Lake Louise, Alberta, Dec. 1, 2000--Petra Haltmayer of Germany upset Italy's Isolde Kostner by one-tenth of a secondThursday in the first women's downhill of the World Cup season. But Americans Megan Gerety (Anchorage, AK) andJonna Mendes (Heavenly, CA) made some noise of their own with top-10 finishes, and Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME)was 14th.
"The girls are 'there' technically," said DH/SG Head Coach Jim Tracy, "and now it's a question of being mentallytough. Of staying focused. It's been a while since we've had three in the top 15, but they skied great...and even'Powie' Alison Powers of Winter Park, CO is skiing well. She just has to stop trying too hard and ski as she can."
Haltmayer, who said she never expected to win in downhill, earned her first World Cup victory in 1:34.71. Kostner -who won at Lake Louise Ski Area a year ago and who led all three training runs this week - was second in 1:34.81with reigning World Cup champion Renate Goetschl of Austria third in 1:34.98.
Gerety, coming back from a year away with leg problems, was sixth in 1:35.77 and Mendes picked up her first WorldCup top-10, finishing 10th with a time of 1:36.03. Clark was 14th in 1:36.12 and Powers finished 50th.
Organizers ran the women at 90-second intervals instead of two-minute gaps for the first 30 skiers as they triedto beat a threatening storm. The storm never materialized, though, although the women raced under overcastconditions with flat light. Two or three inches of snow fell during the night, creating soft spots in a couple ofsections, but no major problems, Tracy said.
There was flat light, Gerety said, "but it was consistent the whole time. It wasn't like you went into dark places...
"To come back and get a top-10 is nice," Gerety said. "A podium would've been nice, too. And I've been fifth a numberof times, so I'd like to break through there, too."
Mendes added, "Yeah, Lake Louise has been good to me - my first World Cup top-30, my World top-20...and now, myfirst top-10. That works for me."
The women race another downhill Friday with a super G Saturday at Lake Louise before they head to Europe.