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truebluefan 12-14-2007 11:46 AM

Roberts 5th in Tignes, Leads U.S.
TIGNES, France (Dec. 13) - Six U.S. moguls skiers made finals Thursday as the 2008 World Cup season opened in soft snow. World Championships medalist Nate Roberts (Park City, UT) led U.S. athletes, finishing fifth on a course next to the hill where American Donna Weinbrecht won the first Olympic moguls gold medal in 1992.

A snowstorm early in the week left a meter of snow in the French Alps around Tignes and nearby Val d'Isere. Cold during the night helped the course set-up a bit but it was not the routine icy run for many World Cup events.

Canadian Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau, the current world champion, and Austrian Margaret Marbler won their respective competitions. Rousseau had 25.04 points with Finn Tapio Luusua second at 24.41 while Marbler's 24.24 easily topped Aiko Uemura of Japan (23.51).

Roberts, who took the bronze medal behind Rousseau in moguls at Worlds in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, led three Americans into finals (i.e., top 12 from qualifying). He received 23.98 points on his final run. Sho Kashima (Zephyr Cove, NV) was ninth at 23.60 and Dave Babic (Washington, VT) was 12th.

In the women's contest, Shelly Robertson (Reno, NV) was seventh with 22.92, Michelle Roark (Winter Park, CO) eighth with 22.78 and Heather McPhie (Bozeman, MT) 12th.

"It was good to get started," Head Coach Scott Rawles said. "The young skiers learned some lessons today, and that's always good. Nate stepped up and Shelly skied pretty well. Now we have a month until the next competition, so we'll train, enjoy the holidays, have a mini-camp before Lake Placid and be ready to go when the tour comes to North America."

The moguls schedule resumes next month in Lake Placid, NY, with the Nature Valley Freestyle Cup Jan. 18-20. The World Cup tour will also visit Utah's Deer Valley Resort Feb. 1-2 for the Visa Freestyle International.

USSA Selection Events will be staged during the next week - moguls and dual moguls at Winter Park, CO, and aerials at Utah Olympic Park - to fill additional World Cup start spots for Deer Valley and Lake Placid.

Tignes, FRA - Dec. 13, 2007
Men's Moguls (12 made finals)
1. Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau, Canada, 25.04 points
2. Tapio Luusau, Finland, 24.41
3. Alexandre Bilodeau, Canada, 24.36
4. Guilbaut Colas, France, 24.05
5. Nate Roberts, Park City, UT, 23.98
9. Sho Kashima, Zephyr Cove, NV, 23.60
12. Dave Babic, Washington, VT, 22.78
13. Jay Bowman-Kirigin, Salt Lake City
19. Holt Haga, Boise, ID
38. Bryon Wilson, Butte, MT
Women's Moguls (12 made finals)
1. Margaret Marbler, Austria, 24.24
2. Aiko Uemura, Japan, 23.51
3. Kristi Richards, Canada, 23.43
4. Miki Ito, Japan, 23.15
5. Nikola Sudova, Czech Republic, 23.11
7. Shelly Robertson, Reno, NV, 22.92
8. Michelle Roark, Winter Park, CO, 22.78
12. Heather McPhie, Bozeman, MT, 22.38
17. Kayla Snyderman, Winchester, MA
20. Jillian Vogtli, Ellicotville, NY

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