|Austrian skier Michael Walchhofer clears a gate while on his way to winning the Men's World Cup Alpine Skiing Downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta Nov. 27, 2010. (REUTERS/Mike Blake)
Lake Louise, Alberta - Austria's Michael Walchhofer crossed the finish in 1:47.78 for the first downhill victory of the 2010-11 season. Olympic champion Bode Miller led the U.S. with eighth in the Audi FIS World Cup downhill opener in Lake Louise.
"It was a beautiful day in Lake Louise, next to no wind and pretty consistent light which led for a fantastic race," said Men's Alpine Head Coach Sasha Rearick. "The team has not trained downhill since New Zealand, so it's been a long time since we've been on our downhill skis. We have been getting a lot of work done in Lake Louise just trying to get back up to speed."
In a convincing fashion, Walchhofer showed the field he still can point it, winning the first World Cup downhill of the season by nearly a half a second. Miller was just over a second off Walchhofer's pace finishing in 1:49.04.
Olympic super G bronze medalist Andrew Weibrecht didn't hold back in his first race back after a successful shoulder surgery in the spring.
"Bode skied very solid in the middle on the more technical parts of the course," said Rearick. "I was really stoked with Weibrecht's effort, he threw down an impressive run in the middle section of the hill, but unfortunately had a pretty big bobble going onto the flats that cost him a lot of time."
Steven Nyman was next in line for the U.S., followed by teammates Travis Ganong and Weibrecht. Returning from a knee injury last season, World Cup rookie Tommy Biesemeyer took the final starting position of bib 72 and jumped 29 spots to finish 43rd.
"We've trained more super G in the past month in Vail," admitted Rearick. "We feel more comfortable on those skis and we are going to go out there and execute our plan, aggressive solid skiing."
Lake Louise will host the men's FIS World Cup super G on Sunday, before the men head to Colorado for the Audi FIS Birds of Prey World Cup in Beaver Creek Dec. 3-5, site of the 2015 Alpine FIS Ski World Championships.
OFFICIAL RESULTS - World Cup; Downhill
1. Michael Walchhofer, Austria, 1:47.78; 2. Mario Scheiber, Austria, 1:48.36; 3. Askel Lund Svindal, Norway, 1:48.33; 4. Silvan Zurbriggen, Switzerland, 1:48.42; 5. Johan Clarey, France, 1:48.51.
(Courtesy of Usskiteam.com)