"To have this course in our minds all summer, it's such a big advantage," said Cook, who's from Mammoth, Calif. "It's a big confidence booster. The first time we went down, we weren't exactly fearless. It's intimidating. But to know what we face now instead of two days before the race is big."
The speed team is coming off a stellar season in which all six World Cup athletes earned a spot on the podium -- including four for the first time -- as they cruised to the nation title for a second straight season.
That was without Lindsey Vonn for a chunk of the season, too. The Olympic downhill gold medalist missed time with an intestinal illness early in the year and then tore her anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee -- along with the medial collateral ligament and breaking a bone in her leg -- during a wipeout in the super-G race on Feb. 5.
Vonn remained stuck at 340 downhill points after her crash at the world championships. But when the final race was canceled due to weather it allowed Vonn to record her sixth straight downhill title by finishing a point ahead of overall champion Tina Maze of Slovenia.
Unexpected, for sure.
But a glimmer of good news for Vonn, who has used the victory as motivation in her recovery from ACL surgery, White said.
"I think winning the globe was a shot in the arm for her, really raised her spirits," said White, who's been selected as a finalist for coach of the year by the U.S. Olympic Committee. "She's looking forward to coming back."
There's an outside chance that Vonn's return to competition could be on this challenging new course. Vonn is from nearby Vail and would love nothing more than to be back by then. But her main goal is the 2014 Sochi Games and won't rush her recovery.
Could Vonn dominate this hill, much as she does up north in Lake Louise?
"Absolutely," White said. "Actually, our whole team has a great potential on this course. I think they all can do really well. It suits Lindsey. It suits Julia (Mancuso). It suits all of them."