Vonn claims Lake Louise downhill double

By Steve Keating

After capturing the season's first downhill in a tricky snow storm on Friday at Lake Louise, Vonn was back on top of the podium 24 hours later flashing through cold, clear conditions to clock a winning time of one minute, 50.06 seconds.

It was the 14th career downhill victory for the twice overall World Cup champion, half of them coming at the posh Canadian resort.

"Over the past few years we've raced in every condition," Vonn told reporters. "For me I know exactly what to do, that doesn't change even though the weather may change.

"It's maybe for me a little bit of advantage if the weather is bad because I know some of the girls may get afraid but other than that it's just the same tactics.

"You have to go out there and ski your best no matter what the conditions."

Germany's Maria Riesch, third-place finisher in the last two downhills staged on Whitehorn Mountain, took second in 1:50.41 while Emily Brydon, who posted the top ever result by a Canadian woman at Lake Louise with her runner-up result on Friday, was third in 1:50.76.

While Vonn has appeared on the Lake Louise podium a total of 10 times, Saturday's win marked the first time the 25-year-old speed queen had claimed back-to-back downhill victories.

The Canadian resort traditionally stages two downhills to kick off the speed season and while Vonn has won seven times since her maiden career victory in 2004 she had been unable to win both races until now.

"It's really difficult, I've only done it (won back-to-back races) one other time and that was in St. Anton (Austria) a couple of years ago with a downhill and a super-combined," said Vonn.

"It's a great start to the season, it gives me a lot of confidence going into the next speed races and the Olympics (in Vancouver in February)."

FORGOTTEN BIRTHDAY

Vonn said she was extra-motivated to get to the finish line first on Saturday, having promised her husband Thomas Vonn a victory after forgetting his birthday on Thursday.

"I forgot his birthday and his recommendation was I had to win two races to make it up to him so I did," said Vonn. "We're all even, so I won't forget his birthday next year."

Vonn's seven victories are now the most by any woman at Lake Louise bettering the six won by Germany's Katja Seizinger between 1992 and 1997.

Despite her back-to-back wins and a second-place finish in a slalom in Levi, Finland, Vonn still trails her good friend Riesch in the overall standings.

The German tops the rankings with 316 points followed by Vonn on 309. But the American will be favored to add to her haul with the season-opening super-G set for Whitehorn Mountain on Sunday.

(Editing by Sonia Oxley)