ALPINE SKIING Preview: Women’s speed skiers take over Lake Louise

The speed racers on the women’s side of the FIS Alpine World Cup finally get their season opener at Lake Louise (CAN), with Downhill races scheduled for Friday and Saturday, and a Super-G race on Sunday.

Unfortunately, injury has once more struck American star Lindsey Vonn, who would have been the focus of this weekend’s action. She tweeted on 20 November:

“Yesterday I crashed training Super-G and hurt my knee. The good news; I do NOT need surgery. The bad news; I won’t be able to race in Lake Louise. LL has always been my favorite stop on the WC and I am devastated to not be coming this year. I am down but I am NOT out!”

The top speed merchants from last season included:

1. 509 Sofia Goggia (ITA)
2. 509 Lindsey Vonn (USA)
3. 294 Tina Weirather (LIE)
4. 272 Cornelia Hutter (AUT)
5. 256 Mikaela Shiffrin (USA)

1. 461 Tina Weirather (LIE)
2. 375 Lara Gut (SUI)
3. 339 Anna Veith (AUT)
4. 313 Michelle Gisin (SUI)
5. 311 Sofia Goggia (ITA)

Goggia is also out of action after a crash in mid-October; she expects to re-join the tour in January.

With these two stars out, this could be another opening for Shiffrin, who has won three medals in the four World Cup races held so far (Slaloms and Giant Slaloms). She won one of the Downhills last season (plus a bronze) at Lake Louise, along with Hutter and Weirather won the Super-G. If Shiffrin is able to put up medal performances again, she will signal that – injuries aside – she will signal that she is going to be tough to beat in her quest for a third straight overall World Cup title.

NBC’s Olympic Channel has coverage on Friday beginning at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time; NBCSN has coverage on Saturday at 2 p.m., and the Olympic Channel has Sunday’s coverage beginning at 1 p.m. Look for results here.