LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (AP) – Lindsey Kildow comfortably negotiated the final World Cup downhill training run at Lake Louise on a spectacularly clear Thursday, then looked forward to an Olympic ski season and the attention that will bring for the young woman dubbed America’s next Picabo Street.

“Yeah, I’m ready for this year,” she said with a giant smile near the finish line of the course that was the scene of her first World Cup triumph a year ago. “Bring it on.”

A few weeks ago, Kildow went public with her split from her father Alan, who had nurtured her career since childhood, even moving the family from St. Paul, Minn., to Vail, Colo., to support her training.

“He and I actually aren’t speaking,” she said when the subject was broached on Thursday. Kildow, who turned 21 on Oct. 18, said she feels in charge of her own career now. She worked during the summer in Portland, Ore., with new personal trainer Matt James, who used to train Street, and is living with boyfriend, former U.S. Alpine team member Thomas Vonn, in Park City, Utah.

“I’m doing my own program now. Things are going good,” she said.

Thursday’s third training run at frigid but gorgeous Lake Louise determined the order of start for Friday’s downhill. There will be a second downhill on Saturday, followed by a super-G race on Sunday. Then the women’s cup tour goes to Aspen, Colo., for a slalom, giant slalom and super-G.

The temperature was 3 below zero (minus-19 Celsius) at the finish, although the sunny sky made it seem warmer.

Because the racers on Friday go in reverse order from Thursday’s training run, Kildow didn’t want to go too fast.

“I definitely was punching it harder today,” she said, “but I stood up after the last jump to slow myself down so I could get a good starting number.”

Kildow had the 15th-fastest time on Thursday. U.S. teammate Julia Macuso was fifth-fastest, with Americans Jonna Mendez 20th and Libby Ludlow 21st. The fastest was Elena Fanchini of Italy at 1 minute, 48.32 seconds.

The U.S. women send a deep, talented team into the Olympic year, although Kildow will get most of the attention.

“You know what, I think for the most part, everyone’s fine with that,” Mendez said. “The less attention you get, the better. I actually think she likes it, she does well with it. Good for her, good for the rest of the team. Lindsey is the strongest athlete, she did have the strongest results last year, but everyone else knows how strong a team she has behind her.”

Mancuso is exhibit A. Last year at the world championships in Bormio, Italy, she was third in the giant slalom and super-G to become the first woman since Street to take two world medals and have five top-five World Cup finishes in a season.

Kildow missed the podium with a pair of fourths in Bormio, but no one on the U.S. squad could match her overall World Cup numbers for the 2004-05 campaign. In addition to her Lake Louise triumph, she was second in three races and third in three more. In all, she had 11 top fives.

With just two members of the U.S. media at the Lake Louise races, she is enjoying the relative calm before next week’s storm in Aspen.

“It’s nice, sort of away from most of the American press,” she said. “You know Aspen is going to be crazy because I’m going to have family. It’s going to be kind of like a pre-Olympic practice for me because there’s going to be so many people there and a lot of expectations.”

AP-ES-12-01-05 1846EST


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