Snow, high temperatures wipe out Sunday’s Lake Louise super-G

A three-race World Cup weekend turned into a one-race weekend in Lake Louise, Alta., with the cancellation of Sunday’s men’s super-G.

Heavy, wet snow continued to blanket the ski resort in Banff National Park and made grooming a 2.5-kilometre course in time for a noon start too onerous for volunteer course workers.

Friday’s downhill was also cancelled because of too much snow. Saturday’s downhill, won by Austria’s Matthias Mayer, was the first of the 2021-22 season.

“It was Mother Nature two, Lake Louise World Cup one this weekend,” race chairman Brian Lynam said Sunday.

Another 25 centimetres of snow was forecast for the national park by Monday on top of between 30 and 40 that had piled up over the three previous days.

Snowcats began working the course at 2 a.m. and course workers were on it 6 a.m. in an attempt to get the race in Sunday.

“We’re a speed event,” Lynam said. “It’s just too much snow to move. It wouldn’t matter how many cats we had or volunteers, especially on some of the steep pitches where we have to use winch cables.”

WATCH | Mayer wins Saturday’s Lake Louise downhill:

Matthias Mayer wins men’s downhill at Lake Louise

22 hours ago

Austria’s Matthias Mayer wins the season-opening World Cup men’s downhill event in one minute 47.74 seconds. 2:27

The cancelled downhill in Canada was added to the program for the next World Cup in Beaver Creek, Colo., starting Friday.

Meanwhile, the world governing body of skiing said of 10 individuals involved in the race who initially tested positive for COVID-19, nine were determined to be false positives and not infected with the virus after they were put into isolation and re-tested.

‘Fresh mindset’ for Beaver Creek

“The FIS Task Force has determined that given only one individual tested positive with minimal secondary contact, the tour will move onto its next stop in Vail/Beaver Creek,” FIS said in a statement.

“The individual who tested positive will stay in Canada and complete a mandatory 10-day quarantine according to local regulations.”

The men got in a pair of training runs in Lake Louise earlier in the week, but a third was called off Thursday.

Toronto’s Jack Crawford was the top Canadian in Saturday’s downhill in 24th.

“It’s always hard when a race gets cancelled,” he said. “We have to thank the course workers for trying so hard. It’s always a shame when the weather is against them.

“Going to try to put this one behind us and move into Beaver Creek with a fresh mindset.”

WATCH | Osborne-Paradis takes farewell run at Lake Louise:

Manny Osborne-Paradis takes farewell run at Lake Louise

22 hours ago

North Vancouver-born Manny Osborne-Paradis takes a farewell run down the course carrying a Canadian flag and dressed as a Canadian Cowboy. The 37-year-old left the sport in October 2020 after 13 years of World Cup racing and 11 medal podium finishes. 1:39

Teams will be hoping for better conditions in Beaver Creek to get something out of what has so far been a challenging trip to North America where skiers, staff and spectators have dealt with strict COVID-19 protocols.

There is also growing worry about the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The variant has surfaced in Italy where the men have several races scheduled in December.

Omicron is potentially more contagious than previous  variants, although it is unclear whether it causes more or less severe COVID-19 compared to other strains.

Women’s Lake Louise training run slated for Tuesday

The FIS did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment if it would tighten COVID-19 protocols when the World Cup swings back to Europe.

Further disruptions to the calendar would create a headache for the FIS, with skiers desperate to get in races and secure coveted spots for the Beijing Olympics in February.

Lake Louise traditionally opens the international men’s speed season and has been a regular Canadian stop on the circuit for almost three decades. The women arrive in Alberta for two downhills and a super-G with the first training run scheduled for Tuesday.

A downhill double-header is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, wrapping up with a super-G on Sunday.

The Canadian squad will be led by veteran skier Marie-Michèle Gagnon, who is coming off a stellar speed campaign. The 32-year-old from Lac-Etchemin, Que., ended a five-year podium drought last January when she won super-G bronze in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, and went on to place sixth at worlds in super-G.

Remme returns to World Cup circuit

Gagnon, who ranked 11th in the world in super-G last season and 16th in downhill, had solid workouts through the summer and is fresh off a training cycle in Copper Mountain in Colorado. “She should come into [Lake Louise] fit and ready,” McNichol said.

Roni Remme of Collingwood, Ont., returns to the slopes after a year away from the World Cup circuit that included racing at the University of Utah and earning her degree in bio medical engineering.

Remme reached her first World Cup podium in February 2019 with a silver medal performance in alpine combined at Crans-Montana, Switzerland, and was fifth at worlds in the same event in Åre, Sweden.

Later that year, the 25-year-old placed 36th at Lake Louise in downhill and super-G.

Remme competed last weekend in Levi, Finland but didn’t qualifying for the second run in slalom on consecutive days.

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