LAKE LOUISE – The boys are back in town.
Pushing speeds at more than 130-kilometre-an-hour, the world's fastest skiers took flight at the Lake Louise Audi FIS Ski World Cup on Saturday (Nov. 27) after a two-year absence from the venue.
Austria's Matthias Mayer had the golden run in the men's downhill at a time of 1:47.74 at the Lake Louise ski resort. His countryman Vincent Kriechmayr finished with silver (1:47.97) and Switzerland's Beat Feuz took bronze (1:48.09).
Jack Crawford was the lone Canadian to bag world cup points in the season-opening speed race, finishing 24th at a time of 1:49.72.
Canadian Brodie Seger was just outside grabbing top-30 world cup points, finishing in 31st place (1:50.08).
Canmore's Jeff Read crossed the line in 39th (1:50.36); Broderick Thompson was 49th (1:51.12); Benjamin Thomsen was 54th (1:51.53); and Cameron Alexander, who had Canada's highest bib start at No. 38, was 58th (1:52.73) after a stumble on course.
"I'm still happy with how I approached it and how I attacked it. I did some really good skiing out there," said Read. "Throughout the run, I was in the top-30, back in and out, and I made just a few mistakes and that's the two-tenths and out of the top 30 and that's all it took, so it's frustrating, but I got to take the good notes from today and kind of roll it into tomorrow for the super-G and give it my all and see what happens."
Back racing at "The Lake" for the first time since 2019, Read and the other Canucks got some love from the red and white home crowd, which consisted of some potential future national ski team members at the Banff Alpine Racers.
After his single run, Read threw a souvenir out to the young club members.
"I came across and they were all barking at me, 'can I have your bib?'" said Read. "I gave it a good toss and hopefully there's one happy camper out, so it's good to see the home club kids out."
The Lake Louise event originally had an additional men's downhill race on Friday (Nov. 26), but it was cancelled due to heavy snowfall. Down at the village, only 10 to 15 centimetres fell, but on top 30 to 40 cms of the white stuff poured down.
"The Sled Dogs (volunteers) still did an amazing job, but nowhere in the world really where you have a track like that when it snows 30 to 40 cm you can't get it off the track and make it safe," said Read. "It was a good call by the FIS and that's what happens in a sport like ours that's outdoors and unpredictable."
The downhill race has since been rescheduled to Dec. 5 at the Xfinity Birds of Prey Ski World Cup in Beaver Creek, USA.
Saturday's event also marked three-time world cup winner and Canadian Manuel Osborne-Paradis, 37, retirement run to start off the racing.
The Lake Louise races continue Sunday (Nov. 28) at noon with the men's super-G. The event is free to attend.
Saturday's downhill winner, Mayer, was first place in the super-G in Lake Louise in 2019, the last time the race was at the venue.
From Dec. 3-5, the world's fastest women on skis come to Lake Louise, starting with the downhill Dec. 3-4, followed by super-G on Dec. 5.