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Weather, big dumps causing challenges at Lake Louise world cups

Lake Louise has been pummelled by snow over the past week.

LAKE LOUISE – Unpredictable mountain weather strikes again.

With big dumps piling up nearly one metre of snow and unseasonably warm weather, only Saturday's (Nov. 27) men's downhill race happened at the Lake Louise world cup after Friday's downhill and Sunday's super-G races were cancelled due to safety concerns on course.

"Obviously we were clearly disappointed with not being able to run two of the three races on the men's weekend," said Brian Lynam, race chair of the Lake Louise Audi FIS Ski World Cup organizing committee. "The weather worked against us with the snowfall and warm temperatures."

The Lake Louise Ski Resort, host venue of the world cup, reported 86 centimetres of snow falling on the upper mountain between Nov. 23-30 and 37 cm of it coming down between Sunday to Tuesday morning. It kept organizers and volunteers busy sorting out the white, icy mess.

"Believe it or not, those were the numbers," said Lynam. "There were spots on the course [Monday] afternoon that had 35 cms on it and we removed it all between [Monday night] at 4 o'clock and getting ready to [do the training run] when we ran the first racer out of the gate at one o'clock [on Tuesday].

"The problem was with the excessive snowfall if you can't get down to the hard race surface, the soft snow becomes somewhat risky, I don't want to say dangerous, but the racers can't set an edge on soft snow and they want to be able to get down to that race surface and everyone was working hard to do that and just with the accumulated and the continuous snowing it makes it very difficult to do that."

Lynam added more of the white stuff is expected to drop this week ahead of the women's world cup speed events starting with the downhill races from Dec. 3-4 and super-G on Dec. 5.

"We're really focusing on making sure that we are race ready for Friday, Saturday and Sunday that's kind of the goal as much as everyone wants to have additional training runs it's better for everybody," he said. 

During both world cups, approximately 250 Sled Dog volunteers help in various roles such as CAT drivers and media coordinators. But up to 125 volunteers have needed to roll up their sleeves and pick up a snow-clearing shovel throughout 24-hour periods during the heavy snowfalls at Lake Louise.

"It continues to amaze me that the effort the Sled Dogs do here at Lake Louise," said Lynam. "It's a legacy of many, many years of old Sled Dogs and we continue to have new ones come in and we hope to continue to do this year over year here at Lake Louise."

In Saturday's men's downhill, 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.

For the rest of the Canadian squad, Brodie Seger finished 31st (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 the 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."

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

Jordan Small joined the Outlook in 2014 and covers the vast world of sports in the Bow Valley. A Barrie, Ont. native, he also wrote for RMO's Mountain Guide section and the MD of Bighorn beat.
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