LAKE LOUISE, ALTA. (Dec. 4, 2011) – A top-30 finish from Marie-Michèle Gagnon and a storming run from World Cup first-timer Sarah Elliot sent the Canadian fans home happy as the Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup drew to a close on Sunday.

Gagnon, of Lac-Etchemin, Que., has made her name as a technical skier on the World Cup circuit, but she strapped on her long skis Sunday and earned some valuable points with a 26th-place result in the super-G. Elliot, of Oyama, B.C., one of three Canadians making their World Cup debuts Sunday, started 58th but finished 39th on a hill she has never raced on before.

USA superstar Lindsey Vonn laid down a time of one minute, 20.21 seconds to secure a three-peat with her third victory in as many days, while Austria’s Anna Fenninger, who had a huge fan club cheering for her in the finish area, was second in 1:20.40. Vonn’s teammate, Julia Mancuso, was third with a time of 1:20.92.

“I’m excited. I’m in the points in super-G – I couldn’t ask for any more,” said Gagnon, who started 46th and clocked a time of 1:22.46. “I know I can push it more and I was a little round in some places – probably most of the way – but I’m happy.

“It’s the first speed race of the year. It’s kind of like getting back on the speed skis – the long skis – and feeling out the snow.”

Elliot, unlike most of the other Canadians, didn’t have the benefit of knowing the Lake Louise track like the back of her hand. But it didn’t seem to matter as the 19-year-old women’s prospect training group member clocked a time of 1:23.49 to jump up the board and finish 39th.

“My focus was to ski my best and I’m really happy I did that,” said Elliot, a former member of the B.C. Ski Team. “It’s my first race of the season, my first time on the Lake Louise track and my first World Cup. It’s a lot of firsts but we’ve been training with (national team veterans) Larisa Yurkiw and Kelly VanderBeek and talking to them a lot about what it’s like to ski in the World Cup. That’s been really helpful.”

Hugues Ansermoz, head coach of Canada’s ladies’ team, was happy with the performances from Gagnon and Elliot.

“Marie-Michèle did a really good job, having not been here for the downhill races,” said Ansermoz. “Sarah has no experience here but she’s a talent. That was great to see. She’s come here and done exactly what she did in training.”

Sarah Freeman, of Pincher Creek, Alta., who raced the downhills Friday and Saturday, was 54th in a time of 1:25.58. National team member Madison McLeish, of Whistler, B.C., was right behind her in 55th (1:25.74).

“This was the first step on the way to all of my goals,” said McLeish, who was making her World Cup debut. “It’s starting to feel like I’m ready to be here and I know I can do so much better than I did today, so I just can’t wait until the next opportunity.”

Tess Davies, of Canmore, Alta., was 56th in 1:26.10, while Julia Roth, of Waterloo, Ont., did not finish her run after going a little too straight into a turn.

“It was my first World Cup, so I was kind of nervous,” said Roth, 18. “I was more like a kid at Christmas, that kind of feeling. It’s disappointing not to finish, but it’s an awesome experience and I learned a lot.”

Dec. 4 – Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup – super-G – Lake Louise

Rank

Bib

Name

Year

Nation

Time

1

22

VONN Lindsey

1984

USA

 1:20.21

2

19

FENNINGER Anna

1989

AUT

 1:20.40

3

21

MANCUSO Julia

1984

USA

 1:20.92

4

20

GUT Lara

1991

SUI

 1:21.05

5

16

HOEFL-RIESCH Maria

1984

GER

 1:21.10

6

11

SCHNARF Johanna

1984

ITA

 1:21.41

7

10

LINDELL-VIKARBY Jessica

1984

SWE

 1:21.42

8

17

GOERGL Elisabeth

1981

AUT

 1:21.50

9

14

FISCHBACHER Andrea

1985

AUT

 1:21.59

10

4

FANCHINI Elena

1985

ITA

 1:21.71

***

         

26

46

GAGNON Marie-M

1989

CAN

1:22.46

39

58

ELLIOT Sarah

1992

CAN

1:23.49

54

59

FREEMAN Sarah

1992

CAN

1:25.58

55

44

MCLEISH Madison

1992

CAN

1:25.74

56

53

DAVIES Tess

1991

CAN

1:26.10

COMPLETE RESULTS

Audi FIS Ski World Cup action continues in Beaver Creek, USA, next week with three rescheduled races originally planned for Val d’Isere, France. First up is a men’s giant slalom on Tuesday, followed by a women’s super-G Wednesday and men’s slalom Thursday.

INFORMATION:
Keith Bradford
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Alpine Canada Alpin
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