Join Date: Sep 2007
Roberts, Torito Podium in Dual Moguls
MARIANSKE LAZNE, Czech Republic (March 1) - The U.S. Ski Team's Nate Roberts (Park City, UT) and Emiko Torito (Denver) skied to the podium Saturday night in dual moguls at the FIS Freestyle World Cup in Marianske Lazne. Roberts hit his first top three of the year finishing second, while Torito, a winner in January, was third in the women's event.
France's Guilbaut Colas won, narrowing the gap to World Cup leader Dale Begg-Smith of Australia to just 15 points with three moguls events remaining. Aiko Uemura of Japan won her second straight competition and took over the World Cup lead. Torito moved into fourth in the standings.
Roberts Takes Canadian Route to Finals
Roberts, who qualified fifth, knocked off three consecutive Canadians, including qualifying leader Alexandre Bilodeau, to make it to the finals. He lost against Colbas, the winner in the Deer Valley duals a year ago.
"I probably skied my best run of the night [in the finals]," said Roberts, the 2005 moguls World Champion. "I didn't feel any pressure through the middle and skied very well against him there. The bottom air you need to take a little right with the conditions as soft as they are. I went a little straight and almost front-sided the first bump. I had a little leg slip and that's what cost me."
Roberts got to the finals with a bit of revenge in the semis. "Bilodeau took me out in front of friends and family at Deer Valley this year so that gave me a little extra fire," said Roberts. "In duals anything can happen and it was my night."
"Nate's the savvy veteran on the team," said Moguls Coach Garth Hager. "He might have a bad contest here and there, but he's always in it and you can never count him out of it. He's always knocking."
Torito Comes Back in Consolation Round
Mistakes in the semifinals cost Torito a shot at the win, losing to Sylvia Kerfoot of Canada. "I had no idea what Sylvia was doing. I knew I drifted on my bottom air (backflip) and it wasn't a perfect run," said Torito. "In duals, though, there is always a chance. But I guess she beat me pretty bad. In my mind I thought I had a chance."
Torito was able to get back on track in the consolation round, taking third with a win over Alizee Boulangeat of France. "It was a good clean run," she said. "It was pretty smooth, more so than my semifinal run, so I was very happy with it."
"I would say that she's probably one of our strongest skiers right now," said Hager. "It's just the fact that she'll ski any course and ski it well. She doesn't question anything. She's a true skier and has fun doing it."
Weather Tricky but Athletes Adapt
Weather was a big factor for the event, with only a band of thin snow on the course. "It's been the most interesting World Cup I've been a part of over the past five years," said Roberts. "The course is the shortest one I've ever skied. The weather - it has been pouring rain and maybe only six inches of snow on the course. Everybody needed to adapt and I'm lucky that I came out ahead of the game this week."
Torito shook off the weather problems and was excited about the event. "This is one of the biggest crowds in Europe," she said. "I was very impressed with the turn-out and the fans were great. It was a really nice setting as a whole and the town is beautiful. It was pouring rain and lightning in the morning so we got lucky that it was better in the afternoon. I'm typically not a duals skier so I have no complaints."
All in all, Hager was pleased with the performance. "Everybody skied pretty well," he said. "It was an easy course and there were some faults, but nobody said anything about it and just skied. We had some tough draws and most people skied to their potential. In duals anything can happen."
The U.S. Ski Team had four women make the final round of 16, with Torito the only one advancing. Three men made the finals, with only Roberts and Pat Deneen (Cle Elum, WA) advancing. Deneen lost to the eventual winner Colas in the quarter final.
Tribute by Roberts
The podiums by Roberts and Torito were part of a blockbuster Saturday for U.S. ski and snowboarding athletes worldwide, including an aerial win in Moscow by Emily Cook (Belmont, MA), a sweep of snowboardcross in Lake Placid by Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, VT) and Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, MI) and a podium by cross country sprinter Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) in Finland. Like many other athletes, Roberts saluted the late Paul Robbins, a longtime correspondent for the Team. "I just want to say to the family at USSA that this goes out to Paul Robbins who passed away last Saturday."
The World Cup moguls circuit now heads north to Are, Sweden for a pair of events next weekend, before finishing at the World Cup Finals at Valmalenco near Bormio, Italy.
FIS Freestyle World Cup
Marianske Lazne, Czech Republic - March 1, 2008
1. Guilbaut Colas, France
2. Nate Roberts, Park City, UT
3. Alexandre Bilodeau, Canada
4. Andrey Volkov, Russia
8. Pat Denee, Cle Elum, WA
16. Holt Haga, Boise, ID
21. Bryon Wilson, Butte, MT
24. David Babic, Washington, VT
25. Jimmy Discoe, Ridgway, CO
42. Landon Gardner, Missoula, MT
1.Aiko Uemura, Japan
2. Sylvia Kerfoot, Canada
3. Emiko Torito, Denver
4. Alizee Boulangeat, France
15. Michelle Roark, Denver
16. Shelly Robertson, Reno, NV
18. Kayla Snyderman, Winchester, MA