Vonn feels focused heading into ski season | AspenTimes.com

Vonn feels focused heading into ski season

John LaConte
jlaconte@vaildaily.com

Lindsey Vonn flies through downhill training run on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at Copper Mountain. Feeling healthy at long last, Vonn is reaching for Olympic gold as well as Ingemar Stenmarks career Wolrd Cup win mark of 86.

FRISCO — Training at Copper Mountain on Wednesday, Nov. 15, Lindsey Vonn said she felt relieved to be so close to her home in Vail.

"It's just really nice to be home and focused and just putting the final touches on the preparation period and really getting ready for Lake Louise," she said.

The Lake Louise, Alberta, World Cup races have been nicknamed "Lake Lindsey" as a result of the overwhelming success Vonn has found there. The event kicks off the speed season for female ski racers on the World Cup and includes a pair of downhills and a super-G, making it a great opportunity for Vonn to stack up a few wins. In her career, Vonn has won 14 downhill races in Lake Louise and four super-Gs.

As Vonn — who has won 77 World Cup races — chases Ingemar Stenmark's record of 86 wins, Lake Louise always provides an opportunity for her to narrow the gap.

"Lake Louise has always been such a great place for me, and I really want to start off there well and hopefully take that number up a couple more notches," Vonn said Wednesday. "I had a lot of second places last year, which was frustrating, so I'm going to try to really start Lake Louise off well and hopefully carry that on to the rest of the season."

Vonn also said she plans on racing again next season, regardless of what happens this year.

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"(Stenmark's record) is something I always think about, but this season my focus is 100 percent on the Olympics," Vonn said. "That's why I've said already that I'm going to ski another season, because I don't want the pressure."

INJURIES GALORE

After battling injury and missing the 2014 Olympics, Vonn said she feels good heading into this season.

"I haven't had any problems," Vonn said. "Granted, it hasn't been that cold yet, so Lake Louise will probably be a good test, but I haven't had any problems and I feel really good, so it's a good place to be at this time of year."

After enjoying a career that mainly free of major injuries, Vonn suffered a season-ending injury at the 2013 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships that also prevented her from competing at the 2014 Olympics.

"Eight years has been a very long time," Vonn said of her last Olympic appearance. "I was obliviously very disappointed and devastated, frustrated that I missed Sochi (Russia), and so I've been waiting for this for a long time, and I'm ready."

Vonn's comeback has also been injury plagued, fracturing bones in her leg in August of 2015 and breaking the humerus bone in her right arm about a year ago.

"Now I feel great," Vonn said. "My pushups suck, but otherwise … I haven't had any problems."

FAMILY TIME

On snow at Copper Mountain, Vonn says she's enjoying a final opportunity to get her equipment dialed in before the Lake Louise races Friday to Sunday, Dec. 1-3.

"This camp is always pivotal for us," Vonn said. "It's the last training block we get before we start hitting the speed circuit, it's the last chance to kind of figure the equipment out.

"The snow here is perfect," Vonn added, "very similar to women's World Cup snow, and so you really get the information that you need from the equipment that you don't normally get in summer training.

Before heading up to Canada, Vonn said she plans on enjoying some family time in Vail.

"My dad just moved to Vail, my dogs are here, my brother obviously lives here, we're going to have a huge Thanksgiving dinner," she said.