PENTICTON, B.C. (Feb. 24) - Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA) finished second Saturday in a snowy World Cup moguls contest, leading four U.S. women into finals, while Jay Bowman-Kirigin (Salt Lake City) had the top men's showing, finishing sixth in the last event before the Freestyle World Championships Team is selected.
Olympic and defending World Cup champion Jennifer Heil of Canada, who also has clinched the 2007 title, won the women's competition - her fourth straight victory - with 26.99 points and Bahrke had 26.78. Shelly Robertson (Reno, NV) made it two Americans in the top five, finishing fifth (25.98); in addition, Heather McPhie (Bozeman, MT) was 10th and Jillian Vogtli (Ellicotville, NY) 11th.
Dale Begg-Smith of Australia, also the Olympic champion and reigning World Cup champ, clinched the men's title as he narrowly won with 27.41, topping Canadian Alexandre Bilodeau by .08. Bowman-Kirigin landed his first off-axis, 1080 (triple spin) in World Cup competition and finished with 26.71 while moguls world champion Nate Roberts (Park City, UT) was 12th.
"It snowed all day, but it was only a couple of inches - not a major dump, and it was cold (upper teens), which we haven't seen much this season...so the conditions were good. We had some fog in and out, but that was no real problem, either," said Head Coach Scott Rawles.
Bahrke's two jumps were a heli (360-degree rotation) and blackflip with an iron cross. "Shannon skied great, got back on the horse after a couple of disappointing competitions...and Shelly was outstanding, too," Rawles said.
"We saw a lot of good skiing - the snow made it a soft course, and it's an easy course. It's not steep, the transitions into the jumps are long and so we a lot of good scores. But while it's easy, there's not much room if you make a mistake to recover. There's no room for error. Jay did a great job with his 1080 and Nate probably had the biggest jump of the day on his bottom 'air' and if he'd been a foot to the left he would've stuck it."
The World Cup schedule at Apex concludes Sunday with aerials. U.S. coaches and officials are expected to name the Worlds team in the coming week. The World Championships, postponed from mid-January at snowless Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, will be staged March 6-11.
For complete results: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?cal_suchsector=FS&event_id=20487.