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Winter school alumni prepare for Lake Louise

Paul Robbins, Special to the Record

The women’s Audi FIS World Cup schedule faces its first speed events this week, a downhill Saturday and a super-G Sunday at Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. The ski area’s speed course has been like a personal podium warehouse for Lindsey Vonn in the last couple of seasons.

At the start of the 2003 season, she did a split and face plant as she started steaming down the final stretch to the finish. She injured a hip and, sidelined early, the 2002 Olympian missed the ’03 World Championships.

In December 2004, she buried memories of that crash and won the first World Cup of her career, another downhill. Two days later, the former Ms. Kildow was third in a super-G at Louise.

In December ’05, she won the second of two downhills – this one by three-hundredths of a second.

A year ago, she was in the top two in all three races. She was second in the first DH, won the second downhill and was second again in the super-G, which concluded the weekend. "I don’t know what it is," she says good-naturedly, "but maybe we should have more World Cups up here."

Can she make it four straight years with a win at Lake Louise? Is this the season Julia Mancuso, the Park City Winter Sports School grad, finds her own key to success at Louise?

Over last weekend, the women skied in the second giant slalom of the new season Saturday at Panorama resort and the second slalom Sunday. Top result for the American ladies was from another Winter School alumna, Resi Stiegler, who was ninth Sunday in slalom, a day after Mancuso was 10th in the GS.

Saturday, Italy’s Denise Karbon, who won the first race of the season on an Austrian Glacier a month ago, did it again. Her two-run time for the GS was 2:42.71 with Austrian Elisabeth Goergl second (2:43.13) and Manuela Moelgg, another Italian, in third place (2:43.22).

Mancuso was 10th with a time of 2:44.47 with Stiegler 12th in 2:44.71. Jessica Kelley, a Vermonter who has lived in Park City for the last couple of seasons to take advantage of training opportunities, was 22nd while Libby Ludlow was 25th.

Sunday, Marlies Schild of Austria, the 2007 World Cup SL champ, was the only skier to crack 100 seconds as she won the slalom in 1:39.95. World champion Sarka Zahrobska of the Czech Republic was runner-up in 1:40.63, a hundredth of a second ahead of Croatian Ana Jelusic.

Stiegler’s time was 1:41.68 while Mancuso covered the two runs in 1:42.77. Lindsey Vonn was 29th, surviving a near spill on her second run.

NorAm champion Kiley Staples of Park City was "close but no cigar," missing a shot at the second run by a couple of tenths.

"Ninth and 12th for Resi, 10th and 16th for Jules – not great, but not bad, either," Coach Chris Knight said. "They’re close and they’re skiing well. They’ll move up."


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