(Reuters) - It has been a year since Lindsey Vonn last skied a World Cup race, but there is light at the end of the tunnel for the American, who is set to make her return from a lengthy injury absence at her favorite resort this weekend.
Two downhills and a Super-G at Lake Louise look like a gruelling return for the 30-year-old, who has had to start almost from scratch after undergoing two knee operations and suffering a shin fracture over the last two years.
"I had to build everything back up from nothing. That took a lot of time and a lot of work -- there is pretty much nothing I didn't do. But I love working hard, I love being in the gym. I love pushing myself," the 2010 Olympic downhill champion said on her main sponsor Red Bull's website this week.
"It's been a very long road to get to this point but it has all been worth it. No matter what my result tomorrow or even this season, I'm back to doing what I love and I wouldn't trade that for the world,” she added on her Facebook profile.
She showed in three practice runs at the Alberta resort that she is still highly competitive. She posted morale-boosting times and was eighth fastest in the second training run on Wednesday.
"I'm just trying to get a good feeling for everything, ski more aggressively every day and be comfortable pushing myself," she told reporters after Tuesday’s training session.
Vonn’s last World Cup appearance was in Val d’Isere, France on Dec. 21, 2013, when her already ailing knee gave out once again.
The four times World Cup champion and second most successful women's skier of all time has chosen the perfect stage to make her comeback.
Lake Louise has been dubbed “Lake Lindsey” after her run of 14 World Cup victories there.
Another win would be sensational, but just being back on skis is already a victory for Vonn, who is just three World Cup victories short of Austria’s record holder Anne-Marie Moser-Proell.
Through the hard times, she was lucky to receive the support of her biggest fan, boyfriend Tiger Woods.
"Tiger is pretty tough," she said. "He's an incredibly hard worker. He has been through a lot of injuries in his career, and he has always fought back. He's a huge inspiration for me."
(Editing by Toby Davis)