Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Steamboat Springs The pressure to do well at this weekend's U.S. Freestyle Selection events in Park City, Utah, can be overwhelming.
"These events pretty much determine your season," said Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Director Erik Skinner. "This is where the athletes can earn World Cup and NorAm starts."
The members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club opened the events - which include moguls, aerial and halfpipe competition - with mixed results Sunday.
"A few of our athletes got off to kind of a rough start," Skinner said. "But the good news is that nobody is out of the running for NorAm spots."
It was a terrific start to the season for former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier Emiko Torito, who topped the women's field in the first of two single mogul events.
She edged fellow U.S. Ski Team member Heather McPhie, who finished second, and Kayla Snyderman, who finished third.
Top Steamboat finishers included Eliza Outtrim in eighth, Caterina Mader in 15th, Kara Johnson in 35th and Erica Damon in 37th.
Park City skier Holt Haga topped the men's event. Americans Sho Kashima finished second, and Bryon Wilson was third. Top Steamboat skiers included Abe Maynard in 11th and Michael Morse in 14th.
Skinner said the finishes were good, but that the skiers had expected more headed into the events.
"Abe skied pretty well, but he needs a little more speed," Skinner said. "He needs to drop about two seconds. I think with a few adjustments he will be able to pick up some speed and move up in the results."
Skinner said Bo Randolph spent his summer training and has been skiing well this season. But he struggled on his airs in the Park City event.
"Our skiers just need to trust themselves, and they will be fine," Skinner said. "I think we had a couple of guys who were trying to do a little too much."
Steamboat's Bartley Damon finished 35th, Kevin Hanian was 36th and Chris Gebhardt was 40th.
While Skinner had hoped for a few more top finishes, the coach is still optimistic as the team heads into another single event tonight and prepares for the dual event on Thursday.