The FIS Freestyle World Cup at Lake Placid
by Paul Maraschiello

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The Nature Valley Freestyle Cup was the 1st stop on the North American tour and I was there covering the event along with Killington local, Tex Lentz. We're excited to see this world-class event where all the Olympic Freestyle Teams from all over the world would compete in Aerials and Moguls. NBC will televise moguls coverage Jan. 27 at 3:00 p.m. ET while Versus will have coverage of the Nature Valley Freestyle Challenge aerials Jan. 27 at 4:00 p.m. ET. Versus will re-air moguls coverage Feb. 2 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

They held moguls competition Friday and Sunday at Whiteface Mountain and the aerials contest Saturday night at the Olympic Jumping Complex under the lights. They had new snow and weather in the 20's on Friday and Saturday for most of the events with the temperature dropping to below zero by Sunday.



ACCOMMODATIONS
We stayed at the Town & Country Motor Inn in Lake Placid. It was a very nice place that was moderately priced ($59-$130). The room was comfortable and the bathroom must have been new because it was the cleanest bathroom that I have ever seen. They provided free coffee and donuts in the office every morning and the owners were very hospitable. If you are looking for a nice place to stay in Lake Placid, I can recommend the Town & Country Motor Inn. Click here: http://www.tcmotorinn.com/ to visit there website. It is easy to get to and convenient to everything in town. For reservations call: (888) 523-6640 and tell them the Ski Bum News sent you.

FREESTYLE COMPETITION
I headed to Whiteface to see the Friday and it was fantastic. The teams were all sporting new uniforms and they all looked pretty spiffy. I teased some of the French Freestyle Team about their team not being able to afford ski pants due to the fact that they were wearing brown plaid pants that looked more like snowboarding pants. They laughed about it and invited me to join them and drink my hot chocolate.



The snow was very good for the bump contest and I saw the competitors throw down some pretty sick tricks. The level of competition is getting stiffer and stiffer every year. All of the competitors are going inverted and a Helicopter just doesn't do it any more. My "joke of the day" was to tell everybody that my D-Spin sucks, HA, HA, HA. I can get down the bump course but it's more like a series of linked checks than carved turns at high speed. If they have a contest for skiing bumps slow and under control, I might win. Alas, my mother doesn't let me do "air" in the bumps.



US Women Bumpers 2 Out of 3 on Podium
The US Women's Mogul Team really shined this day. For the women, it was Emiko Torito from Denver scoring 25.17 points to cinch 1st place. Deborah Scanzio from Italy, with 23.98 came in 2nd and newcomer Kayla Snyderman from Winchester, MA scored 23.70 for 3rd place.



For the men it was Warren Tanner taking the Gold back to Canada with him with a score of 25.55. Dale Begg-Smith (Australia) was 2nd with 25.22 points and America's Pat Deneen ( Cle Elum, WA) with 25.22 points to clinch 3rd place. Newcomer Holt Haga placed a respectable 6th



Torito led the qualifying in the morning. She threw a helicopter off the first jump and a back-flip off the second jump to win. She led Italy's Deborah Scanzio by more than a full point. Little Kayla Snyderman is hot. She had just won a NorAm dual moguls event at Val St. Come in Quebec and I expect to see her on the podium often in the coming years. She may be just a half pint but this half pint of dynamite will blow you away in the bumps.



Canadian, Warren Tanner laid down a great run to edge out Olympic, defending World Cup champion Dale Begg-smith of Australia for the win in the men's competition. He also won at Val St. Come. Pat Deneen was a pretty happy camper with his 3rd place in this World Cup event. We might be seeing a lot more of him as the season goes on. It was fun to watch him clown around with his teammates at the awards ceremony.



My assistant Tex and I had a leisurely breakfast at Charlie's Restaurant in Lake Placid. The food was excellent and the service was provided by a very pretty girl from Argentina.

I picked up my skis at the repair shop at Whiteface where I had left them to be tuned. The guys there did a great job waxing and sharpening my skis and Tex complained that he had a hard time keeping up with me. THANKS, guys, my ego needed that little boost. If you are going to be at Whiteface and your skis aren't holding or if they have a couple of "ouches" on the bottoms, drop them off for a tune. It is well worth the money.



There were no events scheduled during the day, so we had ample time to explore the mountain. I had skied Whiteface before but it was Tex's first time at this world-class mountain. We checked out a lot of the trails and stopped by to see the bumpers practice their trade. We hit many of the trails that were serviced by the Gondola and then headed to the chair that took us to the highest peak. It was in the clouds and they were running the snow guns but we had fun zooming down the steep expert run to the bottom.



That evening, we headed over to the Jumping Complex for the Aerials. It was a spectacular event. The Freestyle Aerialists were flying off a 60-foot kicker and landing on a steep grade in front of the fans who were gathered to watch this spectacular event.



The U.S. Freestyle Team finished out of the money in this event. For the men, it was Steve Omischl from Canada who placed 1st with 243.47 points, Anton Kushnir of Belrus was 2nd with 239.55 points and Xiaopeng Han from China in 3rd place with 236.60 points.



For the women, it was Australian Jacqui Cooper who won the Gold with 213.95 points, Xinxin Guo from China in 2nd with 198.21 and 3rd place went to Evelyne Leu from Switzerland with 190.71 points. There was a live band who warmed things up with Reggie tunes as the snow flurries flew. If you weren't there with us, Versus will televise coverage Jan. 27 at 4:00 p.m. ET.



We must be getting old. After a hard day of skiing and covering the aerial event, Tex and I headed back to our room rather than an evening at one of Lake Placid's night spots. The next morning, we were up early and watched the weather channel. When Tex saw that the temperature was -15 degrees, he decided to leave the coverage of the final event to me and headed back to Vermont. Nether of us relish freezing our you-know-what off on the ski slope and I've been known to cancel coverage of an event because of the cold.



I chatted with a few people that were in the Press Room and put on my ski boots. I had my down vest on under my ski parka and was all set for sub-zero weather but I took my time heading to the slopes. I rode up the gondola (it's warm) and took a run. The sun was out and there was no wind. The temperature had risen and it wasn't too cold. I made quite a few runs before heading to the mogul venue to watch the bumpers. It had started to snow and the light was getting flat. This was going to be a tough bump contest.



For the women, it was Michelle Roark from Winter Park, CO took 1st place honors with 24.20 points. Russian Ekaterina Stolyarova was 2nd with 24.13 points and Nikola Sudova of the Czech Republic placed 3rd with a 22.89. For the men, it was Dale Begg-Smith from Australia who took the Gold with a 26.37. Canadian Alexandre Bilodeau was 2nd with 25.57 points and Pat Deeen from Cle Elum, WA maintained the honor of the USA with a 3rd place finish with 25.23. This was his second podium at Whiteface and he was really stoked. Michelle Roark was really happy too. It was fun to see her teammates and fans come up to her and kiss her and congratulate here. She clinched her win with a back-flip off the top jump and a "bronco" which is a full spin with a sideways kick of her skis while looking back up the moguls run (My mother won't let me do those ether).



The U.S. women's team finished in a group with Shelly Robertson (Reno, NV) 5th, Kayla Snyderman 6th, Hannah Kearney 7th, and Olympian Jillian Vogtli 8th.

Pat Deneen did a back-flip off the top jump, too, and a D-spin (off-axis, double-rotation) for his second jump and skied fast, fast, fast! His teammates Bryon Wilson from Butte, MT was 6th, Jay Bowman-Kirigin from Salt Lake City was 7th, Sho Kashima from Zephyr Cove, NV finished 10th and Killington's Michael Morse placed 15th.



I'm looking forward to covering the FIS World Cup Freestyle at Deer Valley on the 1st and 2nd of February. Not only will there be Bumps and Aerials but there will also be a Skier Cross. BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!!!

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