Mayer flies into first at Lake Louise alpine super-g
Upcoming Beaver Creek event will be steeper and with higher speed, he says
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.
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.