First training run in Lake Louise cancelled due to overnight snowfall
LAKE LOUISE, Canada- Everything was ready for the first Downhill training of the season on Wednesday, but heavy overnight snowfalls forced organizers to cancel it. Already Tuesday night at dinner, after the Team Captains meeting a rumor about a possible cancellation was present among the teams. A look outside the window this morning was enough to prove the weather forecast was right and conditions for training were all but ideal. At 7am it was made official, speed season will have an other try at kicking off on Thursday, today it’s simply a no go.
World cup teams are all settled at the beautiful Fairmont Chateau, their home for the upcoming week. Due to the lack of snow in most of Europe and postponed races in Levi, most of them came to Lake Louise from speed camps somewhere in North America. So, the Canadian, Norwegian, American and Austrian teams trained in Colorado over the past weeks, the Italians, French, Swiss and Slovenians chose Nakiska, while team Sweden (with the addition of Andreas Romar of Finland) had a couple of good days at Sun Peaks.
It is no secret weather can be the most unpredictable aspect of the Lake Louise races and last years -51 Celsius came as a major surprise even to the toughest guys. They might be used to training in the cold, but with last years temperatures, speeding down a course at 140kmh in a spandex suit, took the word cold to a whole new level. This year temperatures are definitely less extreme, with around -10 Celsius and up expected, but it has been snowing for a couple of days and it doesn’t seem like it has any intention to stop. It might make the setting more beautiful, but it sure gives the organizers some extra work. In order for the slope to be in the best possible shape, all the fresh snow has to be pushed off the race course and a lot of effort is being put into creating the best possible conditions for the racers.
Last year’s second training run had to be cancelled due to bad weather, but luckily on race day everything went smoothly. Veteran Michael Walchhofer won his 16th World Cup race, his second one in Lake Louise, (he retired after the season finals with a total of 19 career World Cup victories), an other Austrian, Mario Scheiber took second while Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway rounded up the podium.
Out of the nine DH races disputed last season, Walchhofer won three of them but still lost the Downhill globe to Didier Cuche (with two Downhill victories), by a mare 12 points. Silvan Zurbriggen, Klaus Kroell, Beat Feuz and Adrien Theaux took the top of the podium on the rest of the DH races. With six different winners last year, Walchhofer out of the picture enjoying his retirement, the snowy forecast and changing conditions so typical for Lake Louise, we are sure in for an interesting weekend of ski racing. Soelden might be the official season opening, but it’s Lake Louse where things start to get serious.
by Ana Jelusic