Italy’s Christof Innerhofer authored a near-perfect run on Friday to win the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men’s Downhill, ahead of Norwegians Aksel Lund Svindal and Kjetil Jansrud.
Innerhofer clocked 1 minute 41.69 seconds on the “Birds of Prey” piste to beat Svindal — winner of last weekend’s downhill and super-G races at Lake Louise — by 23-hundredths of a second. Jansrud was 50-hundredths off the lead.
Innerhofer, the reigning super-G world champion, whose pre-season training was hindered by back trouble in the wake of a road accident in July, was ecstatic with the victory.
“Today I’m crazy happy,” said Innerhofer, who said his aggressive skiing on the steeper part of the course paid off.
The 27-year-old Italian won the fourth World Cup victory of his career and his second downhill to go with one he won in Bormio in 2008.
It was a nice bounce back after a disappointing weekend at Lake Louise, where he finished 27th in the downhill and 24th in the super-G in the first speed races of the men’s World Cup season.
While he said his back is still not 100 percent, he said he was thrilled with how it is holding up to the rigors of the World Cup season.
Despite his difficult off-season — or perhaps because of it — Innerhofer said he is enjoying skiing like never before.
“I think that having to go through so much pain during the summer, I must have saved all the joy of skiing for now,” he said.
Svindal, untouchable in Lake Louise, committed what he called “a big mistake” on the second part of the course where he got “a little too aggressive.”
However, he could not be too unhappy with his third podium finish in as many races.
The US’ Ted Ligety is second in the standings after five races on 170 points.
Racing continues this weekend with a super-G and a giant slalom.