US ski racing fans love Lake Louise; after all, it is the site of Mikaela Shiffrin’s (2017) and Bode Miller’s (2004) first World Cup downhill victories. But there is so much more to remember.
Lake Louise has hosted World Cup speed events since 1980, 10,000 spectators attended that year. The first Lake Louise World Cup provided the credibility Calgary needed to be named as the host of the 1988 winter games. It is a special place with a deep alpine history. Unfortunately, this year’s events will likely close be the last chapter of the Lake Louise World Cup book.
For decades, Lake Louise provided a month-long unique race venue dedicated to alpine speed events. Annually, the year starts with the construction of the race hill, including snowmaking, endless snowcat work and fencing. Following the building of the course, the venue hosts men’s and then women’s World Cup speed events. But after the women leave for Europe, this fantastic organizing committee stays engaged to host a week of Nor-Am Cup races. Ask any ski racer what they know about Lake Louise and they will say great races.
For years an army of remarkable volunteers has provided world-class races. It has been a point of pride for those who have been there from the beginning of the Men’s World Cup and a month later are still working the last day of the Nor-Am Cup. Anyone who understands the ski racing world admires an organizing committee that puts on even a single-day event. However, hosting three high-level speed events consecutively is impressive beyond compare.
While Alpine Canada will find a great alternative, there is no doubt that Lake Louise will be missed. The historic course is known for its high average speed and very flat light. Although it isn’t the steepest course on the circuit, it tests the limits of the best men and women in the world every year.
The host resort is located in the Banff National Park, one of the most beautiful places on the planet. If you plan on attending the last World Cups hosted there, don’t forget to buy a visitor pass as you enter the park, that is if you want to get past the park police and avoid fines.
One of the best things about the Lake Louise World Cup races has always been the accommodations. The entire race community can stay in the giant and luxurious Chateau Lake Louise. This resort is available only because of the time of year and is annually the highlight of World Cup speed accommodations. The World Cup stays in many beautiful hotels, but no other can accommodate all the teams in one facility. If you haven’t seen a friend from the speed circuit during the prep period, you will find them there.
Ski Racing Media looks forward to hearing about the proposed venue replacement. However, we want to thank Lake Louise for all the opportunities made possible there. The ski racing community will celebrate Lake Louise’s final act with applause. Cheers, Lake Louise you are amazing.