindsey Way. Pretty cool.
Lindsey also announced that she plans to race in Lake Louise one more time. We look forward to her return next season.
We did save the best for last – we announced the winner of the 2018 Winterstart Award. Athlete, broadcaster, Chicopee Ski Club alumni, photographer, alpine skiing advocate – Kelly VanderBeek.
Kelly is a very worthy recipient – congratulations!
It was great to see so many tired Sled Dogs stay for the announcement. I know they had a very early morning ahead of them for SuperG Sunday.
Things got very busy as we hit race day but one thing I can tell you is that the first World Cup Downhill of the season was awesome!
To a person – athletes, coaches, FIS Pros, TV producers, sponsors….and Sled Dogs – the race went like clockwork. A bit more sunshine might have made things a bit better but we will leave ‘easier’ to another day.
Congratulations to Austria’s Nicole Schmidhofer, who won her first World Cup Downhill after something like 128 starts. I believe immediately after the race, her tech tucked those skis away because in Saturday’s race, she repeated as the winner. Not bad…not bad at all.
Saturday’s race was great. The sun was out for most of the field and we had a great crowd cheering in the finish area. Having a double winner makes for a pretty cool celebration for the Austrian team.
As we do every year, there is little time to celebrate the Ladies Saturday DH as we have to get ready for the SuperG. There is the move from the DH start to the SG start – Audi façade, banners, timing equipment, tent and gear. The course set switches from orange gates and panels to red & blue gates and panels. The SG set always results in the moving of a bunch of accumulated snow on Fallaway and several other spots along the course. Slipping and shovels are the order of the day (and into the evening).
The SG always starts earlier than the DH so everyone is pressed for time but the Sled Dogs and the Monkeys were equal to the task.
After 3 most excellent training runs – we are soooo ready to race.
I mentioned yesterday that there were a couple of water/snow repair spots that needed to be worked on – well that was more like a plethora of spots. True to the task, a large crew worked their way down the course, mixing water and snow, ski stepping and buttering each spot that needed attention. This morning you cant even tell the spots were repaired. Nice work!
It is a frosty -17 this morning and there was another beautiful sunrise for those on the mountain. It is always awesome to see coaches and athletes (even on race day) stop to take pictures across the valley towards the Chateau and the lake. The crews have been up on the mountain since 7 am and those cycling down do look a bit chilly but after a quick hot chocolate, they head right back up.
The track is super slick and Super Dave has set up shop in the Kokanee Kabin and is busy putting an edge on several pairs of skis (including mine).
The Jury just went up for the final inspection prior to confirming today’s race program. By all accounts, we are race ready and Bib 1 will be sent out of the start at 12:30 pm.
….and that is because it wasn’t a race! Today rocked.
It was a day of sunshine, shovels and smiles. As I cycled on the mountain, the crews doing the final buff on the course – shovels and rakes were scraping off that last bit of sloughed snow that can slow a racer down. Infront/DX3 lit up their cameras to film today’s training run. I am sure the production looked brilliant.
The slip crews wearing their stylish yellow bibs kept the track in great shape. While the dye crew was at the ready – their initial stellar efforts only required one touch up on the lower mountain.
We had one racer lose both skis at Fishnet and while she stayed up top, both her skis ended up skittering down Fallaway/C Turn. She watched the rest of the race at the top of Fallaway until her skis were cycled back up to her.
There are just a couple of water/snow patch repair jobs to be finished up this afternoon.
We are looking forward to a repeat performance tomorrow because WE BE RACING!
One athlete who did go down, upon hearing that she was going to get long-lined off the hill, said ‘No thanks, I am feeling much better now’ she was then offered a toboggan ride and passed on that. She made her way down the course on her skis. All good.
The Barn Party was another classic event.
Cold beer, hot beef, our favorite band SUDS, short speeches and some great line dancing rounded out the evening. The Canadian Ladies team dropped by and were most appreciative of the efforts of Sled Dogs working inside and outside the fences. I believe we did hear from the FIS Chief Race Director, Atle that ‘Lake Louise is the most reliable venue on the Ladies World Cup circuit.’ : )