Lindsey Vonn has raced 20 times at Lake Louise and won eight of those. She's been on a Lake Louise podium 14 times.
And Tuesday (Nov. 29), in the first training run of the World Cup season she finished so far ahead of the field it looked like she must have skied a different course than the rest. She hadn't. Not completely, anyway. There was an issue with a gate, but it was no where near the type of issue that could account for a 1.67 seconds margin over everyone else.
“I love Lake Louise,” she said in what must surely be an understatement. “I know the course so well I don't need an inspection.” Which may have contributed to the problem.
She said she made “a couple” of mistakes on course that would need to be cleaned up over the next two training runs ahead of the first two downhills of the season on Friday and Saturday. “I got pretty late on Fishnet and I know I can ski that a lot better. I was pretty low and in the powder. It would probably be better not to that tomorrow.”
Though the course was still soft from recent snows it did not seem to cause problems for the women. It was, according to Julia Mancuso's course report, a matter of staying subtle. “Two foot skiing,” she reported. “Don't try to get too wild.”
Vonn, despite mistakes, easily outdistanced runner up Viktoria Rebensburg of German and Austria's Elisabeth Goergl.
The U.S. got strong results from Stacey Cook in ninth and Chelsea Marshall in 11th, both encouraging results.
The day was all Lindsey, however, a nice respite - one imagines - from recent personal upheaval. The downhill course, she said, "is a happy place."
Alexandra Coletti, skiing for Monaco, registered the fourth fastest time from the 51st start position, but officials said she would have been disqualified in a race situation.