I finally made it home. We can thank Candy Crush for maintaining my sanity in the post-event gridlock leaving (or attempting to leave) Deer Valley tonight following the Superfinal Moguls event of the Visa Freestyle World Cup. Forty-five minutes. That’s how long it took me to get from Snow Park Lodge to the turnabout near Main Street in Park City; about a mile.
Sage and I raced up to the mountain at 6:30 p.m. for the historic event. After all, this would be the last chance essentially for US Ski Team athletes to qualify for the Sochi Olympics. The World Cup happens every January at DV but you have to wait four years for the momentum to build to this level.
Nearly 8500 fans hiked up to the base of the Champion run to watch America’s Hannah Kearney podium with one of her best runs of the World Cup circuit. The 27-year-old Vermonter took her second World Cup gold of the weekend tonight- her 39th career World Cup win. Canadian Olympic gold medalist Alexandre Bilodeau also grabbed a World Cup gold in the men’s round. Both hope to win back-to-back golds at the Sochi Games. “There’s a chance that this is a larger crowd than we will have at the Olympics,” Kearney told the Desert News. “And there is certainly more people cheering for me than there are going to be at the Olympics, so I used it, and I tried to put on a show.”
Kearney added she loves DV’s course with its long center section of tight moguls. She blazed it to pull in her sixth-straight win here. Yulia Galysheva (Kazakhstan) was second, while Canada’s Maxime DuFour-Lapointe took bronze.
The warm temperatures aided the celebration but it wasn’t too warm to rain. Whew. The hail-like beads drifted down gently at first but soon cascaded into the crowd. We cheered- for the fresh turns we’d have for tomorrow and for the teammates who pushed it harder on their home turf. Soon it was over, a brief fireworks show capped the night and we faced the red snake home.
Funny, we could have watched the whole thing on TV tomorrow (Sunday) and saved ourselves the headache. But there’s something about being in the heart of the action, surrounded by fellow ski fans; and watching your kid hoot and holler and say I’m going to ski like that one day that makes it all worth it.