January 9, 2007
PARK CITY, UTAH - (USST News Bureau Release) - The best freestyle skiers in the world return to Deer Valley Resort this week for the Chevrolet Freestyle International that will present four World Cup competitions over three days on the 2002 Olympic venue.
Warm weather elsewhere resulted in a slew of cancellations and forced a six-week postponement of the World Championships in Italy (to March 8-11), and brought an extra event to Deer Valley. The resort, which picked up an aerials event from Lake Placid, NY, will have three nights of competition plus an afternoon of moguls skiing. The schedule:
> Thursday - Moguls in the afternoon (finals begin at 1:20 p.m. MT), aerials (from Lake Placid) at night (finals begin at 8:15 p.m.)
> Friday - Aerials at night (finals begin at 6:30 p.m.)
> Saturday - Dual moguls at night (finals begin at 5:45 p.m.)
U.S. athletes traditionally have done well at Deer Valley. A year ago, Ryan St. Onge (Steamboat Springs, CO) and local favorite Joe Pack went 1-2 in an aerials event while Toby Dawson (Vail, CO) and Michelle Roark (Winter Park, CO) won the moguls event to clinch their spots on the Olympic Team. Dawson went on to become moguls bronze medalist - and they all point to the enthusiasm and rabid support of the Park City faithful.
This season, St. Onge won the opening World Cup aerials meet of the season last month in China while Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA) - who was silver medalist at the 2002 Olympics at Deer Valley - won the season-opening World Cup moguls event last Saturday. Former World Cup aerials champ Jeret "Speedy" Peterson (Boise, ID) caught his first podium of the season Sunday in Quebec.
The two sites at Deer Valley - the steep, moguls run on Champion and the aerials kickers and landing hill on White Owl - have been worked on for a month with crews firing up snowmaking machinery to supplement the generous natural snowfall this winter.
"They've been at it every day and into the night," said Calum Clark, events manager for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, which oversees the competitions. "By the time we get to the actual contests starting Thursday, Deer Valley's crew will included nearly 20 workers to build and maintain the jumps and landing hill for the aerials and another 25-man crew to build the "air" jumps and hand-shape the moguls on Champion.
"They'll have more than 1,800 man hours on the aerials jumps and the same amount of time for the moguls course," Clark said. In addition, some 4,000 feet of safety fencing line both sides of the moguls in double layers to ensure safety.
With NBC and Versus (formerly OLN) televising coverage from the four events in three days (Jan. 20 at 3 p.m. ET for NBC, Jan. 21 at 5 p.m. ET for Versus), there will be six cameras and a POV (point of view) camera at each location. Upwards of two miles of audio and video cable have been laid down for TV production.
The timing system also will include additional equipment to provide live streaming of results to the Internet.
To watch the course construction over the last week, click on: http://www.time-science.com/timescience/projects_usski.asp.
"This is like the Olympics all over again. Just about everyone who competed in Torino last winter will be in Deer Valley this week," Clark said. "It's going to be a very exciting time."