Goggia gets back to winning ways at Lake Louise, wins first women’s downhill of the season – Calgary


Sofia Goggia picked up where she left off in Lake Louise, Alberta.

The Italian ski racer’s win on Friday in the women’s World Cup downhill season opener was her fourth straight victory at the Banff National Park resort, including her three-race sweep of the year last.

« I’m super happy with the outcome and the result, but I’m still not happy with my performance because I think I was a bit too wild and dirty today, » Goggia told The Canadian Press.

She nevertheless set a winning time of one minute 47.81 seconds.

Only six hundredths of a second separated first from third with reigning Olympic downhill champion Corinne Suter of Switzerland crossing the line four hundredths behind Goggia.

Austrian Cornelia Huetter finished third.

“I was really energized and anxious when they came down, because you never know. It’s a game of hundredths with this three-kilometre course,” Goggia said.

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“Winning by four hundredths of a second, what is it? It is uncountable.

Another downhill is scheduled for Saturday, followed by the super-G on Sunday.

Goggia was only the third woman to score a hat trick at Lake Louise last season after Lindsey Vonn of the United States (2015, 2012, 2011) and Germany’s Katja Seizinger (1997).

READ MORE: Goggia dominates season-opening World Cup downhill at Lake Louise

After winning four of the first five women’s downhills in 2021-22, Goggia crashed out in a super-G in Cortina, Italy, just two weeks before the Olympics.

Despite leg and knee injuries, the 30-year-old won silver in the Beijing downhill behind Suter, who finished second to Goggia in the overall downhill standings last season.

« We have to push ourselves to the limit and I’m excited for tomorrow, » Suter said on Friday.

« Two or three small mistakes I made today, but I think when you go fast it happens and it’s normal. »

Marie-Michele Gagnon of Lac Etechmin, Que., was disappointed to finish 24th.

« We did a lot of training in the giant slalom to improve my technique and I hope to take the next step, so we did a lot less training in the downhill, » said Gagnon.

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« My feeling is a bit off right now, as you can probably tell from watching me go down. It’s just not as composed as usual.

« It’s just about trying to find the right attacking balance, but attacking in the right way. »

Stefanie Fleckenstein of Whistler, BC, was 39th. The 25-year-old skier skied as a freelancer on Friday. She is trying to get back into the national team.

« I’ve been independent for two years now, » Fleckenstein said. “It’s definitely tough as a speed skier because the national teams have priority with a lot of practice.

« The goal is definitely to use my Nor Am spot this year on the World Cup and try to re-qualify, but it’s going to be a battle. »

The first race of the season took place under cloudy skies and a temperature of -19 with a slight breeze.

American ski star Mikaela Shiffrin, who won the downhill in 2017 and the super-G in 2018 at Lake Louise, did not travel to Alberta. She is focusing on slalom and giant slalom this season.

World governing body for skiing and snowboarding, the FIS, has attempted to kick off the downhill season earlier this fall with men’s and women’s cross-border races starting in Zermatt, Switzerland, and ending in Cervinia, Italy.

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The men’s races from October 29-30 and the women’s races from November 5-6 have been canceled due to poor snow conditions. The season-opening downhill events therefore returned to their traditional Lake Louise venue.

The future of the Lake Louise World Cups is uncertain, however.

Alpine Canada is committed only to maintaining a men’s sprint in Western Canada with a location yet to be determined.

The introduction of the World Cup women’s giant slalom in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec in 2023, and falling on the same traditional weekend as the women’s sprint races in Lake Louise, is a strike against Lake Louise retaining this which was the only women’s downhill races in North America.

« I’m sorry because Lake Louise is a fairy tale place, » Goggia said. « I really like it, but not just because I’m winning. It’s the last time for a hat-trick. We’ll see, but I just (won) one, so I’m happy about that.

Each women’s World Cup race at Lake Louise offers 132,000 Swiss francs (C$190,000) in prize money split between first and 30th on a descending scale. The winner wins 50,000 (C$70,000) up to 550.

Click to play video: “Alberta Ski Resorts Brace for Early Opening After Late but Heavy Fall Snowfall”

Alberta ski trails brace for early opening after late but heavy fall snowfall

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