"Clarky’ third (again) in Lake Louise | VailDaily.com

"Clarky’ third (again) in Lake Louise

Daily Staff Report

Two-time Olympian Kirsten Clark, troubled by apparent equipment problems in training, found the right solution Friday and tore through the first women’s downhill of the World Cup season to finish third. Frenchwoman Carole Montillet won, while four other Americans joined Clark in the top 30.

Outdoor Life Network will televise downhill coverage from Lake Louise, Alberta, Saturday night at 5 MST with a repeat broadcast Sunday at 2 p.m. MST.

Racing with temperatures in the mid-teens, Montillet won with a time of one minute, 34.03 seconds.Germany’s Hilde Gerg took second (1:34.19) with Clark down in 1:34.33.

Caroline Lalive, of Steamboat Springs, in her first downhill since crashing and tearing knee ligaments and suffering multiple injuries March 1 outside Innsbruck, Austria, took 10th with a 1:34.96 clocking. She was followed by Jonna Mendes in 16th, Bryna McCarty 26th and Lindsey Kildow 27th.

Clark: “Great start …’

“It was a great start for the downhill season,” Clark said. “It was a tough week in training, for sure, and the runs started pretty bad, but I knew Fischer (Skis) and Ales (Sopotnik, her waxing technician) would figure it out and they did, getting the right grind and all … and the track got harder and harder, which made it faster, and that was good.”

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“It was a really good start, I’d say – great for Clarky, of course, a podium is great and should give her even more confidence … but for most of the other girls, too,” said U.S. head coach Patrick Riml. “Great for Caroline, her first downhill after her crash and Jonna picked it up from training, too.”

The light was tricky, Clark said, noting, “Fifteenth was a good place to start; there definitely was some flat light, but I tend to like that. The course was in great shape, though, so I was charging, going for it.”

She radioed a course report and encouraged her teammates to keep attacking.

“I tried to give ’em a little bit of help but they’ve all got to do it themselves, and they’re all skiing so well.”

Confidence and experience pay off

Despite the frustrating training runs, she said her experience – this is her 10th season on the U.S. Ski Team – and carrying some confidence from last season when she was third in the final downhill standings helped her tackle the run.

“I just took my confidence and my experience from race day and went at it,” she said.

Riml said similar weather is expected over the next two days.

“I told the girls I just want them to ski the way they did in training: Keep it simple, stay relaxed and do what you know you can do. We’re ready for (Saturday, another downhill.)”

The weekend schedule calls for a second downhill and then a super-G Sunday.