Olympic Trials event overview: Moguls

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Watch the trials on TV

The Olympic Trials are scheduled to air at 12:30 p.m. Saturday on NBC.

Schedule

Wednesday

8:30 a.m. Nordic combined trial jumps at Howelsen Hill

9 to 9: 30 a.m. Nordic combined competition jumps at Howelsen Hill

11:30 a.m. to noon Nordic combined 10-kilometer cross-country race at the rodeo grounds at Howelsen Hill

12:45 p.m. Moguls showcase at Voo Doo ski run at Steamboat Ski Area

1 to 1:45 p.m. Men’s and women’s moguls Run 1 at Voo Doo ski run at Steamboat Ski Area

2 to 2:45 p.m. Men’s and women’s moguls Run 2 at Voo Doo ski run

3:30 p.m. Final Awards for all events at Gondola Square, at Steamboat Ski Area

4 p.m. Concert — Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Gondola Square

■ Thursday

10 to 10:30 a.m. Aerials Run 1 at Voo Doo ski run at Steamboat Ski Area

10:40 to 11:10 a.m. Aerials Run 2 at Voo Doo ski run

11:30 a.m. Aerials awards at Voo Doo ski run

All events are free and open to the public

Competitive moguls skiing at the Olympic level is much more than a trip through a field of bumps. The freestyle skiing event is judged on three criteria, and the result is one of the fastest, most exciting events on snow.

Skiers will start atop the 240-meter Voo Doo mogul run at the Steamboat Ski Area. They must not only make their way down to the bottom of the icy bumps run, but also hit two jumps on the way down, turn and land a series of tricks — and do it all without showing the judges any sweat.

The scoring is split into three segments. Half of a skier’s score is based on turns. They are judged on taking the most direct route from the starting gate to the bottom, their ability to carve between the bumps, their ability to absorb and extend their legs through the bumps, and the composure of their upper body — keeping their chest and head forward, and shoulders level.

Twenty-five percent of the final score is based on the air components, or the quantity and quality of tricks a skier is able to turn while flying off two kickers that are built into the course.

Finally, another 25 percent of the final score is based on a skier’s time on the course compared with the rest of the field.

The field is wide open for the men and women. The women’s race will be between a few highly accomplished, veteran skiers. Three skiers in that field have already competed in previous Olympic Games.

The four U.S. men at the 2006 Games, meanwhile, have retired. There’s no shortage of competitors eager to take their places.

Athletes to watch:

Hannah Kearney

Kearney won the World Cup overall moguls championship last season and opened the defense of that title by placing third in this winter’s first World Cup event and winning the second. The 23-year-old Norwich, Vt., skier took gold in the moguls at the 2005 World Championships but stumbled on her first run at the Olympics in 2006 and finished 22nd, just two places shy of a spot in the finals.

She was second at the national championships last season and leads this season’s World Cup standings.

Michelle Roark

Roark won the most recent moguls national championship, last spring, but has been a fixture at World Cup events for 15 years. She has 115 World Cup starts and has won on that circuit six times. She logged top-10 finishes in each of this season’s first two World Cup events and will be skiing to earn a shot at her second Olympic Games. She was 18th in the moguls in 2006.

Shannon Bahrke

A 29-year-old World Cup and Olympic veteran, Bahrke is one of the most experienced skiers on the U.S. Ski Team. She has started 93 World Cup races, made the podium 22 times and won seven of those contests.

Bahrke, known for her high-energy style, won the silver medal in moguls at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and finished 10th in the same event at the 2006 Olympics in Italy.

Emiko Torito

The 27-year-old Denver native attended The Lowell Whiteman School in Steamboat Springs and trained with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, so she has logged plenty of time on this year’s Olympic Trials course, the Voo Doo run at Steamboat Ski Area.

She won her first World Cup event in 2008 and was fourth at a World Cup competition earlier this month in Suomu, Finland.

In her career, she has 83 World Cup starts and has found the podium five times and claimed the national championship in 2008.

Eliza Outtrim

Another product of Lowell Whiteman and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, the 24-year-old Outtrim joined the World Cup circuit in January and logged top-10 finishes in four of her seven moguls races.

Patrick Deneen

Deneen may be young at 21 years old, but the Washington skier wasted no time establishing himself as one of the World Cup’s top threats. He has landed on the podium four times in 21 starts and is the reigning world champion, having won the moguls event at Inawashiro, Japan, in March.

Bryon Wilson

At 21 years old, Wilson is one of the youngest skiers on the U.S. team, but he’s been the team’s hottest competitor recently. The Butte, Mont., skier won the moguls national championship last spring in Squaw Valley, Calif., and then earned second-place finishes in each of the first two World Cup races this winter.

Michael Morse

Morse, a 28-year-old Massachusetts native, trained in Steamboat and earned his first World Cup podium in the spring in Norway with a third-place finish. He was second at the 2009 national championships and was in the top 10 at each of the first two World Cup events this winter.

In all, he has 24 World Cup starts. Currently in seventh in the World Cup standings, he’s the highest-ranked American.

David Babic

Babic, from Vermont, has been on the World Cup circuit for eight years and earned two victories, the most recent in 2008. He was second in a World Cup event at Deer Valley, Utah, last year and won the national championship in 2006.

Nate Roberts

Roberts joined the World Cup circuit in 2003, has four wins and was the 2005 world champion, but he missed the majority of last winter’s ski season with an injury. He returned to competition earlier this month with a third-place finish at a World Cup event in Finland.

Jeremy Cota

A Maine native, Cota moved to Steamboat to train with the Winter Sports Club and was named to the U.S. Ski Team last spring. He was 10th in the moguls at the national championships last spring and fourth in dual moguls.

He has skied his way onto the podium 11 times on the NorAm and Europa Cup tours.

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