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Shiffrin wins first super-G in Lake Louise, Canada's Grenier fifth

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — Mikaela Shiffrin earned the first World Cup super-G victory of her career, while Canada's Valerie Grenier was a hair short of the podium in fifth Sunday. With a time of one minute 19.

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — Mikaela Shiffrin earned the first World Cup super-G victory of her career, while Canada's Valerie Grenier was a hair short of the podium in fifth Sunday.

With a time of one minute 19.41 seconds, Shiffrin was the only woman to ski under 80 seconds in Lake Louise, Alta.

The 23-year-old American was just over three-quarters of a second faster than runner-up Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway.

Owner of Olympic gold medals in slalom and giant slalom, Shiffrin won her first downhill last year in Lake Louise and continued her emergence in speed disciplines at the resort with another victory Sunday.

"It's one of my goals to get to a point where I could win any event, since I started racing World Cups, since I was a little girl really," Shiffrin said.

"To be here today and to be able to ski the way I wanted to and really aggressively, it's just a really incredible moment."

Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany was third in 1:20.24.

Grenier was .88 seconds back of Shiffrin and just five one-hundredths behind Rebensburg.

The 23-year-old from St-Isidore, Ont., posted the best result by a Canadian woman at Lake Louise since Larisa Yurkiw finished fourth in downhill in 2014.

"I've been here so many years now that I was really hoping for a good result one day," Grenier said. "I had a 16th-place here once. Fifth place is unbelievable. When I crossed the finish line, that felt crazy to me.

"I felt like I was skiing well and really sending it. Some gates I was kind of struggling to make so I had a feeling I was bringing some speed."

Super-G is shorter than downhill with gates set wide to test a skier's ability to carry speed through turns. The racers get a pre-race inspection of the course, but no training runs as they do for downhill.

Grenier had a later start number at 32nd. The Canadian had galleries around the finish corral buzzing on her descent as her interval times indicated she was in striking distance of the podium.

"This just gives me so much confidence," Grenier said. "It proves to me that I'm skiing well and the speed is there."

Austria's Nicole Schmidhofer was 11th after winning downhills Friday and Saturday.

With a pair of slalom wins and her super-G victory to start this season, Shiffrin opened a strong defence of her overall World Cup title.

"I need to get back and do some slalom and GS training," Shiffrin said. "It's just a balance of how much racing I do and how much training I get.

"Being able to have this race here today is a really, huge, huge piece for me."

A Canadian didn't finish in the top 30 in the downhills, but Marie-Michele Gagnon of Lac Etchemin, Que., was 20th in super-G. Roni Remme of Collingwood, Ont., finished 36th.

Gagnon raced speed events for the first time since sustaining season-ending injuries in training at Lake Louise last year. The 29-year-old was elated for her young teammate.

"It's so good for the team. It's going to build everyone's confidence," Gagnon said. "I'm just so proud of her. We both had a tough time on the downhill side, but we knew today we could lay it down."

Shiffrin gave Grenier a long hug as the Canadian exited the finish corral.

"She said I skied amazing and that really meant a lot to me," Grenier said. "I was not expecting that."

The women's speed season opened without reigning Olympic downhill champ Sofia Goggia of Italy and American ski star Lindsey Vonn, who are both injured.

Vonn, the winningest woman in Lake Louise with 18 career victories, intended to make this 2018-19 season her farewell tour.

But Vonn wants to race on her favourite mountain one more time. The 34-year-old has announced she'll return to Lake Louise in December of 2019 to compete in one last set of World Cup speed races.

In honour of Vonn's dominance, the resort announced it has renamed the women's downhill course "Lake Lindsey Way."

The women head to St. Mortiz, Switzerland for World Cup for slalom, super-G and parallel slalom races Saturday and Sunday.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press