FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Returns to Deer Valley



WC Crowd_1756The world’s best aerial and mogul skiers return to Utah this winter to compete in Deer Valley’s 2014 FIS Visa Freestyle International World Cup. Held January 8 – 11, 2014, the World Cup features two disciplines: moguls and aerials. This marks the 15th year of international and elite competitions hosted at Deer Valley, including the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, two World Championships and 12 World Cups making the resort an esteemed venue for the freestyle community.

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“We couldn’t be more excited to have the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup return to Deer Valley for another year,” said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager for Deer Valley Resort. “Champion and White Owl ski runs prove to be the perfect venue for these world-class skiers, as well as for the thousands of spectators that turn out for this favorite annual event.”

Expected to compete in the 2014 World Cup are two Deer Valley-sponsored athletes and ambassadors, Bryon and Brad Wilson. With longtime roots in Park City, this brotherly duo, both of whom are members of the US Freestyle Ski Team, have accomplished a lot in their short tenure as Ski Team athletes. Bryon won the bronze medal at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C. and Brad has climbed his way up the World Cup rankings. Together, the two are looking forward to furthering their success on the slopes of Deer Valley Resort.

Eric Schramm Photography 2013

“It’s an honor to support the Wilson brothers on their path to World Cup and Olympic gold,” said Wheaton. “Bryon and Brad are extremely talented athletes and great ambassadors for freestyle skiing. It means a great deal that they have chosen to represent Deer Valley and consider us their home training mountain.”

The World Cup celebration will kick off with a free concert featuring Big Head Todd and the Monsters on lower Main Street in historic Park City on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, from 7 – 9 p.m., with a fireworks show immediately following.

_MG_8727All competitions will be held at night under the lights at Deer Valley. Men’s and women’s mogul events are scheduled on the Champion ski run on Thursday, January 9, and Saturday, January 11. Men’s and women’s aerial events will be held on the White Owl ski run on Friday, January 10. Finals for all disciplines will take place in the evening, with a fireworks display concluding each night. Each discipline will also be filmed and televised on NBC and NBC Sports Network airing Saturday, January 25, 2014.

 

All events during the 2014 World Cup are spectator-friendly and free to the public. A complete schedule of events can be found on the Deer Valley Website here.

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Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all of the Deer Valley social media platforms. Use the hashtag #DeerValleyWC to share your videos, pictures and comments with other fans. Get excited about this years event by checking out the recap from last year here.

 

 

Olypmic (Anniversary) Fever!

I won’t reveal what Ski Dad and I found when we reached into the pockets of our volunteer jackets, last worn when we helped out with the 2002 Olympic Winter Games…10 years ago. But I will tell you what we found when we put them on–-our Olympic Spirit. Yep, we geeked out, geared up, and got the kids psyched to check out the Olympic celebration on Main Street, before the Visa FIS Freestyle International opening night concert.

And I must have given off a very spirited vibe, because a very nice lady and her daughter asked for my autograph. Unwittingly, I gave them the impression that I was an athlete. Which cracked up Ski Dad to no end.

There were, however, plenty of athlete sightings—and lots of other former volunteers who were similarly geeked-out. Prizes were conferred upon the most spirited folks in the audience. And I was thrilled when my friend Stacey, a terrific teacher at Parley’s Park Elementary, won two lift tickets to Deer Valley for her head-to-toe Olympic ensemble. Heck, her purse had an American Flag on it, and she wore a cowbell—if she didn’t win, it would have been a crime. (And how psyched am I, Stacey, that we can get out and make some turns together?).

Another highlight, for me, was running into my friend, Missy—one of the first people I met when I moved to Utah, who worked for SLOC. My younger son knows her as “Adam’s mom,” and I think we both felt the time warp, realizing that the Games were practically a lifetime ago (B.K.E…Before the Kiddie Era…for both of us).

And in spite of the fact that they weren’t born when the Salt Lake games happened, our kids seemed to get a kick out of the whole scene—and given the fact that the festivities went on well past bedtime, I was impressed with their staying power. They even rallied for a quick stop at our favorite sushi place on Main Street. As if the snow that began to dump on us wasn’t gift enough!

A Marriage Made in Ski Heaven!

Deer Valley Resort and Freestyle Skiing share a very special kinship. Besides being a central venue during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Deer Valley has – with only two exceptions – hosted yearly Freestyle World Cup events since the beginning of the new millennium. Already in 2003, the resort hosted the World Freestyle Ski Championships and this early February, Deer Valley saw the culmination of this special relation crowned, as it hosted this world event for the second time, an assignment at the measure of Deer Valley’s excellence.

This year, Ski Cross (premiered here in 2008,) was added to the series of events and was contained into an ideal, contiguous and complete freestyle stadium, including both Moguls and Aerials. This unique site configuration for viewing the entire show, combined with the perfectionism that has always been Deer Valley Resort’s hallmark, has made it the freestyle skiing capital of the world and this might be another excellent reason for timing, if you can, your next ski vacation with an upcoming Deer Valley Freestyle World Cup, as competition schedules always allow to combine day skiing with afternoon or evening events watching.

 Like many, I love freestyle skiing because it embodies a skier’s expression of his or her on-snow dreams and fantasies; unlike the regimented and sometimes ossified sides of its alpine cousin, freestyle skiing still has a wide open potential for creativity on snow and for pushing even further the envelope of what’s possible. This remains true, even though the athletes’ technical level keeps on growing by leaps and bounds, in all the events that I have watched during these recent championships.

What’s amazing though, is that unlike alpine skiing, in which differences between athletes are often hard to pinpoint, the vast and limitless register of options given to each participant remains wide open and lets the spectator see and appreciate the various styles between competitors and this bodes well for the sport future. Ski Cross is also maturing and showing that it can hold its own as a permanent fixture into the world of freestyle skiing while offering a more diverse and thrilling vision of what’s possible on the snow. Halfpipe continues shooting skiers back and forth, higher up in the air, giving them more time and tricks to impress all of us…

I wasn’t able to see the Slopestyle event, but heard it was one of a kind (another one!) and can only hope that it will earn a lasting spot in the family. This said, I do have a favorite, and it’s moguls. Why? Perhaps I can do it without too many restrictions and can still adapt it to my dwindling technical abilities, slowing reflexes, and practice it on the many runs Deer Valley Resort offers in permanence to its guests. The event that in my view captures the best of freestyle remains the Dual Moguls and was the crowning conclusion of this year’s World Championships. It combines skills and mental pressure, repeated and amplified four times in the space of a short evening, and takes the very best out of the greatest champions. I must say that even though I thought I was cheering the whole evening, the performances I saw left me mentally speechless!