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World Cup season launched at Lake Louise


Future of 2004 World Cup Finals still up in the air

The schedule for the 2002-2003 World Cup was finalized at the recent International Ski Federation (FIS) congress in Slovenia earlier this month, and Lake Louise was once again rewarded with five races at the start of the season.

"Opening the alpine speed season in Canada has become a tradition with FIS," said Alpine Canada president Ken Read. "Lake Louise has the best conditions for racing at that time of year and we have an amazing crew of volunteers and officials who make sure the course is fast and safe."

For the past four seasons, the Lake Louise World Cup downhill has belonged to Italy’s Isolde Kostner. The Canadian team, led by Melanie Turgeon, Emily Brydon and Anne-Marie LeFrancois will do their best stop the streak and maybe start a streak of their own.

On the men’s side, the downhill was cancelled last year due to a scheduling problem stemming from the Olympics. The year before Austria’s Hermann Maier was the man to beat.

The Canadian speed team is young, led by Erik Guay, Whistler’s Jeff Hume, David Anderson and Jan Hudec. While the Hermannator has yet to reappear on the circuit since a serious motorcycle crash almost a year ago nearly cost him his leg, the Canadians should have their hands full with World Cup champion Stefan Eberharter and Olympic gold medallist Fritz Strobl of Austria.

At Lake Louise, there will be two men’s downhill events, two women’s downhill events, plus a women’s Super-G.

The FIS Congress postponed a decision on whether Whistler would be awarded the 2004 World Cup Finals. They will make their final decision at the next FIS meeting in Switzerland in October.

Whistler is competing against Torino, Italy, and Garmisch-Partenkerchen, Germany for the World Cup finals.

Whistler didn’t leave Slovenia empty-handed however, winning the right to host the 2005 FIS Snowboard World Championships.