11 Set for Moguls Opener in Tignes
TIGNES, France (Dec. 12) - Eleven U.S. skiers are ready to go Thursday as the moguls side of the 2008 FIS Freestyle World Cup schedule opens with new snow in Tignes. "We're all looking forward to finally getting started tomorrow after a long summer of good work," Moguls Head Coach Scott Rawles said.
Six U.S. men and five women will be competing. More than a meter of snow fell earlier in the week, a far cry from last season when snowless slopes forced cancellation of the traditional moguls opener in Tignes. The competition will take place alongside the 1992 Olympic course where freestyle made its Olympic debut with Donna Weinbrecht winning the first gold medal. Later that same day, Nelson Carmichael took bronze in the men's contest.
"We arrived Sunday and it was pouring rain in Geneva," Rawles said. "But, as we drove up here, the snow banks got higher and higher, and it dumped [snow] all day Monday. We've got three, maybe four feet of snow."
Starting for the U.S. Ski Team will be: Men - Nate Roberts (Park City, UT), Dave Babic (Washington, VT), Jay Bowman-Kirigin (Salt Lake City), Sho Kashima (Zephyr Cove, NV), Bryon Wilson (Butte, MT) and, making his World Cup debut, U.S. moguls champ Holt Haga (Boise, ID); Women - Shelly Robertson (Reno, NV), Michelle Roark (Winter Park, CO), Jillian Vogtli (Park City, UT), Heather McPhie (Bozeman, MT) and Kayla Snyderman (Winchester, MA). McPhie and Bowman-Kirigin were the 2007 Rookies of the Year, as selected by coaches on all national teams competing on the World Cup.
Olympic and World Championships medalist and former World Cup champion Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA) will not compete. She injured a knee Tuesday in training and will return home with the Ski Team after the competition for further medical evaluation, Rawles said.
The World Cup returns to North America next month with two stops in the United States. The Nature Valley Freestyle Cup will be held Jan. 18-20 in Lake Placid, NY, and the Visa Freestyle International Feb. 1-2 at Utah's Deer Valley Resort.