MONT TREMBLANT, Que. Jan. 11, 2003 (USSA)--Olympic medalist and World Cup leader Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA) braved biting, sub-zero cold Saturday to win her second moguls contest of the season while teammate Laurel Shanley (Olympic Valley, CA) notched the first podium of her career. In the men's event, defending World Cup champ Jeremy Bloom (Loveland, CO) earned his first podium of the season, finishing second and putting himself in a position to earn a World Championships berth.
Bahrke, who has won twice and been second twice in four meets this season, performed a heli and heli-X for 26.49 points. Russian Marina Cherkasova was second and Shanley took third with 25.36, only undredth of a point out of second (Ellicotville, NY) in sixth and Shelly Robertson (Reno, NV) - also broke into the top 10.
A short time later, local favorite Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau, one of the more popular skiers in the World Cup tour, earned his first World Cup victory. Rousseau, who missed the 2002 Olympics after a neck injury in training in St. Lary, France, in December 2001, received 26.99 points to 26.67 for Bloom, who is returning to skiing fulltime after competing through the fall for the University of Colorado football team, which went to (and lost in) the Alamo Bowl. Bloom was fourth in his first event last month in Ruka, Finland.
Three other U.S. men - Travis Mayer (Steamboat Springs, CO) in fourth, Toby Dawson (Vail, CO) in fifth and David Babic (Washington, VT) in sixth - were in the top 10 while Travis Cabral (South Lake Tahoe, CA) was 11th in the field of 45 men.
In the fifth moguls event of the schedule, Olympic silver medalists Bahrke and Travis Mayer (Steamboat Springs, CO) retained their yellow bibs designating the World Cup leader.
BAHRKE: "I SKIED REALLY WELL"
"I skied as fast as I could. I skied really well," Bahrke said of her run in the -23 C. (-1 F.) weather. "That run was definitely in my better-to-good range. I definitely skied well. I think I went a little smaller on my bottom air but I think it's an altogether good package."
Her top heli, a 360-degree rotation, jump-started things. "That one was giving me a lot of trouble this week. Then my bottom air I just checked it a little too much, but I still got the exit; I landed it and skied away clean.
"I has really tough training the first two days here and didn't ski much over the break, so I was a little nervous," she explained. "I worked on it a lot at night, doing it in my head over and over again, and getting it just perfect. Then I came out today and skied really well. I like to do my runs over in my head."
Shanley completed a twister spread and double-twister spread. "I wasn't too nervous here," she said. "I knew I could just nail the run if I just stuck with my plan to stick it and go for it. I was pretty early (in the running order) out of the gate my first run, so I knew I had to go for it. And that's what I did."
The course gave her confidence, she said. "When I started skiing the first run, it just felt right for me. I don't what it was but it just felt awesome."
BLOOM REALIZED HIS LOVE OF SKIING
Bloom said he kept some pressure away by not having high expectations. He clicked with a Heli-X spread and double-twister spread. "It was good. In Finland, it was 'Ready, set, go!' ...Here, it was good as I had a basis, having been training on snow for a week before the competition. That helps...
"I'm just trying to push the limits, scare myself and go a little bigger each time. Sometimes, it's going to work, sometimes it's not but I'm having a lot of fun," he said.
He survived a shaky landing on his bottom air. "I landed and had a lot of speed and that's where I made my mistake," he said. "I felt that if I hadn't made that mistake, I would have had it. I'll be back next week (at the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Grand National in Lake Placid)."
Returning with a fourth and a second-place result after missing most of prreseason training have Bloom excited and happy with his skiing. "I'm so happy. It's the most fun I've ever had skiing," he said. "Being away from it for so long because of football showed me how I really love the sport. I'm just having fun."
The weekend, which starts the traditional North American swing for the World Cup troupe, concludes Sunday with aerials.
FIS FREESTYLE WORLD CUP
Mont Tremblant, QUE - Jan. 11
B.F. Goodrich Moguls (12 made finals)
1. Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau, Canada, 26.99
2. Jeremy Bloom, Loveland, CO, 26.67
3. Tapio Luusua, Finland, 26.29 (Wins tiebreaker - speed)
4. Travis Mayer, Steamboat Springs, CO, 26.29
5. Toby Dawson, Vail, CO, 26.23
6. David Babic, Washington, VT, 26.07
7. Luke Westerlund, Breckenridge, CO, 25.74
11. Travis Cabral, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 23.71
19. Chris Hernandez, South Lake Tahoe, CA
21. Fred Mooney, Tabernash, CO
28. Nate Roberts, Park City, UT
1. Shannon Bahrke, Tahoe City, CA, 26.49
2. Marina Cherkasova, Russia, 25.37
3. Laurel Shanley, Olympic Valley, CA, 25.36
4. Aiko Uemura, Japan, 25.35
5. Stephanie St. Pierre, Canada, 25.17
6. Jillian Vogtli, Ellicotville, NY, 24.50
10. Shelly Robertson, Reno, NV, 21.80
14. Michelle Roark, Denver, CO
18. Emiko Torito, Englewood, CO
26. Hannah Kearney, Norwich, VT
World Cup points (Best 4 of 5 results)
1. Mayer, 368
2. Dawson, 360
3. Rousseau, 316 (Leads on tiebreaker)
4. Scott Bellavance, Canada, 316
5. Cabral, 312
9. Babic, 276
14. Westerlund, 200
16. Mike Friedberg, Boulder, CO, 196
17. Bloom, 184
20. Brady Johnson, Littleton, CO
33. Hernandez, 28
1. Bahrke, 392 points
2. Kari Traa, Norway, 372
3. Margaret Marbler, Austria, 352
4. Roark, 316
5. Cherkasova, 312
10. Robertson, 244
14. Vogtli, 216
19. Torito, 176
21. Justine Van Houte, Telluride, CO, 160
25. Shanley, 92