Mayer flies into first at Lake Louise alpine su­per-g

Up­com­ing Beaver Creek event will be steeper and with higher speed, he says

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - PATRICK GIB­SON

When it comes to su­per- G ski rac­ing, not many peo­ple can get down the moun­tain quicker than Matthias Mayer.

The 29-year-old, from the tra­di­tion­ally dom­i­nant ski nation of Aus­tria, has 22 World Cup podium fin­ishes and two Olympic gold medals to his name.

One moun­tain he never con­quered, how­ever, was to stand atop the podium in the su­per-g at the Lake Louise Audi FIS Ski World Cup. He fixed that on Sun­day, cross­ing the fin­ish in first place by four-tenths of a se­cond.

“It was a very good race for me, win­ning a race is al­ways very good es­pe­cially the first su­per-g in a season. It’s nice to be the leader,” Mayer said from the fin­ish.

“I knew that I could be fast, I tried to push, fight­ing for ev­ery hun­dredth of a se­cond. I knew that the oth­ers had re­ally good runs ... so I was very sur­prised when I saw that green light.”

There are four main dis­ci­plines in alpine ski rac­ing. Each year, the Lake Louise stop of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup tour fea­tures the ‘speed’ dis­ci­plines: down­hill and its (slightly) slower, curvier cousin the su­per-g.

Ital­ian vet­eran and Red Bull team mem­ber Do­minik Paris had the strong­est over­all week­end of the field, fin­ish­ing in se­cond place in Satur­day’s down­hill by just two hun­dredths of a se­cond fol­lowed by an­other sil­ver medal in the su­per-g on Sun­day.

“I’m very happy with the week­end,” said Paris.

“It’s a good start for a new season and it gives me a lot of con­fi­dence to stay close to the other guys.”

Like auto rac­ing, suc­cess in an alpine ski race is a much eas­ier prospect when start­ing from the front of the pack. As each racer passes a gate at high­way speeds load­ing up their weight on one edge, ruts grow deeper and deeper and the course be­comes more dif­fi­cult to nav­i­gate.

That’s why when Brodie Seger left the start hut 57th and crossed the fin­ish in 16th, a pleas­antly sur­prised (and un­sea­son­ably frozen) Cana­dian fan sec­tion let out their loud­est cheer of the af­ter­noon.

“I knew it was go­ing to be a grind out there, I knew it was go­ing to be rough one hun­dred per cent,” said the Whistler Moun­tain Ski Club alum­nus.

“My mind­set was just to go out there and push but not do any­thing ex­tra, just do what I know I can do, and I knew that would be enough.

“This is ex­actly my goal for the whole season, and to get it done in this first race makes me feel re­ally good about things go­ing for­ward. I know I’ve been ski­ing well in train­ing, but to fi­nally make it hap­pen feels so good.”

Toronto’s Jack Craw­ford placed 39th out of the field of 61, while In­ver­mere, B.C.’S Ben Thom­sen, Can­more, Alta.’s Jef­frey Read and Toronto’s Dustin Cook fin­ished 48th, 49th and 50th, re­spec­tively. Van­cou­ver’s Sam Mul­li­gan did not com­plete the course.

Seger and his Cana­dian team­mates will now head to the sto­ried ‘Birds of Prey’ track in Beaver Creek, Colorado for both down­hill and su­per- G ski rac­ing on December 6 and 7.

Fri­day’s su­per-g be­gins at 12:45 p.m. ET, while Satur­day’s down­hill be­gins at 1:30 p.m.

“It’s def­i­nitely a con­fi­dence boost see­ing that what I’ve been do­ing in train­ing pays off and that I am where I want to be and I just want to keep push­ing,” said Seger of his men­tal­ity head­ing into Beaver Creek.

The races will be broad­cast live on the CBC’S on­line stream­ing ser­vice.

“Beaver Creek is steeper, there are big­ger jumps,” Aus­tria’s Mayer ex­plained.

“It’s higher speed, the next level of down­hill next week.”

As male ath­letes move out of their digs at the Chateau Lake Louise and onto Beaver Creek, the women’s field moves in. They’ll fly down the icy Lake Louise speed track next week­end, with down­hill races held on December 6 and 7, and the su­per-g held on December 8.

Fri­day and Satur­day’s down­hill events be­gin at 2:15 p.m. ET, and su­per-g on Sun­day goes at 1 p.m. All events are broad­cast live on the CBC’S on­line stream­ing ser­vice, along with a live broad­cast of Satur­day’s race on their ter­res­trial chan­nel and Sun­day’s on a de­lay at 4 p.m.

SERGEI BEL­SKI-USA TODAY SPORTS

Matthias Mayer of Aus­tria takes the podium fol­low­ing the men’s su­per-g race in the Lake Louise FIS men’s alpine ski­ing World Cup on Sun­day.

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