Wednesday, January 3, 2001
The slopes of Voo Doo have become a second home for freestyle skier Travis Mayer in the past several years.
So when the Lowell-Whiteman graduate returned to the familiar bumps on the face of the Steamboat Ski Area last week, it wasn't surprising that Mayer was able to rack up first- and second-place finishes.
"I love skiing in Steamboat," the U.S. Ski Team member said. "Things are starting to come together, finally."
Mayer said he was trying to make up some ground after getting a late start on his ski training this year.
"This is a building year for me," Mayer said.
"I wanted to take some time off to get started in college. Now that I've done that, I can focus my attention on skiing."
Mayer started college at Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y., this fall, but has taken a leave of absence to return to skiing and his drive to make the U.S. Olympic team.
"I don't know if 2002 is in the picture. I'm working toward a shot at the 2006 games," Mayer said.
Last week, Mayer set the pace on the slopes of Voo Doo during two Rocky Mountain Division mogul events on the trail. The first day was won by Mayer's teammate, Toby Dawson. Mayer dominated the slopes on Friday, however, topping the field for a big win.
"It's a great way to train," Mayer said. "It's nice to ski in competition it's a lot better than just training."
Mayer graduated from Lowell-Whiteman last spring. He is entering his third year as a member of the U.S. Ski Team.
"It was important to get school started. Now I can go back whenever I want," he said of Cornell.
Mayer will continue to take classes in the offseason and also correspondence courses that are offered through Cornell.
For now, he said he will concentrate on several upcoming NorAm events in the United States and Canada. Top finishes there will be harder to come by but will help him improve his position on the U.S. team.
"The NorAm is like the minor league of freestyle skiing," Mayer said. "It's where you earn the right to move up to a higher level.
"I just want to keep skiing well and hopefully peak by 2006," Mayer said.
Mayer said he will be going non-stop from now until April. In addition to the NorAm events, he is expecting to ski in some Europa Cups and the World Junior Championships in March.
"I don't have any goals in terms of numbers or results," Mayer said. "I had four months off so I just want to keep improving."
He said he was glad to get off to a solid start in Steamboat and plans on spending a few more weeks here before hitting the road.
"This is my home," Mayer said of Steamboat. "I hope to keep living here for at least the next five or six years."