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Skiercross: Puckett second in Flaine, on to Lake Placid

American skiercross racer Casey Puckett finished second today in Flaine, France at the third World Cup race in ten days. The result marked his third career skiercross World Cup podium.American skiercross racer Casey Puckett finished second today in Flaine, France at the third World Cup race in ten days. The result marked his third career skiercross World Cup podium.

“Casey just stuck to the game plan and each position he was in he did what we discussed,” U.S. Ski Cross Head Coach Tyler Shepherd said. “He got lucky in a couple of the heats and even in the final with a couple guys crashing, but it’s the way ski cross goes sometimes.”

Joining Puckett on the podium were Tomas Kraus of the Czech Republic in first and Swede Eric Iljans in third.

The women’s race was taken by 2008 X Games champ Ophelie David of France, followed by Canadian Ashleigh McIvor finishing second and Karin Huttary of Austria in third. No American women made it to the finals.

The team will now hustle to catch flights to New York to participate in the 2009 Nature Valley Freestyle Cup in Lake Placid starting Sunday, Jan. 18. U.S. alpine legend and X Games champion Daron Rahlves will be joining the team for the event.

“It’s going to be cool to have a ski cross in the United States. Lake Placid has always put on good alpine races, which I participated in back in the day, and they can put on a good event,” Rahlves said “It’s will be the best of the best. There’s nothing scheduled on top of it and the X Games are the next week, so everyone will be there and it’s going to be tough.”

After dealing with hard and short European World Cup courses, Puckett and Shepherd are anxious to get to Whiteface Mountain following the success experienced there by the snowboardcross athletes. The event will mark the second time a World Cup skiercross race has taken place in the United States and the first time on the east coast.

“We’re looking forward to a much more flowing course with a lot more terrain that will challenge the skiers,” Shepherd said. “We’re excited to do a lot of rollers and a lot of transitions that the guys have to do that are more than just making giant slalom turns.”

The aerialists will also be in action in Lake Placid after a four-week hiatus following the season debut at Adventure Mountain, China in mid December.
“We’re really psyched to go there. For a lot of the athletes, it’s almost like a second home,” U.S Aerials Head Coach Matt Christensen said. “We’re excited to show up, we’re prepared to do well and it’s a great way to kick off the new year.”

NBC will broadcast the skiercross competition Sunday, Jan. 25 at 1:30 p.m. ET. Versus will run the aerials competition the same day at 2:00 p.m. ET as well as a skiercross special on Saturday, Jan. 31 at 3:00 p.m. ET.

The Nature Valley Freestyle Cup schedule:

Sunday, Jan. 18
9:45 a.m. – Ski cross qualifications, Whiteface Mountain
1:30 p.m. – Women’s aerials qualifications, Olympic Jumping Complex
5:15 p.m. – Men’s aerials qualifications, Olympic Jumping Complex
7:40 p.m. – Aerials finals under the lights, Olympic Jumping Complex

Monday. Jan. 19
11 a.m. – Ski cross finals, Whiteface Mountain

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