Lindsey Vonn sweeps World Cup downhills at Lake Louise
2nd-place finisher 1.05 seconds behind the American
She makes it look easy, but Lindsey Vonn insists winning at Lake Louise is not.
Vonn claimed her second women's World Cup downhill in as many days Saturday for a 17th career victory at the Alberta ski resort.
Low brooding clouds made for flat light and poorer visibility than in the previous day's downhill. Vonn still beat runner-up Fabienne Suter of Switzerland by over a second, which is a lifetime in a sport decided by hundredths.
"I feel like I win here so often that everyone thinks it's really easy for me and it's not," Vonn said. "It's still hard.
"I have to come with everything I have every day. Winning is never easy no matter what the situation, not even here in Lake Louise for me. It's always a challenge. I don't take it for granted that I'm successful here. "
The 31-year-old Minnesotan yelled "I love this place" in the finish area after her run.
Her time of one minute 50.43 seconds was nearly a tenth of a second faster than her winning time Friday. Suter was 1.05 seconds back of Vonn.
Austria's Cornelia Huetter took third after finishing second Friday. Larisa Yurkiw of Owen Sound, Ont., was seventh and just over half a second out of a top-three result.
"I wanted to give everybody a podium," Yurkiw said. "It was a goal of mind to be on the podium. There is a ton of things that have to come together for that to happen.
"I think I did a good job today. I just kind of have to keep my chin up and know that was positive."
Valerie Grenier of Mont-Tremblant, Que., was 43rd after crashing the previous day in just her second World Cup downhill. The 19-year-old felt she skied defensively.
"I was kind of disappointed with my run today because the light was pretty bad," Grenier said. "It was pretty sketchy here and there. The snow was really hard to see, any of the terrain or the little bumps, so all the way down I just didn't feel confident at all."
The women race super-G on Sunday.
Vonn's 20-year-old American teammate Mikaela Shiffrin, a slalom specialist and overall World Cup leader, will make her super-G debut. Vonn ranked third in the overall standings after her pair of wins.
"I'm interested to see how she handles herself, but I think she's been training a lot of super-G lately," Vonn said of Shiffrin. "She's such a talented skier, she's going to do well no matter what. It'll be fun to watch her race."
Vonn swept all three races in Lake Louise in both 2011 and 2012. She's dominant in downhill with 14 wins, but has three super-G victories too.
"I've actually skied a lot more super-G than I have downhill in this preparation period," Vonn said.
"I actually had one day of downhill coming into this, so I'm really excited about tomorrow. I feel really confident in super-G. Obviously it depends on the course set and there's a lot of variables, but I feel confident and I'm excited to try and get another hat trick."
Despite overnight snow, course workers managed to maintain a fast track Saturday. Speed combined with gloomy light made for nervous racing.
Vonn was second-guessing her choice of goggle tint in the start hut. As one of the oldest and most experienced racers in the field, she drew from her deep well of experience in Lake Louise going back to the first win of her career in 2003.
"There are girls who probably haven't raced this hill with these conditions before and I've probably done it 10 times," Vonn said. "You've skied it before, you believe in what you're doing and you don't get afraid. I feel like I've got that trick up my sleeve.
"I use my feel instead of my eyes. You may not be able to see everything, but I know what my legs are doing. I don't second guess what's going on. Even though I can't see the ground, I'm still in my tuck trying to go faster."