November 23, 2018
By Hannah Willinger – CANMORE, AB
Snow flurries linger in the distance, the sound of skis as sharp as blades pierce the ice as a loudspeaker announcements echo through the pine forest. Hopes are high and suspense sets in as alpine racers from all over the world arrive at the first speed race of the year; the Lake Louise Audi World Cup.
Our own Alberta Ski Team & Banff Alpine Racers alumni and Alberta local, Jeff Read, is amongst the hopefuls who will race his first Lake Louise World Cup this weekend. Last year the 21-year-old was a forerunner during the men’s race but this year he has qualified to compete. “I’m definitely very excited about it. I get to finally compete; I’ve wanted to do that for a while so that’s pretty exciting.”
This year marks 28 years since Lake Louise sent their first racer down the track. Jeff’s father; Ken Read was one of them. The track boasts 800 vertical meters of winding descent and speeds that can reach up to 140 km/h. Considerably well over the speed limit permitted in the Banff National Park.
Although the world cup circuit is relatively new to him, Jeff has skied the track since he was child, “Over the years I’ve been coming here and skiing the downhill track for fun with parents or with the club so [I’ve] definitely been on the track there for many, many, years.” Because Read is new to the World Cup circuit he will be starting deeper in the pack, with bib number likely in the forties or fifties. However, he remains confident in his training and is striving to break into the top 30, a result that would earn him his first World Cup points. His current 2nd place ranking in the 2017-18 Nor-Am downhill standings offers him an automatic World Cup spot to compete with the best in the world. Jeffery also placed 4th in Nor-Am overall and final Super G standings by seasons end.
The men set off the races starting Nov 24, with downhill, followed by the more technical Super G on Sunday. The event is free to anyone who wishes to watch from the finish line at the base of Lake Louise Gondola.
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