kaela Shiffrin and new tech coach Roland Pfiefer — which could put their tech woes of last
year (a meager 19 scoring results, all from Vonn and Mancuso) behind them.
“The team feeling is really vibrant, we’re all fired up,” said veteran racer and Colorado native
Sarah Schleper, who pulled out of the Soelden GS with a sore back. “Since it will be my first
race, I’m not going to put any expectation on the result. I just want to go out and ski to my
potential and let it run, not hold anything back, just go do my thing.”
Shiffrin, 16, said she is “very excited” about Aspen. “Ever since I was little, watching Aspen
on the TV, I loved the whole scene,” she said. “It always struck me as the perfect World Cup
race. The hill in Aspen brings every variable you can find in a race.”
Shiffrin foreran the World Cup GS Course on Spring Pitch/Strawpile last season and raced
on it in NorAm races. “It’s always lived up to my expectations,” she said. “It’s so fun; it’s like a
Last season’s top finishers in Aspen went on to ride their momentum. The first and second-
place finishers in GS — France’s Tessa Worley and Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg, respec-
tively — went on to finish the season in reverse order at the top of the GS standings. The
slalom winner, Swede Maria Pietilae-Holmner, secured her first career Cup win, then claimed
a World Championships bronze medal.
Austria’s Marlies Schild, the reigning slalom queen, will be looking for some revenge on the
hill where she saw her first of only two DNFs last season on her way to winning six Cup slalom
races and the World Championship title.
Speed is Back in Lake Louise
The Lake Louise Winterstart (Dec. 2 to 4) has been the home of the women’s World Cup
speed season kickoff since the 1995 season. The picturesque resort in Banff National Park
has been dubbed “Lake Lindsey” in recent years as Vonn has dominated the hill ( 14 podi-
ums and eight victories) since earning her first World Cup win there in 2004.
Last season, Lake Louise was also good to Vonn’s teammate Mancuso, who started her best
season in three years with a third-place finish in the super G.
Last year’s trip up north was also the birthplace of the well-documented, dramatic rivalry
between Vonn and Maria Hoefl-Riesch (née Riesch). It was exactly a year ago in Lake Lou-
ise that Hoefl-Riesch (runner-up to Vonn in the overall standing the previous two seasons)
emerged from Vonn’s shadow in theatrical fashion, breaking Vonn’s chain of five consecutive
downhill wins on the hill. Hoefl-Riesch won both downhills with Vonn in second before the
American struck back with a super G win. The message was sent: the “Rise of Riesch” had
begun. Vonn went on to regain a small lead in the overall standings briefly in Val d’Isere but
Hoefl-Riesch’s consistency through the January tech swing buried Vonn and eventually led to
ASPEN - LAKE LOUISE
Aspen has had one of the
most favorable preparation
periods ever this year.
SkiRacing.com NOVEMBER 21, 2011 | 25
The view from the top of the Lake
Louise World Cup downhill track.