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Nina Ortlieb is fastest in training at Lake Louise

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — Austria’s Nina Ortlieb set the best time in training Thursday at Lake Louise, going downhill in 1 minute 48.79 seconds.

Ortlieb was also the fastest in practice on Tuesday.

Switzerland’s Corinne Suter finished second on Thursday in 1:49.12. Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec completed the top three with a time of 1:49.37.

Stefanie Fleckenstein of Whistler was the top Canadian in 19th place. She raced down the track in 1:51.06.

The future of World Cup racing at Lake Louise is uncertain after 30 years as a regular stop on the circuit.

Alpine Canada has decided to present giant slalom events in Mont-Tremblant starting in 2023. They will take place on the same weekend as the one that usually marked the start of the downhill season in Lake Louise.

It was also the only women’s downhill presented in the Alpine Skiing World Cup.

“Keeping a World Cup in North America is crucial for the development of women’s speed events,” said Canadian Alpine Ski Team Head Coach Karin Harjo.

Alpine Canada has only committed to continuing to run men’s downhill in Western Canada.

The majority of Canadian female skiers focus on technical events.

Quebecer Marie-Michèle Gagnon obtained her best result last season in Lake Louise, with a ninth place in super-G.

Gagnon should have company in the sprint events as Valérie Grenier of St-Isidore, Ont., hopes to compete in those events as well this season.

Grenier has focused on giant slalom since breaking her leg at worlds in 2019. However, the 26-year-old skier will compete in Sunday’s super-G in Lake Louise, where she finished fifth in the the same event in 2018.

“After last season, my goal this season is to get back into super-G,” Grenier said. We had a very good camp in Portillo (in Chile).

“I feel good and I don’t have any fear or mental blocks like I used to have in the past.”

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