Tuesday, December 10, 2002
Steamboat Springs The selection events for the U.S. Freestyle team will not officially begin until Thursday, and despite a pair of top results last weekend, local skier Jordan Chiovarelli is using the time wisely.
"They are really going to have to buckle down the next two days," local coach Erik Skinner said. "Everybody knows how important these events are, so they will need to be mentally and physically focused the next few days to get the job done."
Chiovarelli is coming off a strong opening week, which included a third-place result in the first event Dec. 6 and a first-place finish on Dec. 7.
However, the local freestyle skier is already working to improve his scores by increasing the difficulty of his airs.
"I've been working on a couple of different jumps today, and if they come together before the selection events, I will probably put them into the run," Chiovarelli said.
While Chiovarelli is working hard in training, he is trying to stay laid back about the selection events.
"The only pressure surrounding these events is the pressure you put on yourself," Chiovarelli said. "I don't like to set goals for an event, because if you don't meet them then you will be disappointed."
Disappointed isn't a word Chiovarelli, his teammates or coaches were using to describe the opening week of the season in Winter Park.
"I'm happy with my results because I'm skiing well right now," Chiovarelli said.
So are teammates Andrew Deubel, who took a fifth in the first event and a third in the other, and Christopher Pusey, who recorded a 10th and a fourth, respectively during the opening weekend.
In the Dec. 7 event, Chiovarelli scored 24.90 points to lead the field. He was followed by Chris Peixotto, who was second at 24.39 and fellow Steamboat skier Deubel, who was third with a score of 24.07.
Other Steamboat finishers included Scott Vos at 13th, Jarrett Arguelles at 14th and Kyle Ewing at 19th.
"I think everybody was happy with their results and the way they skied," Skinner said. "They all still have some work to do, but it's nice getting the first event of the season out of the way."
Newcomer Eliza Outtrim set the pace for the Steamboat team on the women's side. She placed second in the first day of competition Dec. 6 and was third the next day.
Steamboat skiers captured fourth through 10th in that first event, as well.
Heather McPhie was fourth, Jenny Haywood took fifth, Alison Levy earned sixth and Molly Sullen placed seventh.
Carly Gmeiner came in eighth, Kristen Sweeney was ninth and Heidi Degenhart was 10th. Steamboat's Erin Anderson came in 14th.
Steamboat was also dominant on Dec. 7 behind Outtrim's third. Carly Gmeiner came in sixth, Lauren Crawford was eighth, Erica Damon was 16th and Maryann Skraba was 17th.
"This was an awesome first event for out team," Skinner said. "Everyone was ready to go, and that shows in the results."
Skinner has high hopes for this week's selection events and feels like several skiers will have an opportunity to make the NorAm cut or even earn a position on the U.S. Freestyle team.
Chiovarelli, Deubel and Pusey should be in the running if they can maintain their level of skiing. Outtrim and a host of Steamboat skiers also have a shot on the women's side.
"This is a good year to be on the bubble," Skinner said. "There are more spots available (because of post-Olympic retirements) than there are in a normal year."