Charging Viking tames wild weather in Lake Louise
Thursday, Nov 30, 2017 06:00 am
Through blinding rain, soupy fog, driving snow and ice, world cup speed racers had to contend with three seasons worth of weather on the Lake Louise World Cup super-G ski course, Sunday (Nov. 26).
In such conditions, it’s no surprise a charging Viking carried the day.
Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud dominated the field with a convincing win, mastering the course in 1:30.76. It was Jansrud’s first return to the Lake Louise podium since 2014, when he swept the weekend.
Starting seventh, the 2014 Olympic super-G winner tamed the tricky Coaches Corner turn on the Lake Louise course, which troubled the best skiers Sunday. Even Saturday’s downhill silver-medallist Matthias Mayer was bedeviled by the corner, and posted a DNF. Jansrud saw that run, and adjusted accordingly.
“Coaches Corner is a bigger jump (in the super-G). The angle is very different today. You have to stay on the left side. It’s so open,” Jansrud said. “Conditions were also softer than expected.”
Jansrud, 32, said he refocused after missing his goals in Saturday’s downhill race.
“It was good to get on top of things today, gather myself and my thoughts, and try and attack. It’s not necessary to start off in a good way in a season. In truth, you definitely want to start off with a win, because it gives you some breathing room,” Jansrud said.
Austrians Max Franz and Hannes Reichelt finished second and third, respectively.
Dustin Cook was the top Canadian. He finished 11th, just out of the top 10 by 0.07 hundredths of a second, for his best finish in Lake Louise. Tough snow conditions hindered the skiers, said Cook, who also nearly crashed right before the finish, putting him 1:24 seconds off the pace.
“Honestly, it wasn’t that tough. I just think the snow was a little weird and different than what we’re used to,” Cook said. “We were skiing in spring, slushy conditions.
Cook won a world championship silver medal in the super-G in 2015, but missed the entire 2016 season due to injury.
“The top went really well, up until I got to Coaches Corner. That’s when it got slushy and I just backed off a bit. I think the whole run was technically solid. I just needed to press a little more. At the bottom, I was really looking for speed and I’m not really sure if I caught an edge. I thought I was going down right before the finish, so I was happy just to cross the finish line,” Cook said.
James Crawford was the second-fastest Canadian, finishing 41st, followed by Manuel Osborne-Paradis (48th), and Brodie Seger (56th). Broderick Thompson pulled out of the race due to poor weather, while Banff’s Jan Hudec, skiing for the Czech Republic, missed a gate and didn’t finish his run. Erik Guay didn’t start for the second day in a row after tweaking his back in training.
Jansrud said Guay made the right decision to pull out, and said he missed racing against the top Canadian.
“You have to be smart to give yourself time to heal. Erik was smart. It was unfortunate for the home crowd. It’s a tough decision to make and I hope it will pay off for the Olympics. We want everybody here. Erik is one of the big competitors around, and he’s big for Canada,” Jansrud said.