Sunday, February 06, 2011

Freestyle Ski World Championships

The past four days have brought a LOT of cool skiing to Park City and Deer Valley. Unfortunately, between work and weather, I missed a lot of it. There were several events between the two resorts:
  • Half pipe - skiing out of the 28' pipe and doing exciting twists and turns before dropping back in. (pictures from 2009)
  • Slopestyle - skiing along a series of massive jumps. They are in the air for a long, long way, spinning as they go. This week was the very first World Championship for Slopestyle.
  • Skier Cross - ski down a course with jumps and banked turns. The excitement is that 5+ skiers are on the course at once. (just started as an Olympic event in 2010)
  • Aerials - jump off a steep ramp, doing huge twists and flips (Olympic event)
  • Moguls - run down a set of big bumps, hit a jump, more bumps, another jump, and race to the finish. This is the Olympic event where it looks like the skiers' knees are rapid pistons.
We have had a number of World Cup events here during the past few years, but these were the World Championships, which are the biggest events in a non-Olympic year.

The only event I got to photograph was a real let down. Skier Cross can be a blast to watch because you get fast action, turns and jumps, and all the good wrecks of a NASCAR race. The only day I could go was for the qualifiers. Little did I know that the qualifiers were done with one competitor at a time racing against the clock. OK to watch, but boring by comparison. Where were the roller derby body slams?

I like how they land a jump about two feet from the beginning of a big sharp turn. It makes for some awkward landings.

So, not many pictures, but the big news is that one of our Park City locals, Alex Schlopy, won the first ever Men's Slopestyle World Championship. Pretty cool! A few other Utahns have medaled in different events but the Canadians are kicking everyone's ass. Last I heard, they had 7 out of 10 gold medals.

They are packing everything up now. Wish they would let us run the Skier Cross course before they plow it into the slope. Of course, with all the liability issues, there is just no hope.
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