Conny Huetter wasted no time on her comeback following nearly a year away from the World Cup circuit due to a knee injury sustained last December. In the Austrian's first race back since the training crash last winter, she claimed a tight victory in the opening downhill of the season at Lake Louise. Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather, who posted solid training times all week, was just 0.09 seconds shy of the win in second place. Technical phenom turned downhill threat Mikaela Shiffrin secured the first speed podium finish of her career in third.
Huetter was emotional after the race and could barely believe that she had won the first downhill race of her career in her very first race back on the tour. Although she was overjoyed to see the green light in the finish, she wasn't sure if it would hold up against the rest of the field after she started with bib 15.
Snowfall intensified over the race as more challengers tried to shake the podium, but the top three were ultimately decided with Huetter's run. Lindsey Vonn appeared on track to at least hit the podium when she caught an edge in Claire's Corner and careened into the safety fences. She was able to ski down to the finish area and reportedly suffered no serious injuries.
For Weirather, the day marked the fifth time out of her last seven podium finishes that she wound up in second place. After a small mistake on the lower section of the course, she was determined to take another crack at the hill on Saturday.
Shiffrin surprised herself a bit by skiing a clean run onto her career-first speed podium. But she acknowledged that the training runs enabled her to figure out her timing on the track and she could focus on having fun once race day arrived. All three ladies and the rest of the field return to Lake Louise tomorrow for another downhill race ahead of Sunday's super-G.