Fletcher leads team in Park City | SteamboatToday.com

Fletcher leads team in Park City

— Taylor Fletcher led the way for United States Nordic combined skiers Friday during the first of two Continental Cup events in Park City, Utah.

Bending its schedule to suit a lack of snow and an influx of tourists, skiers jumped Thursday night then raced Friday morning, not on the traditional Soldier's Hallow track, which is snow starved this December, but on a nearby tubing hill made fit for the competition.

There, Fletcher passed 18 skiers to finish eighth, the fastest time and best finish among a large United States contingent.

Tomaz Druml won the event, leading an Austrian sweep, ahead of Lukas Greiderer and Marco Pichlmayer.

Fletcher jumped to 26th place Thursday night, then had the third-fastest ski time to climb into the top 10 and finish 1 minute, 47.2 seconds back. Along the way, he passed Billy Demong, competing for the first time this year after a summer spent on the fundraising circuit.

Demong jumped to eighth and finished 13th.

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Elsewhere, Ben Berend was 23rd, a strong finish after an injury slowed him throughout the summer. He was just ahead of Michael Ward, who flew past 17 skiers to finish 24th.

Jasper Good finished 24th, Colin Delaney was 36th, Nicholas Madden was 38th and Ben Loomis was 39th for the United States.

The action resumed Friday night with jumping for the second Continental Cup competition. Racing to finish that event will take place Saturday morning. A third planned competition was scrubbed as the tubing hill had been rented for a private party.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9