LAKE LOUISE - BEAVER CREEK
WORLD CUP MEN MEET THEIR FIRST DOWNHILL
AND SUPER G RACES OF THE SEASON IN CANADA
AND COLORADO BY HANK MCKEE
To the casual ski racing spectator, the king of the
disciplines is downhill — the speed event, the top-
To many, the six-month competition cycle doesn’t
truly get underway until the big boys point ‘em down
the nastiest, gnarliest courses the world can offer
up. And annually, for the past decade, the speed
events have opened in North America: the downhill
and super G at Lake Louise and the downhill, super
G and GS at Beaver Creek.
The two North American courses are not consid-
ered to be the toughest, but both are exquisite tests
of downhill racing skill.
Last season, the U.S. men’s team arrived at Lake
Louise with little more than a hope and a prayer.
With its entire off-season wiped out by the weath-
er gods, the boys of winter were forced to use the
training runs at Lake Louise as an on-snow camp.
It should be a whole lot different this season with a
series of on-snow camps described as “excellent,
really good, and super-super good” by the recent-
ly injured Steven Nyman. His Achilles injury is the
lone black mark for the American team as it comes
in healthier than usual. But the Lake Louise down-
hill and the U.S. men’s team have a tenuous rela-
tionship at best.
Bode Miller won the downhill once eight years ago,
and Marco Sullivan was second in 2007, but that’s
it for the sum and total of American men’s podiums
in 15 races. They haven’t even combined for 10
top-10s over that span.
It hasn’t been all that much better a site for the
homestanding Canadians. Erik Guay and Manuel
Osborne-Paradis have each finished second but
the most recent of those results was five years ago
and Jan Hudec’s win was in 2007. (Though Cana-
dians have won the Lake Louise super G — John
Kucera in 2007 and Osborne-Paradis in 2010).
Guay essentially finished out the 2011 season
alone because of injuries that sidelined the rest of
an accomplished group. They’ll be a team again this
season, but how completely their recoveries have
been completed will only be shown on-course.
The Lake Louise course stands out for a couple
SkiRacing.com NOVEMBER 21, 2011 | 21