Skiers fly high on Voodoo | SteamboatToday.com

Skiers fly high on Voodoo

Steamboat women grab three of top four spots

— A pack of high-flying, fast-skiing Russians provided the highlights Saturday afternoon during a Rocky Mountain Division freestyle skiing moguls event at Steamboat Ski Area.

The Russian national moguls team, featuring Olympic and World Championship bronze medalist Alexandr Smyshlyaev, capped an extended stay in Steamboat Springs with rip-roaring runs down the ski area's Voodoo moguls course.

The finale of their training camp served as a World Cup-class exhibition, something for the rest of the skiers — younger, less experienced and, with a few Aussie exceptions, American — to aspire too.

A trio of Steamboat Springs women did a fine job of absorbing the message.

Olivia Giaccio won the day's moguls event. Anna Park was third and Avital Shimko fourth.

"My focus was just trying to go faster, on sending it a little more and being confident in the bumps," Giaccio said. "I definitely achieved that goal."

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For Giaccio, the result is another in what's been a strong run to start the season. She moved to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club from Vail over the summer and kicked off her stay in town with a strong showing at the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team selections event in December.

She was good enough there to earn a World Cup start at an event later this season at Deer Valley Resort in Utah.

Saturday, she was best of the bunch on her first run but had to up her score on her second if she was going to win.

She accomplished that just fine, finishing with a score of 85.71. That left her ahead of Australia's Jakara Anthony, in at 84.34 for second.

"Her final run was really good for her," Winter Sports Club freestyle director Bobby Aldighieri said. "She's working on some things that will help her ski faster and stay on balance more, and that was a really good run for her."

The story was different for Park, who like Giaccio is new to Steamboat this season. Park sustained an injury after a crash coming off the top air and couldn't finish her second run. Her first run score kept her on the podium, however, even though she'd already been helped off the mountain and wasn't present to see it.

Shimko, meanwhile, was fourth, logging another strong result and helping fill the top of the rankings with Steamboat women.

"I felt good, and it was fun," Shimko said. "I cleaned up my second run a little bit. It all came together, so that was good."

Kenzie Radway also made the finals from Steamboat, placing 17th.

Winter Park skier Joel Hedrick won on the men's side. Voodoo got the best of him on his second run, and he skidded off the course. He'd already set the bar so high with his first run, no competitors could touch it and that score, 89.28, allowed him to hang on to win.

He edged a pair of Aussie skiers, James Matheson in second and Cooper Woods-Topalovic in third, to win.

Steamboat's Zach Rosa had a strong day in the men's field, as well, placing eighth. Tyler Strnad also made the finals and ended up 15th.

The competition resumes, sans-Russians, Sunday at Steamboat Ski Area with a dual moguls event.

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