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Lake Louise World Cup

For the Lake Louise World Cup we were staying in “The Chateau”, a monstrous hotel with over 500 rooms with all the other ski teams and most of the helpers. It’s a really nice hotel and it was great to be having meals with all the other teams, giving me a chance to meet some more of the racers.

On the morning of the first training run the sun was out and it looked like it could be a perfect day, however after the first few guys had raced the weather came in and left it very dark and snowy for the late numbers like myself. Trying to make sure I didn’t have too long before my run to get cold at the top I left the café quite late. The chairlift stopped for a good few minutes leaving me VERY tight for my start! I arrived at the top with 3 racers to go and had to run to the start before stripping off my over trousers and jacket very quickly and getting into my skis. I think I was still out of breath when I left the gate! Not ideal preparation! I skied disappointingly cautiously and the time showed it, well off the pace. However I got a much better idea of the line and how to ski it for the next days.

Unfortunately it dumped snow over night meaning the second training had to be cancelled. Fortunately, there is always 3 scheduled training runs for Lake Louise as it’s the first world cup so I had one more practice run to find several seconds! I did improve a fair bit in the next training run and felt I knew much more clearly what to do in the race.

The Saturday was the downhill race. The weather was sunny when we woke up but quickly clouded over and the light was flat. With long intervals between racers (so tv can show the top guys whole runs) and tv breaks as well as a few crashes (including World Downhill Champion John Kucera being airlifted off the hill by helicopter) I had a long time to hang around before my run. This I spent doing some free skiing and just relaxing, watching the race on tv in the café with the other racers.

The weather cleared around 15 racers before me and the light stayed good around my number giving us a good chance to get closer to the top guys. I skied bits much better and more aggressively but made a few mistakes to finish 61st 3.6 seconds behind the Swiss winner, Didier Cuche.

The super-g on Sunday was a nice looking course with a few big turns on the steeper section but mostly a gliders course. The top flat was very windy with snow blowing across the track, hindering visibility but sometimes giving you a tail wind. Again I skied most of the course quite well but made a few mistakes including just before the bottom flat so was frustrated to finish 47th 3.4 seconds behind the Canadian Manuel Osborne Paradis.

Overall I wasn’t thrilled with my weeks work but there were some positives and it was good to get back into some downhill skiing. And I was definitely looking forward to the tougher and more exciting hill in Beaver Creek!

Posted in Racing.

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