LAKE LOUISE – The 2017 super-G World Champion Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria had a gold medal and four Audi FIS Ski World Cup podium results since starting her career on the circuit over 11 years ago when she notched her career-first victory on the tour in Friday’s opening downhill at Lake Louise (CAN). Both the discipline and the venue proved a surprise for Schmidhofer who expected that a first win would come in super-G, and likely on a slope more suited to her style. Despite a previous best finish in the Lake Louise downhill of eighth, she posted the fastest time on race day after leading the final training run the day before.
Michelle Gisin of Switzerland followed in close second just 0.15 seconds from the win. The former slalom specialist expanded her racing repertoire two years ago to include more speed events, and she was rewarded with success in Lake Louise for the second time after finishing in third place last season. Gisin held the fastest time on the course from bib 1 all the way until Schmidhofer unseated her with bib 15, and she now sits in an impressive fourth place on the downhill WCSL following her podium finish.
Kira Weidle of Germany, a newcomer to the podium, rounded out the top three finishers of the day. She posted noteworthy results in the training runs including leading on the second day and slotting the third-fastest time on the third day. Her previous best result heading into the day was an eighth-place finish in the Lake Louise downhill last season.
The 2017 downhill globe winner Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia made her return to competition following a 20-month break due to injury and finished in a promising sixth place. Joana Haehlen of Switzerland, who has decided to continue racing with an unrepaired ACL tear, punched into eighth place with bib 31 for a massive move up the results sheet.
The ladies contest another downhill at Lake Louise on Saturday starting at 12:30 LOC.