U.S. aerialists got into their first World Cup action of the season Saturday night in a mild snowstorm. Veterans Ryan St. Onge and Emily Cook led U.S. skiers, including Allison Treleaven, who recorded a top-10 performance in her first World Cup at the Nature Valley Freestyle Cup.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — U.S. aerialists got into their first World Cup action of the season Saturday night in a mild snowstorm. Veterans Ryan St. Onge and Emily Cook led U.S. skiers, including Allison Treleaven, who recorded a top-10 performance in her first World Cup at the Nature Valley Freestyle Cup. Versus will televise coverage Jan. 27 at 4 p.m. ET.
World Cup champion Jacqui Cooper of Australia remained unbeaten after three events this winter, earning 213.95 points with China’s Xinxin Guo runner-up at 198.21. Steve Omischl of Canada, who has been training at Lake Placid since he was 15, won the men’s competition with 243.47 points to fatten his margin as the men’s aerials leader.
St. Onge, who qualified fourth, finished sixth after losing points with a shaky landing in the final round. The lone U.S. man to reach finals, he had 218.07 points. "I’m going week by week, looking to get better each week," he said.
"I felt like we’ve been on hold the whole year until now. It’s been train, train, train, wait to compete, wait to compete, wait to compete – and finally now, go! I’m feeling good and taking steps in the right direction, and I can’t wait for the next competition," St. Onge said.
The weather was tricky with the Olympic Jumping Complex looking like a snow globe with a sky full of flurries swirling in the night lights. "Lake Placid always does such a good job, and this was particularly true tonight," St. Onge said. "There’s nothing the Organizing Committee can do about wind, but they certainly took care of everything else, and they were patient, so we could jump in the best possible conditions."
Cook also had trouble with her second landing, but echoed St. Onge in being happy to compete. "I was going for it. I wanted it and when you’re going for it, I don’t think you have to apologize for anything. I would’ve loved to stick that final landing, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t holding back," she said.
Treleaven is a former gymnast who turned to freestyle a couple of years ago when she called Nick Preston at Waterville Valley, NH, to coach her. She won a NorAm aerials meet last weekend at Mont Gabriel, Que., and came to Lake Placid with confidence from that victory, even if it was her first World Cup contest.
"It was awesome to be jumping with all these great girls," she said. "It was amazing, and for me to reach for that level to win and now to see what [World Cup] girls are doing to win. I saw what I have to do to get there myself.
"Mont Gabriel was a good experience and got me confident with my jumping, and putting two good jumps to my feet. Coming in, I was confident but I really was coming here more for the experience. It’s certainly been a good one."
The second moguls event of the weekend at Whiteface Mountain concludes the Nature Valley Freestyle Cup. The tour heads to Mont Gabriel, outside Montreal, for its next stop during its annual visit to North America. The Visa Freestyle International will be held Feb. 1-2 at Utah’s Deer Valley Resort.
2008 FIS FREESTYLE WORLD CUP
Nature Valley Freestyle Challenge No. 1
Lake Placid, N.Y. – Jan. 19, 2008
(12 made finals)
1. Steve Omischl, Canada, 243.47 points
2. Anton Kushnir, Belarus, 239.55
3. Xiaopeng Han, China, 236.60
4. Stanislav Kravchuck, Ukraine, 231.06
5. Dmitri Dashinski, Belarus, 223.98
6. Ryan St. Onge, Winter Park, CO, 218.07
7. Christopher Lambert, Switzerland, 207.83
8. Nicolas Thepaut, France, 206.26
9. Yury Zukal, Russia, 109.06
10. Oleksandr Abramenko, Ukraine, 193.34
19. Dylan Ferguson, Amesbury, MA
20. Scotty Bahrke, Park City, UT
1. Jacqui Cooper, Australia, 213.95
2. Xinxin Guo, China, 198.21
3. Evelyne Leu, Switzerland, 190.71
4. Lydia Lassila, Australia, 182.05
5. Jiao Wang, China, 157.88
6. Deidre Dionne, Canada, 151.49
7. Emily Cook, Belmont, MA, 150.64
8. Olga Volkova, Ukraine, 150.04
9. Lizzie Gardner, Australia, 149.18
10. Allison Treleaven, Fort Wayne, IN, 135.88
11. Jana Lindsey, Black Hawk, SD, 133.76