Steamboat Springs Two days of less-than-ideal training on the Voo Doo ski run had Abe Maynard feeling pretty low Thursday afternoon.
But by the time the 2007 Chevrolet Freestyle Junior Olympic Championships moguls event came to a close less than 24 hours later, the Steamboat Springs mogul skier was feeling better than he has all season - or ever, for that matter.
"This is the happiest I've ever been in my skiing career," Maynard said after placing second in Friday's competition. "This is the first time I've ever finished in the top 10 at the Junior Olympics, and it feels great."
Maynard, 18, said his second-place finish was made even better because he had to face his own fears before the run and because he overcame the mental pressures that come with big events.
"I think that Abe is starting to figure out the brain game," freestyle coach Erik Skinner said. "He's learning how to work through the difficult situations in order to find success."
Maynard said he decided later Thursday afternoon to clear his mind and remember the reason he started skiing in the first place.
"I just wanted to have fun," Maynard said. "If you are not having fun skiing at this level, it's hard to have good results."
The Steamboat skier wasn't the only skier celebrating after Friday's mogul events.
Carrabassett Valley skier Jeremy Cota won the men's moguls by scoring 25.39 points on his best run. Maynard was second with 24.44 points, and Summit's Riley Campbell was third with 22.44 points.
Summit County's Jordan Poyfair netted 22.53 points to beat out Wasatch Freestyle Club's Annie Serra in the final results. Serra finished with 21.77 points. Waterville Valley's Sophia Schwartz finished third with 21.75 points.
The mogul skiers will take today off as the aerial skiers take center stage on the jumps at the Park Smalley Freestyle Complex at the Steamboat Ski Area. Today's competition is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. with the women's first jump.
The Junior Olympic Championships will wrap up Sunday with the dual mogul events on the Voo Doo ski run at the ski area.