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She Skis, She Scores: Another Lake Louise Hat Trick for Lindsey Vonn

THE CANADIAN PRESS
PHOTOGRAPHY: Michel Painchaud

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — Lindsey Vonn reigned supreme in Lake Louise again.

The 31-year-old skier won Sunday’s super-G to complete a sweep of World Cup races and collect the third Lake Louise hat trick of her career.

Vonn won by almost a second and a half Sunday. Her margin of victory in the downhills was just over a second Saturday and half a second Friday.

The American won all three races at the Alberta ski resort in both 2011 and 2012. Knee injuries and surgeries limited her to one victory over the next two years.

“Every win here is sweeter than the last, especially coming back from so many injuries,” Vonn said. “Being a little bit older, one of the older women on the tour, it definitely feels especially sweet this year to come away with three wins.

“Hat tricks are very hard to do. Lake Louise has proven again it’s my favourite place on the tour and I’m leaving here with a lot of confidence.”

Vonn, the winningest woman in World Cup history, collected her 70th victory and her 18th at “Lake Lindsey.”

“I feel like whenever I’ve started well here it means good things for the rest of the season,” Vonn said. “I’m back to my 2011 and 2012 form I feel like.”

Austrians Tamara Tippler and Cornelia Huetter finished second and third respectively Sunday. Larisa Yurkiw of Owen Sound, Ont., placed 14th and 19-year-old Valerie Grenier of Mont-Tremblant, Que., was 16th.

Vonn has won the overall World Cup title four times, most recently in 2012. The overall crown goes to the skier who earns the most points over all disciplines — downhill, super-G, giant slalom and slalom.

Lake Louise vaulted Vonn to the top of the overall World Cup leaderboard just four points up on U.S. teammate Mikaela Shiffrin.

With Austria’s Anna Fenninger and Slovenia’s Tina Maze not racing this season, the 20-year-old Shiffrin will be one of Vonn’s challengers for a fifth overall crown.

Fenninger, the crystal globe winner in both 2014 and 2015, is out with a knee injury. Maze, the 2013 champion, is taking a season off.

Shiffrin, a slalom and giant slalom specialist, placed 15th in her super-G debut Sunday.

“It was so fun. Oh my gosh, I want to do it again,” Shiffrin said. “To have my first World Cup super-G out of the way, to know I can be top-15 and probably faster actually, I’ll lean more towards doing super-Gs and make sure I stay on top of my slalom and giant slalom.”

She also witnessed how dominant Vonn can be in Lake Louise.

“It’s just astounding to me how good of an understanding she has of the terrain, above everybody else and knowing exactly when to let her skis go,” Shiffrin said.

“Even when she makes mistakes, it’s always in a part of the course where who cares? She knows how to carry her speed.”

Vonn was impressed by Shiffrin’s super-G debut.

“I think some of the speed and some of the jumps caught her a little off-guard, but she’s technically such a great skier and has so much talent, it’s amazing to watch,” Vonn said. “I’m sure once she gets the hang of it, she’s going to be dangerous.

“I’m psyched that she’s around and it’s nice to have another face on the speed tour. We’ll just hopefully both be kicking ass.”

Vonn’s strengths are the speed events of downhill and super-G, but she is also proficient in giant slalom. She and Shiffrin will both race giant slalom Friday in Are, Sweden.

Yurkiw left Lake Louise with a trio of top-15 results including seventh in Saturday’s downhill. She heads to Val-d’Isere, France, for a pair of downhills Dec. 18-19.

“I think the good thing is I’m feeling more confident in being aggressive,” Yurkiw said. “I think my consistency is getting better, so that’s a good platform to get those special results once in awhile.”

Alpine Canada is slowly grooming Grenier, the first woman out of the start hut Sunday, for speed events.

“I definitely feel a lot more comfortable when I’m doing super-G than downhill,” the teenager said.

“Starting first wasn’t easy because I didn’t have the report from other skiers and how they skied it. It still went really well. I’m happy with my run and almost got a top-15.”

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press