Vonn wins downhill in Lake Louise | ParkRecord.com

Vonn wins downhill in Lake Louise

Paul Robbins, Special to the Record

After a couple of years of telling journalists – and anyone else – that she couldn’t figure out why she shred the downhill run at Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies, Lindsey Vonn thinks she understand how she does so well: "I know that course like the back of my hand."

Vonn, formerly Kildow, calls Vail, Colo., home but she’s been living in Park City for a couple of years. She and 2002 Olympian Thomas Vonn married during the preseason and Park City is home.

Lindsey Vonn looked strikingly similar to Lindsey Kildow. Overpowering at Lake Louise.

"It’s pretty cool, my first speed race as Lindsey Vonn. It’s pretty special, like a new start for me. It’s a big win," she said of the seventh win in her career.

Saturday, Vonn roared down the women’s run to pickup her fourth downhill win in four straight seasons at Lake Louise. In contrast to the last few seasons, the weekend schedule included only a downhill and a super-G Sunday; in previous years, there have been two DHs.

She simply crushed the mountain, the run and the field. She trailed nemesis Renate Goetschl of Austria through the first split and then she put down a run no one could come close to touching.

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Her winning time in the first DH of the season was 1:48.69 – an eye-opening .78 ahead of Goetschl – with Canadian Britt Janyk in third place (1:49.96). Julia Mancuso was 13th and Leanne Smith, making her World Cup debut, fired out of the No. 46 start spot and finished an impressive 23rd.

"Lindsey owns this hill," Coach Alex Hoedlmoser said. "In the first race, you always wonder how you are – and now we know. Now we know!"

Vonn had unspectacular training runs, but shrugged off the relevance. "Training is training and I never really ski my best in training. I try to go one step more, go up by 20 percent every day" until the race," she explained.

No surprise, Vonn laughingly said she would like to see more women’s World Cup events at Lake Louise. "I wish we could have more races up here," she said, "or at least the two downhills we’ve had the last few years. Oh, yeah, three [races]…or four."

In the zero-degree weather, she used tape on her face to help protect against the cold. She obviously picked fast tape. Other skiers raced in masks, but Vonn said masks sometimes make it tough to breathe and she didn’t want to deal with that problem.

Sunday in super-G was a different story. Vonn ended up in the safety netting after losing an edge; Martina Schild of Switzerland collected her first win in 1:16.21, two-tenths of a second ahead of Germany’s Maria Riesch (one of Vonn’s best friends on the World Cup tour).

Top American was Mancuso, who finished 11th. Smith, having broken into the top 25 in her first race, slammed into the top 20 in the super-G, finishing 19th.

The World Cup tour is in Aspen, Colo., this week for the Audi Aspen Winternational, featuring the first women’s DH in Aspen in 20 years. They’ll also race a super-G with a slalom on Sunday.