12/05/2013 03:01 EST | Updated 02/04/2014 05:59 EST

Lindsey Vonn skips training, but intends to race Lake Louise downhill

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. - American Lindsey Vonn will make her long-awaited World Cup skiing debut Friday.

The reigning Olympic women's downhill champion hasn't competed since tearing ligaments in her right knee and breaking a bone in her leg at the world championships in February. She skipped Thursday's training run but the American ski star said via Twitter she intended to make her return to racing here.

"I've decided to take today as a "rest day" but I will be racing tomorrow," Vonn said. "I can't wait for my first race."

Downhill races are scheduled for Friday and Saturday followed by Sunday's super-G.

Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch was the fastest in training Thursday with a time of one minute 56.52 seconds. Norway's Lotte Smiseth Sejersted was second, followed by Austrian Anna Fenninger.

Larisa Yurkiw of Owen Sound, Ont., is the lone Canadian in the downhill and was 23rd.

Vonn has won a record 14 World Cup races at Lake Louise, which has earned the nickname "Lake Lindsey" because of her dominance. She swept all three races the last two years.

But the 29-year-old arrived at the Alberta resort with questions surrounding her knee.

She partially tore one of the surgically-reconstructed ligaments while training in Copper Mountain, Colo., two weeks ago. Vonn didn't compete in the first downhill of the season last weekend in Beaver Creek, Colo.

Vonn was 22nd in the first training run Wednesday.

"You know if your body is ready or not and I know that mine is ready," she said in a statement posted on the U.S. Ski Federation website. "Normally this is the first downhill of the year, so for me this feels like a normal beginning of the season. It feels pretty awesome.

"My goal (Wednesday) was to ski solid and to ski my race line and I did that. I knew that if I could accomplish all those things in one run, then I don't need a second run. It's the smart choice for me to not ski today in order to prepare for (Friday)."

Vonn is a four-time overall World Cup champion. She needs three more World Cup wins to match the record of 62 held by Annemarie Moser-Proell.