January 3, 2007
MONT GABRIEL, QUEBEC - (USST News Bureau Release) - Defending moguls world champion Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT) and her U.S. teammates will open their World Cup season this weekend at Mont Gabriel Ski Area, west of Montreal.
The freestyle World Cup schedule resumes this weekend for aerialists but moguls skiers will be in their first event after two competitions that were canceled last month in France because of poor snow conditions. The schedule calls for moguls Saturday and aerials Sunday before everyone heads to Deer Valley Resort in Utah for the Chevrolet Freestyle International Jan. 11-13.
"It's surreal that we're only starting now," Kearney said Wednesday night. "I was ready - we were ready - to go a month ago. Then we got teased, but the events were canceled, so we got to train some more, and now we're coming off the Christmas break.
"It's been a little frustrating," she said.
Head Coach Scott Rawles, who had to cancel airplane tickets to France the day before he was to lead a dozen U.S. athletes to Tignes for the Dec. 14 scheduled opener, echoed her. "I think everybody's looking forward to getting this thing going. Not having any World Cups in December was tough, but everybody's pretty psyched to go now."
One problem with losing the events, he said, is how it takes away a moguls event and a dual moguls event for selection purposes in choosing the World Championships team Jan. 23-28 in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy.
"It'll be quite a dogfight for spots and it should be really interesting," Rawles said. "Normally, we have a few events under our belt by this time, the A and B teams would have two or three starts by now, so without a doubt it increases the importance of skiing well in these North American World Cups."
Twelve American moguls skiers are scheduled to start at Mont Gabriel: Men - Reigning world champion Nate Roberts (Park City, UT), Dave Babic (Washington, VT), David Digravio (Farmington, ME), Sho Kashima (Zephyr Cove, NV), Jay Bowman-Kirigin (Salt Lake City) and Michael Morse (Duxbury, MA); Women - Kearney, Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA), Michelle Roark (Winter Park, CO), Jillian Vogtli (Ellicotville, NY), Heather McPhie (Bozeman, MT) and Shelly Robertson (Reno, NV).
U.S. aerialists include: Men - Ryan St. Onge (Steamboat Springs, CO), who won the season opener in China; former World Cup champion Jeret "Speedy" Peterson (Boise, ID) and Scott Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA); Women - Lacy Schnoor (Draper, UT).
"This will be a good comp for them. Lacy and Scotty skied well during the Selections events before Christmas...and Ryan and Speedy are anxious to get back at it," said Aerials Head Coach Matt Christensen. He and Coach Brian Currutt arrived Tuesday to help shape the aerials kickers.