Just as the World Cup at Lake Louise started up, 50 centimeters of snow fell in 24 hours. The snowfall threatened to derail training runs, and the touchy snowpack released an in-bounds avalanche. For recreational skiers and riders, the snow bumped open all the lifts at Lake Louise while race crews fought to pull off training runs.

By the weekend, with training runs down, the inaugural speed events of the World Cup season launched the battle for top dog. The Swiss and Austrians cleaned up the podium in the men’s downhill on Nov. 26. Swiss teammates Didier Cuche and Beat Feuz took first- and second-place respectively with Hannes Richelt of Austria finishing third.

Bode Miller placed in the top ten in the downhill, finishing ninth with the best time for the U.S. team. Canada’s top speedster Jan Hudec placed 12th.

Canadian racers climbed up in the ranks in yesterday’s Super G race. Podium finishes went to Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, Switzerland’s Cuche and France’s Adrien Theaux. But Canada’s Hudec wowed the crowds, climbing from starting 44th to finish fourth. Erik Guay from Canada also finished sixth. In ninth place, Bode Miller placed in the top position for U.S. racers.

Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup

Crowds gather around the finish area at the World Cup in Lake Louise. Photo by Chris Moseley/Lake Louise Ski Area.

The ladies’ downhill training runs are scheduled for this week, Nov. 29-Dec. 1. The ladies’ downhill races will take place this coming weekend, Dec. 1-2, followed by the Super G on Dec. 4.

The Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup Festival Arena is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. during training and race days. It is free to to the public. All downhill training runs and races are scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m., except for the Super G, which starts at 11 a.m.

Children can ski free during the World Cup race days at Lake Louise. Two free child lift tickets are available with the purchase of an adult lift ticket by chanting “Go Canada, Go” at the ticket counter. Kids can also watch the races from the designated Kids Zone, where free hot chocolate is served.

Behind the scenes at the World Cup, up to 200 volunteers make the races happen. Check out the high wire action of the net monkey crew at Lake Louise as they string up A-net in this video courtesy of YouTube and Lake Louise Ski Area: