Women's alpine races for Lake Louise get green light
Marie-Michele Gagnon fronts Canadian field Dec. 2-4; men's event cancelled last week
Marie-Michèle Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que., and her alpine ski teammates will race Lake Louise from Dec. 2-4, the lone Canadian stop on the FIS World Cup circuit this season.
The event was confirmed Monday after the International Ski Federation (FIS) conducted snow-control tests, which last week wiped out the men's event scheduled for Nov. 26-27 in Calgary due to a lack of snow.
Colder temperatures have since rolled in and more snow is expected in the coming weeks.
Fingers crossed: Snow control for Lake Louise ladies' races postponed to 21 Nov for more snowmaking now that it's cold. 📷: <a href="https://twitter.com/AlpineSkiWC">@AlpineSkiWC</a> <a href="https://t.co/xkWsPmmcj3">pic.twitter.com/xkWsPmmcj3</a>—@fisalpine
A downhill race will be held on the first day of competition, followed by a second downhill and a super-G race on the third and final day.
"The tireless work of the volunteers continues to be the backbone of the Lake Louise Alpine Ski World Cup," Alpine Canada stated in a news release. "From installing safety systems and fencing, to prepping the racetrack for the world's fastest skiers, the team has been working overtime to achieve a positive snow control."
A Canadian woman has yet to stand atop the podium at Lake Louise but Emily Brydon twice has reached the podium, Britt Janyk placed third in the 2007 downhill and Kelly VanderBeek finished third in the 2006 super-G.
Gagnon coming off strong season
Erin Mielzynski and Gagnon are expected to lead Canada on the women's side this season.
Gagnon, who competes in downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super-G and the combined event, is coming off a 2015-16 season in which she had two podium finishes.
The 27-year-old is the reigning national champion in slalom, giant slalom and super-G and placed ninth at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Gagnon made history in the 2014-15 campaign when she was the first Canadian to win a super combined World Cup race.
Mielzynski, 26, captained the Canadian squad at the 2015 FIS World Championships in Vail/Beaver Creek, Colo., where it captured a silver medal and the Guelph, Ont., native was sixth in slalom.
Mielzynski became the first Canadian since Betsy Clifford in 1971 to win a World Cup slalom race, posting the fastest time in Ofterschwang, Germany in March 2012.
There will be a different look on the podium at Lake Louise this year with American Lindsay Vonn recovering from surgery after the four-time overall World Cup champion broke her arm 11 days ago during a crash in training in Colorado.
A year ago, Vonn won a super-G to complete a sweep of World Cup races at Lake Louise for the third time in her career. The 32-year-old also accomplished the feat at the Alberta resort in 2011 and '12.