Alpine ski racing's speed season inaugurates this week. The World Cup launches the international speed season with Downhill and Super G races at Lake Louise Ski Area with the Bombardier Lake Louise Winterstart.

Lake Louise first hosted a World Cup race in 1980 and has become the traditional opener for the FIS World Cup speed events. It is the only Canadian stop on the alpine World Cup circuit.

Men's downhill training races for this year's Winterstart begin Nov. 24 at Lake Louise and run for three days. Races start Nov. 27 with Men's Downhill followed by the Men's Super G Nov. 28.

Women's speed events start Nov. 30 with three days of training runs. Racing takes place Dec. 3-4 with two days of Ladies Downhill races and finish Dec. 5 with Ladies Super G.

Watching the races is free. The public festival area at the bottom of the race course and base of the ski resort serves up free hot chocolate. Kids and families can enter contests, pick up giveaways, and tour the ice sculptures in addition to watching athletes cross the finish line.

Those who can't watch the races in person can catch them live on CBC Sports television. Panasonic will also be shooting some training runs in 3D. The 3D footage will be shown on the women's race weekend, Dec. 3-5, in Lake Louise.

More information.