Tahoe hosts world cup event
The World Cup Freestyle ski circus same to Tahoe over the weekend with the Finn men sweeping the moguls and the Russian women doing the same in the acro.
Freestyle competition is divided into acro, moguls and aerials, the acro a renamed version of the old ballet. Moguls are run on a 32-bump studded course with two kickers. The aerials soar off kickers, with skiers reaching 100 feet above the landing zone.
The only American to win a first was Ann Battelle of Steamboat Springs, who won the women’s mogul event.
In Sunday’s premiere event of the aerials, Kyle Nissen of Canada flew highest and landed smoothest to win the men’s event, with Nick Fontaine also of Canada second and American Brian Currutt a surprising third. Olympic Gold medal winner Jonney Moseley is not competing on the World Cup circuit this season.
The women’s aerials was largely a Canadian affair, with World Cup leader Jacqui Cooper narrowly edged out by Veronica Brenner. Third was Evelyne Leu of Switzerland. Best American placer was Brenda Petzold at sixth who is now ranked 13th in World Cup aerial standings.
In the women’s moguls, Marja Elfman of Sweden was just behind Battelle’s 25.86 points at 25.84. Third was Kari Traa of Norway at 25.68.
America had four women in the top 20 in the moguls: Jillian Vogtli, fifth; Shannon Bahrke ninth, Hannah Hardway 14th and Shelley McGill 17th.
In the men’s moguls Finns Janne Lahtela was first, Lauri Lassila was second and Sami Mustonen was third. Alex Wilson of the United States was fifth, locals Travis Ramos and Travis Cabral was ninth and 11th respectively.
In the women’s acro event Elena Batalove was first, Natalia Razumovskaya was second, Oksana Kushenko. Laura Rosenbaum of Portsmouth, R.I., was seventh.
This was the second year that Heavenly has hosted what is probably the second most important athletic event at Tahoe after the July celebrity golf event.
Weather Friday and Saturday was clear but Sunday’s event was held in continuing snow showers which made the aerials more difficult.
The moguls event had two local teenagers in the top 10, Ramos and Cabral. Both are rising stars in the U.S. ski world. Three other American men placed in the top 20 of the moguls: Alex Wilson, fifth; Garth Hager 13th; Ryan Riley 15th; and Luke Westerlund 18th.
Saturday’s mogul course was brutally fast, with Cabral admitting that he was “close” to disaster. The moguls event is one where balance is crucial in maintaining control without sacrificing speed, said local bumper Brooke Ballachey who finished a disappointing 28th in the event.
The aerials featured more bad landings than usual, largely due to the soft snow, said American Joe Pack who finished fifth. Veteran Eric Bergoust finished fourth in the aerials.
World Cup Freestyle moves to Japan next.