Tina Weirather wins World Cup super G in Lake Louise

Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather celebrates her victory in the women's World Cup super-G ski race at Lake Louise, Alta., Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Tina Weirather finally stepped to the top of the podium in Lake Louise, Alta., with a victory in Sunday’s World-Cup super-G.

The 28-year-old from Liechtenstein had been second five times and third twice in previous downhill and super-G races at the Alberta resort.

After finishing second to Lara Gut in last year’s super-G, Weirather edged the Swiss woman by just over a tenth of a second in sunny, clear conditions.

“Well, it really means a lot to me because I was here and on the podium so many times,” Weirather said. “I think seven times and now the first win. I was so close a couple of times.”

Weirather was also second in Friday’s season-opening downhill.

Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria placed third Sunday. Valerie Grenier of Mont-Tremblant, Que., was the top Canadian in 26th.

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Meanwhile, American ski stars Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin departed Lake Louise with contrasting emotions.

Shiffrin had a breakout World Cup in speed disciplines. The 22-year-old won gold and bronze in just the third and fourth downhills of her career.

The reigning Olympic and world slalom champion was fifth in Sunday’s super-G.

“I’m really excited because I think I have the right mindset for the speed races,” Shiffrin said.

Vonn was hungry to add to her career 18 victories in Lake Louise, but fell Sunday and did not finish a race for the second time in three days.

READ MORE: Vonn crashes at women’s World Cup downhill race in Lake Louise

Vonn was in the lead when she flew hard into the nets within sight of the finish line Friday.

Her knee swollen, the women’s all-time leader in wins (77) was tentative in the second downhill Saturday when she tied for 12th.

The 33-year-old lost an edge partway down the course Sunday and went down. Vonn got up and skied to the bottom.

“My inside ski, my boot hit the snow and just knocked my ski out,” Vonn said. “It’s been a pretty unlucky weekend in that regard, but I was charging and had more confidence than I did yesterday.

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“I just feel a little bit deflated overall. I think if I would have finished Friday it would have been a whole other ball game. But that’s ski racing.

“The lucky thing is I’m relatively healthy and my main focus this season has always been the Olympics.”

Shiffrin won the overall World Cup title in 2016-17 on the strength of her slalom and giant slalom. She’s well on her way to defending her crown with her emergence in downhill and super-G.

“For sure there’s a bit of excitement or adrenaline when you think about downhill or even super-G because there’s more danger, it’s sort of risky and you think it’s really cool,” Shiffrin said.

“I think the sexiest event is slalom.”

The world governing body of skiing will decide in May whether to grant Vonn’s request to race the men in Lake Louise in 2018. She was turned down in 2012.

Despite her struggles on the mountain west of Calgary this year, Vonn believes she can be competitive against the men.

“I always ski with a different mentality when I’m racing the men,” she said. “When I train with them, I don’t think twice, I just go literally ballistic.

“When I’m racing (women) I’m maybe overthinking and that’s always the way I’ve approached women’s racing. It’s a good tactic for me.

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“But when I’m skiing against the men, if I want to keep up, I have to literally go balls to the wall. That’s what I do and I ski better.

“I think if I had the opportunity, I would ski much better racing them than I do normally because it’s a different mentality.”

Grenier is managing pain in her shins with cortisone injections. The 21-year-old Canadian is a rising talent in all disciplines, but is dealing with the return of compartmental syndrome in her legs.

Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is an exercise-induced muscle and nerve condition that causes pain and swelling in the affected muscles, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“It was much better today,” Grenier said. “It seems it’s improving every day, so the injections are finally kicking in.”

The women head to St. Moritz, Switzerland, for a pair of super-G races and a combined event starting Friday.

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