Louise looking good for Speedsters

Snow conditions are looking “quite positive” two weeks before the Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup is due to get underway, it was announced Saturday.

Helmuth Schmalzl, International Ski Federation (FIS) race director for the men’s speed events and chief of race Darrell MacLachlan were among those who took part in an initial inspection – also known as snow control – on Saturday morning.

A decision is expected Monday to confirm whether the annual men’s downhill and super-G races in Lake Louise, the first speed events of the 2011-12 Audi FIS Ski World Cup season, have officially been given the go-ahead for Nov. 26 and 27.

“We are in very good shape,” said Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup Race Organizing Committee chairman John Cassels. “We are ahead of where we usually are at this time. Everybody is feeling pretty good.

“There’s not quite enough snow from the downhill start to the super-G and we are going to fly our two fan guns in there tomorrow to start blowing away. If we get 24 hours of good production the next decision will be made Monday. The weather forecast for the next few days is very favourable. Temperatures will be down which will put us in a much better position for snow-making.”

The Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup brings the best speed skiers in world to Alberta. Canada’s team for this year’s races includes Erik Guay, of Mont-Tremblant, Que., the 2011 downhill world champion. Canada has enjoyed great success at Lake Louise in recent years, with Calgary’s John Kucera (2006) and Jan Hudec (2007) and Vancouver’s Manuel Osborne-Paradis (2009) all claiming World Cup victories.

The men’s downhill race is due to take place on Nov. 26, followed by the men’s super-G on Nov. 27. Women’s downhill and super-G World Cup races are due to be held the following weekend, from Dec. 2 to 4.

“The conditions in Lake Louise are looking quite positive,” said Gunter Hujara, FIS chief race director for the men’s World Cup, in a statement. “From the super-G start down to the finish snow coverage is almost sufficient. For the upper section, from top start of the downhill down to the super-G start, the snow-making system will be enforced.”

For more information about the Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup, go to: