The Alpine Ski World Cup Speed Season Kicks off in Lake Louise
One month after the Opening Giant Slalom in Sölden, it’s time for the speed racers to start their World Cup season. As every year since 1999, with the exception of last season when the World Cup skipped the North America Tour due to the pandemic, first speed events will be staged in beautiful Lake Louise, one of the most picturesque spots of the entire calendar, deep in the Canadian Rockies, in a nature reserve on the edge of a pristine Lake that is surrounded by glaciers.
The men will be the first to race, with two Downhills scheduled on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th November and a Super-G on Sunday 28th November.
In the 23 World Cup races held in Lake Louise, there have been 19 different winners, four of them with two victories: Stephan Eberharter (2000 and 2002), Michael Walchhofer (2003 and 2010), Didier Cuche (2009, 2011), and most recently Aksel Lund Svindal (2012 and 2015).
After the men’s week, the ladies will take over the hill the following week. Two Downhills and a Super-G will be staged in Lake Louise on 3-5 December.
Lake Louise (CAN)
November 26th Downhill / Men, 20:00 (CET)
November 27th Downhill / Men, 20:15 (CET)
November 28th Super-G / Men, 20:15 (CET)
In 2019, after exactly one year from his last World Cup race, Thomas Dressen (GER) secured his third World Cup victory in Lake Louise, -later he won also the Downhills in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Saalbach-, ahead of Dominik Paris (ITA) and the Swiss pack composed of Carlo Janka and Beat Feuz, both in joint third.
It was an incredible day for the German skier, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on 30th November 2018 in Beaver Creek and came back to competitions in Lake Louise, topping the podium with a very solid and smooth run.
In 2019 perfect conditions welcomed the ski racers in Lake Louise for the first Super-G of the season. Matthias Mayer (AUT) showed great confidence and top-level skiing securing his victory, the last one in this discipline. Dominik Paris (ITA) finished second and Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT) and Mauro Caviezel (SUI) in joint third.
Until 2019 Matthias Mayer had finished four times second in the Canadian venue but had never managed to win in Lake Louise before. Mayer celebrated the start of the season and returned to victory after more than a year.
Beat Feuz has won the Downhill Crystal Globe in each of the last four World Cup seasons. He became the second male skier to win four successive Downhill titles, after Franz Klammer from 1974-1975 to 1977-1978.
Feuz can become the third man to win a specific crystal globe in at least five successive seasons, after Marcel Hirscher (8 in Overall, 5 in Giant Slalom) and Ingemar Stenmark (7 in Giant Slalom, 7 in Slalom). Only Klammer (5) and Didier Cuche (4) have won the men's Downhill globe as many times as Feuz (4).
The Swiss (40) is one shy of equalling the men's record for most World Cup podiums in the Downhill, held by Klammer and Peter Müller (both 41).
Beat Feuz has finished three times on the Downhill podium in Lake Louise: first in 2017, second in 2011, and third in 2019.
Vincent Kriechmayr won the Super-G crystal globe in the 2020/21 World Cup, after having recorded a second place in this standings in each of the previous three seasons.
He is the first Austrian man to win the Super-G crystal globe since Hannes Reichelt in 2007-2008.
Kriechmayr can become the third Austrian man to win the Super-G globe in successive seasons, after Hermann Maier (4 in a row, 1997-1998 to 2000-2001) and Stephan Eberharter (2001-2002 and 2002-2003).
Kriechmayr completed the speed double at the 2021 World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo. He became the third male skier to achieve this after Hermann Maier (1999) and Bode Miller (2005).
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won the Super-G Globe in 2015-2016 and the overall standings in 2019-2020. Kilde missed most of the 2020-2021 World Cup season after suffering a knee injury in training in January 2021.
He could join Lasse Kjus (1995-1996, 1998-1999) and Aksel Lund Svindal (2006-2007, 2008-2009) as the only Norwegian men to win the Overall Globe multiple times.
Kilde has won six World Cup events, three in the Super-G and three in the Downhill.
Dominik Paris is hoping to become the second Italian man to win the Downhill crystal globe, after Peter Fill (2015-2016, 2016-2017). Paris has already claimed the Super-G crystal globe, in 2018-2019.
Paris has claimed 15 World Cup victories in the Downhill, ranking him in joint-fourth place alongside Franz Heinzer and Hermann Maier (both 15). Stephan Eberharter (18) is in third place. Franz Klammer still holds the victory record for World Cup Downhill races. He won 25 World Cup Downhills, including four on the Hahnenkamm at Kitzbühel, including a string of three consecutive victories (1975, 1976, 1977), and four in Wengen. He won a total of 5 World Cup Downhill crystal globes (1975-78, and 1983).
Last season Matthias Mayer finished second in the Downhill and third in the Super-G standings in the World Cup.
He has yet to win his first crystal globe. The most recent Austrian man to win the Downhill crystal globe was Klaus Kröll in 2011-2012.
Mayer finished on the podium in each of his last five World Cup Downhill appearances. This run began with his victory in Bormio on 30 December 2020. He can become the first Austrian man to claim six successive top-three finishes in World Cup Downhill races since Stephan Eberharter, who set a run of eight in 2003-2004.
Marco Odermatt finished second in last season's Super-G standings. He won the final World Cup Super-G race of the season, in Saalbach-Hinterglemm on 7 March.
Odermatt can become the third Swiss man to win back-to-back Super-G events in the World Cup, after Pirmin Zurbriggen (twice, in 1984 and 1990) and Paul Accola (1992).
The most recent occasion Switzerland claimed successive World Cup wins in the Super-G was from December 2011 to February 2012 (wins by Sandro Viletta, Beat Feuz, and Didier Cuche).
The only Swiss victory in a men's World Cup Super-G event in Lake Louise was achieved by Tobias Grünenfelder on 28 November 2010.
One more thing...
Since this week we have a new source of knowledge for ski racing lovers: American Downhillers video podcast, presented by Ski Racing Media, with Olympians Doug Lewis, AJ Kitt, Daron Rahlves, and Marco Sullivan.