Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Austria ever-so-slightly edged out 2010 Olympic gold champ Hannah Kearney and a couple of Canucks took the top spots in the mens division of this grueling head to head elimination race. But even with the excitement and energy, it was the fast moving snowstorm that upstaged the annual Deer Valley event. No one was going to complain. It’s been more than a week of unseasonably high temperatures and clear skies. Not just the Park City resorts but every resort in Utah is in dire need of refreshments with the MLK weekend ahead. The flakes cascaded as the fireworks signaled the end of the night and young and old practiced bodysledding down Wide West at Snow Park Lodge.
Maybe the freestyle skiers were doing a snow dance up there as they cruised Champions run in front of thousands of spectators ringing the manmade amphitheater. The dual moguls draws out even the most casual spectator because it’s easier to root for and spot a winner. It’s the athlete who not only throws down the hardest but crosses the finish line first. Over and over.
Tonight wraps up three days of moguls and aerials competition that saw the US women making a 1-2 punch on the podium on the first (aerials) night. Ashley Caldwell from Virginia pulled a pair of triple flips and teammate Kiley McKinnon from Connecticut laid down two clean double flips to come up first and second respectively.
This weekend, as well, marks the 16th year Deer Valley has hosted freestyle events that have included the 2002 Winter Olympics. “Our athletes love it here. It’s the trifecta of lodging, food and customer service,” said Konrad X Rotermund Chief of Competition, “Plus, Deer Valley has never lost its touch since the Olympics. It has retained that aura of wanting to win here.”
The Champions course was the first one ever built to spec for the Olympics and continues to be one of the longest in the FIS family. It also has the steepest start to a hard, fast bump ride.The next stop for our freestyle athletes is the 2015 FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships, Jan. 14-19, in Kreischberg, Austria.
At home, weather forecasters are scratching their heads and taking bets whether the totals will land at the low or high end of the predicted 4-12 inches. The clouds clear out by the end of the week so your best turn day will be Tuesday. The powderflu may be going around.