Eight Americans in Deer Valley moguls final; Bloom, Kearney out{mosimage} DEER VALLEY, Utah Toby Dawson and former World Cup champions Travis Cabral and Michelle Roark led four U.S. men and four U.S. women out of the qualifying round Thursday at Deer Valley resort and into Friday night’s final round of the Nature Valley Freestyle Challenge as Olympic qualifying headed into its final two weekends for American athletes.

Dawson led the men with 25.47 points, taking first on a tiebreaker with Canadian Alexandre Bilodeau; Cabral was fourth (25.27) with Nate Roberts a skiing ambassador for Deer Valley and the 2005 moguls world champion eighth and Dave Babic 14th.

Earlier, back-to-back World Cup champion Jennifer Heil of Canada led the women’s qualifying at 25.11 while Roark, the 1999 dual moguls champion, was fourth (23.71), Emiko Torito was 11th and Eliza Outtrim in her first World Cup was 14th.

Defending World Cup champion Jeremy Bloom and Hannah Kearney, the reigning moguls world champ, failed to move out of the qualifying run. Both punched tickets to Torino at the U.S. Olympic Trials held Dec. 30 at Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

An overnight storm of up to seven or eight inches created soft under-footing for the skiers on the longest course – and one of the steepest – on the World Cup tour with the highest elevation, very similar to the Olympic run in Sauze d’Oulx near Sestriere.

“This was a tough day – the longest course on the World Cup,” coach Liz McIntyre said, “and we saw some outstanding skiing, especially from our athletes. But this is like the fourth inning of a ball game, we have five more innings to go” before moguls finals Friday night under the lights at DV’s Champion run.

Friday will bring a rare doubleheader of World Cup action with the Nature Valley Freestyle Challenge aerials during the day and then Chevrolet Freestyle International moguls at night. Saturday, the visit concludes with the Chevrolet Freestyle International aerials at night. At the Olympics next month in Torino, Italy, both moguls and aerials will be nighttime events, the first time they will have been held at night in the Olympics.

The Nature Valley Freestyle Cup events Jan. 20-22 in Lake Placid, N.Y. – two moguls contests and one aerials event – will be the final opportunity for skiers to qualify for the 14-member Olympic Team, which will be named Jan. 25 at Deer Valley.

NBC will televise coverage Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.

Courtesy USSA

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