Friday, December 14, 2001
Steamboat Springs When the judges' scores were announced after the final women's mogul skier crossed the finish line of Friday's Steamboat Springs U.S. Freestyle Grand National, the look on the face of Norway's Kari Traa was one of surprise.
"It felt pretty good from the point where I landed my first air to the finish, " Traa said. "But I felt like I had missed my top air."
But from the bottom of the hill, the air and the run looked pretty strong. Traa was awarded 26.99 points for the run and collected her second World Cup wins here in Steamboat Springs.
"I like to ski here in Steamboat," Traa said after the run.
Despite her apparent shock, Traa may not have been the most surprised skier in the event. That honor went to Emiko Torito who earned a spot to ski in the Steamboat World Cup based on coaches' discretion who probably recorded the most shocking result of the day.
The former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier, who is a graduate of Lowell Whiteman School, broke into the finals with a top qualifying run Friday morning.
Then she laid down another solid run in the finals to boost her into first place midway through the finals which were limited to the top 12 skiers in the event.
"I was super pleased," Torito said of the run. " I never thought that I would make it into the finals. So, after that, I had nowhere to go but up."
As Torito watched the final seven skiers come down the hill, however, she quickly discovered how it felt to slip back in the standings.
She was knocked into fourth place by Russian skier Ljudmila Dymchenko who placed second and by Austrian skier Margarita Marbler who finished third.
Torito said she was happy that the top finish came here in Steamboat in front of her friends and family.
"I love this course and I love Steamboat," Torito said.
When Torito isn't traveling around the world with the U.S. team she now lives in Denver.
Other top finishes included American Hannah Hardaway who placed fifth, French skier Sandra Laoura in sixth, American Donna Weinbrecht in seventh, Marina Cherkasova in eighth, Jillian Vogtli in ninth and Tae Satoya in 10th.