Gondola rides at the Lake Louise Ski Resort provide summer visitors an opportunity to observe bears in their natural habitat, but FIS staff from both the ladies' and men's tours had other business in mind during a recent inspection at the Canadian speed venue. After hiking the accessible portions of the World Cup race slope, critical organizing committee (LOC) members and FIS staff discussed course layout, volunteer needs, and ways to elevate the race experience for all stakeholders heading into the 2018/19 season.
FIS Ladies' Chief Race Director Atle Skaardal, FIS Ladies' Race Director Speed J.P. Vulliet, and FIS Men's Technical Operations Director Mike Kertesz joined Lake Louise World Cup Chairman Brian Lynam, Men's Chief of Race Darrell MacLachlan, Ladies' Chief of Race Jim Brewington, Ladies' Chief of Course Doug Campbell, Guest Services representative Lynne Gibson, and Lake Louise Ski Resort Mountain Manager Rocket Miller for the inspection held on 31 May 2018.
"It was great to have representatives from both the Men's and Ladies' FIS World Cup teams back in Lake Louise for a summer inspection. Even legacy venues such as Lake Louise can find opportunities to improve," said Lynam. "Despite it being a short visit, it gave us a chance to share thoughts and ideas without the constraints of the pressures that come during race week."
The early summer visit gave everyone an opportunity to see Lake Louise in its unfrozen state, a rare sight for those who normally only travel to the area during the annual speed openers. It also provided an opportunity to work through even the minor details that affect the quality of the races for participants, spectators, and supporters alike.
"We had a very productive meeting at Lake Louise both on the hill and also in discussions to make improvements so we are better prepared to cope with any bad weather or challenging course conditions that might come our way in the future," said Skaardal.
Thankfully, the group did not encounter any bears on the hike, though a fierce squirrel was spotted.
The men's 2018/19 World Cup speed openers are scheduled to take place 24-25 November with the ladies' races to follow from 30 November - 2 December.