Grichin, Camplin win freestyle aerials during first World Cup event in China{mosimage}USSA — World Cup skiing came to the most populous nation on Earth Saturday when the first of two aerials events was staged in Harbin, China, about 750 miles northeast of Beijing.

Belarussian Alexei Grichin and women’s World Cup leader Alisa Camplin of Australia won the events, which were held in swirling light snow, while Joe Pack and Kelly Hilliman each finished fourth for the top U.S. results.

“Pretty tough conditions today between the snow and the spotty winds,” said U.S. head coach Jeff Wintersteen. “We only had an inch or two but it was blowing up all day … and there’s coal in the snow from their heating system, so it was tough all day to gauge the speeds [on the in-run]. This was the first World Cup they’ve held in China and they’ve improved the site since we were here last year.”

For Pack, who missed most of the preseason with back and knee injuries, it equaled his best result of the season, which came in the second aerials contest during the Nature Valley Freestyle Cup last month in Lake Placid, N.Y. For Hilliman, it was the best result of her career.

“I’m feeling better each week,” Pack said. “The wind was tricky in the [finals] … swirling and then [it] seemed to slow down halfway through things. It was tough.”

Pack did a full, double-full, full [four twists, three flips] and a lay double-full, full [also a quad-twisting jump with a triple flip].

Added Hilliman, “The weather was bad and we [she and Kate Reed, who was fifth] tried to take advantage of it. I did a full-full [two twists, two flips] and then a lay-full [single twist, double flip] in finals.”

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