Vonn, Ligety Roll to World Cup Wins

Vonn Sweeps "Lake Lindsey," Races; Next Up: Rewriting History for Most Wins Ever by a Woman Racer; Ligety Cruises to Huge GS Victory Margin at Beaver Creek's Birds of Prey.
Lindsey Vonn Wins Lake Louise Races

Lindsey Vonn sweeping Lake Louise, Alberta, World Cup Races. 
Photo © Roger Witney/Alpine Canada

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It was a weekend of increasingly routine success on North American slopes for the U.S. Ski Team. At Lake Louise, Alb., Lindsey Vonn continued her march toward becoming history’s all-time winningest female racer with three World Cup victories in as many days. In the men’s races at Beaver Creek, Colo., Ted Ligety won the season’s second GS almost as convincingly as he won the opener at Solden, Austria.

Vonn, showing no ill effects from the stomach illness that had recently hospitalized her, won a pair of downhills and a super G in dominant fashion, and only her American teammates came close to beating her. Julia Mancuso was second in Sunday’s super G, while 28-year-old Stacey Cook, a Reno/Mammoth product, notched the first two podiums of her World Cup career, finishing second to Vonn in both downhills. Vonn beat the field by 1.73 on Friday, but the surprising Cook was within .52 seconds on Saturday. Mancuso was eighth on Friday and ninth on Saturday before watching from the finish on Sunday as Vonn nipped her by .43 in the super G. Mount Washington Valley (N.H.) Ski Club’s Leanne Smith was eighth in that race.

Ted Ligety racing to first place in the Birds of Prey GS, Beaver Creek, Colo.
Photo © Eric Schramm

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At Beaver Creek, Ligety showed that for all his griping about the FIS’s new equipment regulations, he’s the man to beat in the 35-meter-sidecut era, thrilling home-turf fans—including a large contingent of Park City Ski Club friends—with a convincing win. He bested Austrian ace Marcel Hirscher, who edged him for the GS title in last season’s final race, with a bold and brilliant second run that pushed his margin of victory to all of 1.76 seconds.

Ligety was fourth in Saturday’s super G, missing the podium by just four hundredths, but staying well in the overall hunt, where he’s second behind Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal with the bulk of the tech-event season still to come. Ligety was 4th in super G the week before and has finished one place off the podium 13 times in his career.

 A pair of Italians won the weekend’s opening races—Christof Innerhofer in Friday’s downhill and and Matteo Marsaglia in Saturday’s super G. Two-time overall champion Bode Miller, winner of a wild downhill last year at Beaver Creek, watched the weekend’s events from the sidelines, still nursing the knee that underwent microfracture surgery last spring.

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Julia Mancuso gave teammate Lindsey Vonn a race for her money, capturing second in the super G at Lake Louise.
Photo © Roger Witney/Alpine Canada

Vonn, meanwhile notched the 56th win of her career in Sunday’s super G. It’s her second straight sweep of all three races at “Lake Lindsey” and her 14th win at the traditional season-opening women’s speed event venue. She leaves behind two more racing legends—Hermann Maier (54 wins) and Vreni Schneider (55)—on the career-wins list and now sets her sights on the winningest woman ever, Austria’s Annemarie Moser-Pröll (62).