Mikaela Shiffrin grabs first-ever podium finish in a speed event; Lindsey Vonn crashes | VailDaily.com

Mikaela Shiffrin grabs first-ever podium finish in a speed event; Lindsey Vonn crashes

U.S. Ski Team
Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates her third-place finish on the podium following the women's World Cup downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)
Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP

LAKE LOUISE, AB – Surprise performances are nothing new for Eagle-Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin in slalom and giant slalom events. But Friday’s third-place finish in the first downhill of the FIS Ski World Cup season just may be the biggest surprise yet in the young career of the defending overall World Cup champion.

Austria’s Cornelia Huetter took the win Friday, a career-first World Cup downhill victory and her second career World Cup win. Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein finished second. For Shiffrin, her third-place finish was a career-first podium in a speed event.

Vail’s Lindsey Vonn was well on her way to her 19th Lake Louise World Cup victory after leading at all four intermediate times, but crashed hard into the safety netting near the finish. Vonn was able to get up and ski to the bottom of the course.

With a steady snow falling, Shiffrin came out of the 10th start position and absolutely nailed the lower portion of the Olympic downhill course to move into the race lead. However, Weirather, starting 13th, nipped her at the line by 0.21 seconds. Huetter, starting 15th, displayed masterful technical skills to best Weirather by 0.09 seconds and take the win.

Jackie Wiles scored her second career World Cup top-five result, finishing fifth. Breezy Johnson matched her career-best World Cup result, finishing 10th, as Stacey Cook was 11th. Alice McKennis (New Castle, Colo.) was 24th.

The women race another downhill Saturday, followed by super G Sunday at Lake Louise.