by Paul Maraschiello
Photos by Paul Maraschiello & Steven Kain


I headed up to Lake Placid to cover the FIS Freestyle World Cup Competition. At the meet, Olympic freestyle skiing stars in moguls and aerials came together at the 1980 Olympic slopes of Lake Placid, N.Y. This event featured one moguls event and two days of aerial events.

I was staying at the ADK Train Inn, a friendly Adirondack inn located between Keene and Upper Jay, NY, on RT 9N, less that 15 miles from the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area. My room was clean and comfortable with a private bath and knotty pine paneling. My host was very friendly and I enjoyed the complementary breakfast each morning that featured a choice of cereals, bread, fruit, juice, yogurt and hot oatmeal, and coffee. This inn not only caters to skiers but has a clientele of ice climbers. Keene was a haven for this sport, as I learned one morning at breakfast. The inn is a rustic motel that features a large Game Room and has a big screen TV in the common area. Room rates are a bargain, starting at $85.00 (including breakfast) and go up to $105.00 per room. For a reservation, call (518) 527-1155 tell them that you read about them in the Ski Bum News.

Hannah Kearney topped the podium with her 16th win in a row. This was her first event after a training injury in early October. Hannah's winning score was a 23.53 with Czechoslovakian Nikola Sudova coming in 2nd with 22.36, Australian Britteney Cox was 3rd, scoring 21.62 and Canadian Chloe Dufour-LaPointe was 4th with 16.63.

It was an all North America podium for the men. Mikael Kingsbury lead the bumpers with a score of 27.05. USA's Patrick Deneen placed 2nd with 25.71, teammate Dylan Walczyk was 3rd and USA's Byron Wilson was 4th with 23.57.

The day saw some great skiing in the bumps from all these top competitors. Sixty-eight men competed in this event and represented countries from all over the world, from the one-man Italian team (Giacomo Matiz) who is ranked 12th in the world to the 10-man US Team. This was a great event where Mikael Kingsbury skied like a real champ (he's the world leader) making tight turns and great jumps that included Back Flips, Heli's, D-spins, and more. Patrick Deneen made perfect turn after perfect turn and he also threw some great jumps too.

The ladies put on a really great show. Hanna Kearney was a machine as she chewed up the bumps with perfect turns and well-executed jumps. To see these gals ski through the moguls and do two mandatory jumps in addition to making perfect turns was a delight to behold.

The event was televised by NBC, Sunday, Jan. 20 at 3 p.m. EST along with additional coverage on NBC Sports Network, Sunday, Jan 20, and will be on again Sunday, Jan. 27, at 2 p.m. EST.

The first of the two Aerial events took place on Friday and saw the Chinese team dominate the event. We saw 35 male and 28 female competitors speed down the 60-ft. Jump and do all kinds of gyrations in the air. They were flipping and spinning so fast that my camera couldn't always record the action. The field was narrowed down to the top 12 qualifiers and then down to the top four where all the scores were thrown out and it came down to one final jump for each competitor in the Super Finals.

The men's podium saw China's Zongyang Jai take the gold in the Super Final with a Back, Double Full Full Full and he landed it perfectly for a score of 129.86. Teammate Guangpu Qi gained 2nd by doing the same trick with a score of 129.41. Australian David Morris took 3rd by also doing a Back, Double Full Full Full but he only scored 125.34 points. China's Hang Zhou was 4th with 120.81 and guess what, he did the same trick.

The women's podium was also almost all Chinese. Mengtao Xu garnered 1st by doing a Back Lay Full Full for 92.72 points. Her teammate Yu Yang was 2nd and did a Back Double Full Full for 90.59 points. USA's Emily Cook took the 3rd place spot by completing a Back Full Full for 87.25 points with Xin Zhang in 4th after doing a Back Full Double Full for 86.36.

The 2nd Aerial Event
I had a great day of skiing on Saturday, Whiteface is a big mountain that offers something for everyone. After skiing, I headed over to the Olympic Jumping Complex for another evening of Aerials. The field of 35 men and 28 women was narrowed down to the top 12 and then down to the top four where all the scores were thrown out and it came down to one final jump for each competitor.

Topping the men's podium was China's Zongyang Jai who scored 115.38. In the 2nd place spot was Dmitri Dashinski from Belarus with a 112.72. Petr Medulich representing Russia was 3rd with a score of 110.62 and Australia's Davis Morris was 4th with 109.5. Over the years, I've gotten to know Dmitri and he is a great competitor who has won over 30 medals in his career, including a silver medal in the Olympics in Turin and a bronze medal in Nagano.

The women's event saw the Chinese dominate the podium. China's Yu Yang take the gold with a Back Full Double Full that scored 85.65. Australia's Lydia Lassila scored 79.04 with a Back Lay Triple Full. China's Mengtao Xu placed 3rd with a Back Lay Triple Full that scored 74.48 and Xin Zhang was 4th with a 56.4.

There was a great crowd witnessing the event under the lights at Lake Placid. Fans were entertained by a live band and fireworks. There were fantastic performances by many athletes at this event.

Clyde Alejandro Getty, a 51-year old freestyle skier born in the United States but representing Argentina got an ovation from the crowd after he missed his landing and did a face-plant. I met Clyde last year and feel that he is doing a great job in bringing Freestyle to Argentina.