The fastest ski racers in the world descended on Lake Louise for the firstdownhill and super-G races of the World Cup season. The Lake Louise AudiFIS Ski World Cup is one of the select few on the World Cup circuit to holdboth the men’s and ladies’ speed events.

The Lake Louise Audi FIS Ski World Cup is notorious for its epic early season snow, the proximity fans have with the athletes and the intimacy of the hamlet of Lake Louise, nestled pristinely in Banff National Park. The fastest ski racers in the world returned to Lake Louise eager to compete against the mountain, the clock and themselves. Fans from across the globe watched as these athletes took every risk to achieve the ultimate goal. Standing on the podium means dropping as much as 800 vertical metres downhill at speeds up to 130 km/h on a threekilometre
track in just about a minute and a half. Just as gritty was watching these athletes navigate the gates of a super-G as they did everything they could to keep their skis against the snow and carve through the ice.

This is the only event of its kind in Canada and is broadcast globally to 214 million viewers. The Lake Louise Audi FIS Ski World Cup is always free to watch from the finish at Lake Louise Ski Resort.

Despite a minor two-day delay to our snow control decision for the Men’s Event, the weather, snowmaking and all crews came together to deliver stellar season openers for World Cup speed events. With Net Monkeys kicking off our on-mountain program on Oct. 1, the ladies super-G on Dec. 2 was a great way to finish our World Cup days at Lake Louise. The weather was spectacular, the fans came out in droves and the competition was fierce.

The world witnessed five excellent races and we saw many proud Sled Dogs, our world-renowned volunteers, both inside and outside the fences doing their best to make this year's events some of our most memorable. As if supporting the World Cup wasn't enough, a number of Sled Dogs stayed on to assist with the Lake Louise Nor-Am and then went on to Panorama to help with their Nor-Am. The Net Monkeys worked well into January to remove the remaining safety systems on the mountain... so we can start all over again next October!

Over and above celebrating our five successful races we shared in some special moments with the ski racing community:

Erik Guay, 37, who advanced his retirement announcement to be in Lake Louise, made a final tribute run just before the start of the men’s downhill. This would have been Erik’s 15th time competing at Lake Louise over the past 17 years. Erik skied down the track wearing jeans, a belt buckle and his famous jean jacket bearing the Canadian Cowboys logo as a tribute to his fans and teammates. The crowd cheered him on and he received an overwhelming ovation from the fans as he stood at the finish line.

“Today is a bittersweet day as I close a chapter on what has been a significant part of my life; decades of striving to be the best ski racer in the world, representing my country around the globe, and being a member of an incredible team,” said Erik from Lake Louise.

Born and raised in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Eric joined the Canadian Alpine Ski Team in 1998, going on to become Canada’s most decorated male alpine ski racer. He competed in 230 World Cups, reaching the podium 25 times and claiming five victories.

In a special announcement at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise during the ladies Bib Pick, Lake Louise Ski Resort announced the re-naming of the “Ladies’ Downhill” run to “Lake Lindsey Way” in recognition of the ties that bind US Ski Team alpine skier Lindsey Vonn to the Lake Louise World Cup, and the ski resort.

Lindsay said, “I am devastated to miss my favorite stop on the tour this year. To have this run named after me and to be recognized at a place so special to me and my skiing career is truly an honor. I am going to have to come back one more time just to race and continue building more memories of this great piece of the Canadian Rockies.”

Charlie Locke, Proprietor, Lake Louise Ski Resort responded by saying, "On behalf of all of us at the Lake Louise Ski Resort, we wanted to acknowledge and thank Lindsey for embracing our resort, staff and all the fans who come out to World Cup every year. We do hope to see Lindsey again at the resort but in the meantime “Lake Lindsey Way” is our way of keeping the friendship alive.”

Congratulations to this year's winner of the Winterstart Award, Kelly VanderBeek. A most worthy recipient whose contributions to alpine ski racing were celebrated at the ladies Bib Pick. Kelly is a decorated alumni of the
Canadian Alpine Ski Team, broadcast commentator, emcee and motivational speaker.

We hosted delegates from the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee (BOCOG) and Beikong Resort Owner Study Group. In preparation for the alpine ski events at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, the FIS Chief Race Directors
encouraged the Beijing Organizing Committee to send members of their organization to observe and learn from our Lake Louise organizing committee and crews during the 2018 events.

After several months of discussions, three study groups travelled to Lake Louise. The study groups consisted of the following:

1. Leadership and staff from the Biekong Ski Resort venue owner. Fifteen venue owner representatives spent 14 days in Lake Louise prior to and during our events. They were interested in learning about snowmaking, track preparation and maintenance, safety system installations, medical, race operations & logistics and
inventory management.

2. Leadership team and staff from BOCOG Alpine Events Committee. Eight representatives spent eight days in Lake Louise prior to and during our events. They were interested in learning about race organizing, event management, staffing levels, organization structure, detailed discussions with numerous Lake Louise organizing committee members as well as discussions with other World Cup event service providers - television broadcaster, timing & data services and meteorological services and the Lake Louise Ski Resort.

3. Leadership of the BOCOG Medical Team and Alpine Sport Manager. Six representatives spent five days in Lake Louise during our event to be exposed to managing injured athlete protocol, long-line rescue, equipment & staffing levels and staffing training requirements.

The study groups were all very encouraged by their experience and have requested the assistance of the Lake Louise organizing committee leadership and volunteers to assist them with the planning and execution of both their 2022 Olympic alpine events as well as their test event (men’s World Cup DH/SG) scheduled for February, 2020.

The 2018 races will be fondly remembered and celebrated as another notch on our belt in a long string of successful events, in which we could say despite the adversity of Mother Nature, we continue to achieve because of our Canadian grit. Thanks to all near and far who continue to amaze us with their support.