LAKE LOUISE, Alberta — Lindsey Vonn is back.
The four-time World Cup champion skied confidently into the top five in the Lake Louise super G on Sunday, showing her strength and ability to mount a podium challenge for the first time since her return to the World Cup two days prior.
Swiss skier Lara Gut won the race, her third victory on the season, while Leanne Smith finished just behind Vonn in sixth, Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley finished 17th and Stacey Cook of Truckee finished 18th. It was Cook’s best World Cup super G result since 2008.
“This is the first time I haven’t finished between 25th and 30th in super G in like two years, so I’m happy to make a little step forward and get some confidence and keep trying to move up,” said Cook, a native of Truckee who now skis out of Mammoth. “Getting an early start position would be nice one of these days.”
Vonn said she was pleased with her top-10 finish, as the weekend marked her first World Cup racing since suffering a season-ending injury last February. Vonn had a setback in a training crash in recent weeks, but she’s since recovered well enough to compete.
Vonn 11th, Cook 12th in downhill
Vonn and Cook led the American women in the second downhill in as many days Saturday, finishing 11th and 12th as Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch completed a sweep of the two downhill races.
The U.S. women posted three top-20 results, with Smith finishing 17th and Mancuso 21st. Rookie Jackie Wiles finished just outside the points in 31st.
Cook earned two second-place finishes last year in Lake Louise, while Vonn won the two downhills.
In Friday’s opening downhill, Julia Ford led the American contingent in 21st. Mancuso was the only other American to earn points, placing 26th.
The race was delayed because of manmade fog from snow guns. Brutally cold temperatures down to minus 22 added an extra challenge as the snow was slower and the athletes risked frostbite with any exposed skin.