U.S. Ski Team freestyle skier Ryan St. Onge, a former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club member, won the Nature Valley Freestyle Challenge at Deer Valley Resort in Utah on Friday. It was St. Onge's sixth career World Cup victory and his third career win in Deer Valley.
"Deer Valley treats me very well," St. Onge said in a news release. "All of my family came. I love being here in Deer Valley in front of a huge crowd. I love jumping at night, and winning is just special."
St. Onge threw a back full, double full and a full - three flips with a single twist on first and third and double twist on the second - to win the competition.
"During that second jump, I knew I was either going to be way too big and land on my head or, if I could get my feet underneath me, it was going to be the biggest scoring jump I could possibly do," St. Onge said. "I came in a little bit fast. I hit a good takeoff and just stretched for my life and somehow my feet got down. I was so happy."
The jump was a landmark for St. Onge, who had performed the jump only once this season before winning with it Friday.
"That was only the second time this year I've done this jump. It would have seemed logical for me to maybe back down this week and spend more time performing that trick before I competed it," St. Onge said. "I did a great one in training, and I knew I could do it. I really wanted to win instead of just being in the back of the pack."
The 2009 Visa Freestyle International continues Saturday with the first World Cup ski halfpipe competition in the U.S. at Park City Mountain Resort and wraps up with a nighttime dual moguls event at Deer Valley Resort.
The aerials team will be back in action Thursday and Friday at the official Olympic test event on the 2010 venue in Cypress Mountain outside Vancouver, British Columbia.
Glueck top finisher for US
Norway's Magnus Moan took in his fifth win of the season, coming within 52 points of the overall lead during a FIS Nordic Combined World Cup on Saturday in Chaux-Neuve, France.
The top Americans sat out the event, but Steamboat's Alex Glueck finished 32nd, a career best, as one of four U.S. athletes competing in Saturday's event.
"That was a really good result for Alex," said Nordic combined coach Dave Jarrett.
The top U.S. skiers, including Billy Demong, Todd Lodwick and Johnny Spillane, are on a short break from competition preparing for World Championships, which are Feb. 19 through March 1 in Liberec, Czech Republic.
It was the debut World Cup for Steamboat Springs skiers Taylor Fletcher and Brett Denney as well as Park City's Nick Hendrickson.