Deer Valley Resort Welcomes Elite Athletes at Fis Freestyle Ski World Cup

Deer Valley Resort is pleased to once again host the world’s best aerial and mogul skiers for the 2015 Visa Freestyle International. For the 13th consecutive year, Deer Valley’s slopes will cater to elite athletes competing in aerials, moguls and dual moguls January 7-10, 2015.

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Hosting FIS Freestyle Ski World Cups, along with the 2002 Winter Olympic Games and two World Championships, has garnered the resort a reputation as a preeminent venue for the freestyle community.

“FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup has become a time-honored, crowd-pleasing event that athletes from around the world, visiting guests to Utah and Park City locals look forward to each year,” said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort. “We look forward to another amazing display of athletic ability on our slopes.”

Expected to compete in the 2015 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 and Brad has climbed his way up the World Cup rankings. Together, the two are looking forward to furthering their success at Deer Valley.

Eric Schramm Photography 2013

All World Cup competitions will be held at night under the lights at Deer Valley Resort. Men’s and women’s aerial events will be held on White Owl ski run Thursday, January 8, 2015. Men’s and women’s mogul and dual mogul events are scheduled on Champion ski run Friday, January 9 and Saturday, January 10, 2015. 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 the following week.

The FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup celebration will kick off with a free concert by Chris Robinson Brotherhood, led by front man Chris Robinson (of The Black Crowes), on Lower Main Street in Historic Park City Wednesday, January 7 from 7 to 9 pm, with a fireworks show immediately following.

All events during the 2015 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup are spectator-friendly and free to the public. A complete schedule of events can be found at http://www.deervalley.com/WhatToDo/Winter/FISWorldCup. For an enhanced spectator experience, Freestyle Feast VIP tickets are available for Aerial, Moguls and Dual Moguls competitions. Tickets provide special access to the on-hill events, a gourmet buffet and beverages in the VIP tent and a commemorative gift. Tickets are $100 per person, per event and can be purchased by calling 435-645-6510. Quantities are limited.

For more information on the 2015 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup visit DeerValley.com 

Olympic Fever!

Did I ever tell you about the time I earned the nickname “Rocket Girl?” True story—but it wasn’t about my lightening-fast skiing (which, yes, is a skill I have in my quiver, now, thanks to some excellent coaching in my Women on Wednesdays Ski Clinic. But more on that, soon).

In the 2002 Winter Games, Jeff and I volunteered at Utah Olympic Park, in food and beverage services. (For those of you who were in the volunteer corps, we wore the blue coat.)  Jeff was mostly in the office trailer, managing the other volunteers. I, however, was driving those fun AWD buggies around, loaded with Pop-Tarts and Nature Valley bars. And, one fine evening, during the ski jumping competitions, I wore the Rocket Pack. This, friends, is a metal tank in an insulated backpack. It has a dispenser for plastic cups on the side, and a hose with a soda-gun type trigger-dispenser at one end. It was filled with hot chocolate. It weighed—well, a lot. It was, conservatively, about half as long as I am tall. Since I may be 5’1” in boots, this isn’t necessarily huge…until I put the thing on my back and went to my assigned post. I was to climb the stairs next to the jumps and serve cocoa to the judges. Hilarity ensued.

The fact is, that volunteer experience has had a lasting impact—we are, forever, “Olympics People.” I think most people in Park City, who were here, then, feel that way, too. So, as the Olympics kicked off, I got excited all over again. Truth be told, I started to feel Olympic Fever at The FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Competition at Deer Valley, last month.

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Just approaching the venue, my friend Miriam and I were reminding each other, and explaining to my friend Kathy, what Deer Valley Resort looked like during the 2002 games. Actual stadium bleachers at the base of the venue, plus, SRO areas. Jeff and I rang cowbells as we watched the freestyle skiers throw down amazing tricks.

Even at the decidedly smaller-scale World Cup event, it’s obvious that there is a ton of work that goes into creating it. I wanted to know more, so I caught up with a few of the folks who make World Cup happen. Here, some fun facts about World Cup from Jim Bragg, Mountain Venue Services Manager, and Chris Cowan, Mountain Venue Services Assistant Manager. Study up and impress your fellow viewers with these tidbits:

It takes a village to run a venue. While there are many volunteers that work on World Cup at Deer Valley, It took about 1,200 staff hours for “Field of Play” set-up, maintenance, operations and teardown. This doesn’t include the snowmaking crew, 151 volunteers and a bevy of other “unseen” heroes that make the event happen.

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Course specs are, well, quite specific. The moguls course, per FIS regulations, has a maximum length of 300 meters. Champion runs approximately 280m. “The course the athletes compete on is defined by 10 control gates on each sideline, and is about 10 meters wide,” notes Jim.

Athletes choose their own line. “There are four ‘zipper lines’ the athletes can choose from to do their run,” says Chris.”

Building a course requires art, science, machine and muscle. “The mogul course is brought to grade and the bumps and jumps are roughed in using a winch cat. Due to the steepness of Champion ski run, a snow cat with a winch is used. After the snow cat “cut” is done, moguls are shaped by about 20 volunteers (with shovels), under the supervision of a Chief of Course and a Chief Builder,” says Chris. “Once the bumps are shovel shaped, the Wasatch Freestyle Team runs the course to complete the bumps and better define the “zipper lines”. The jumps or “kickers” are created using wooden jump forms. Snow is shoveled into the forms and mixed with water from snowmaking hydrates alongside the venue to build the “kickers.”

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Course conditions are weather-dependent. Yes, I know, that’s a bold statement of the obvious. The weather for this year’s World Cup was a mixed bag of wind, rain, snow and more wind. “The first night of competition the course was very fast, with steady uphill winds throughout the night. This hampered visibility for the athletes as well as the judges. The athletes had trouble seeing the course and the judges had difficulty viewing the athletes (especially with sporadic winds gusts),” says Chris. “On Saturday, the second night of mogul competition, wind and a few inches of fresh snow and warmer temperatures changed the conditions of the course, especially the “kickers”. These condition changes had an obvious effect on the athletes; many had trouble staying on course and with the transitions after landing tricks off of the “kicker.”

The pine bough grindings at the base of the jumps aren’t debris—they are a safety measure. “The lighting was also very flat Saturday night, so guests may have seen more pine bough grindings on the course,” says Chris. “The pine bough grindings are used on the jump landings to improve depth perception for the athletes and help them get oriented while in the air before landing an aerial maneuver off one of the “kickers”. The practice of spreading pine bough grindings or chips is also used on the landing hill for the Aerial athletes. Pine boughs are chipped and collected from the Park City Christmas tree recycle lot. Typically, 50-60 bags of pine boughs are used between both venues.“

Deer Valley FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup: “Sick Air Package”

Being an avid reader my entire life, I have a fairly good grasp on commonly used phrases in the English language. Well, I thought I did until I attended the Freestyle Ski World Cup  event at Deer Valley Ski Resort. The event was exciting in-and-of itself but the fact that some of the athletes were qualifying for the Aerials and Moguls Competitions for the Olympics in Sochi added another dimension.

World Cup and Champion

During the competition, I picked up some new vocabulary and idioms to add to my repertoire. Here are some examples:

We are all familiar with a “selfie,” of course, but this is a new one. A “chesty” was described as an ill-fated move an athlete made when she looked down and instead of landing on her skis, she landed on her chest! Ouch! This was not a pleasant experience to say the least. In the future, I will avoid pulling a “chesty” at all costs.

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The announcer mentioned an athlete had done a “double ejecto face plant tumbler” in practice. Fortunately, during the competition, he executed his jump well and we didn’t have to witness a spill. A double ejecto tumbler might be difficult to watch.

A jump I observed in the aerials is called a “Big Daddy.”
This move is made up of:
Double = two flips
Full = full twist on the first flip
Full = full twist on the last flip

One athlete who pulled this off was described as having a “sick air package.” I would have to agree!

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On the moguls competition we observed a speedy athlete who was “bogeying down the hill” and even faster was the competitor who was “smoke show” fast.

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The competition was exciting to watch and cheering on our favorite athletes was exhilarating. Even better that fans were able to walk away with some new words and phrases to add to our vocabulary from the event.

Ski Team Reunion

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During the 2014 Deer Valley FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup the U.S. Ski Team had a fundraiser called “IceMen.” In short, generous people donate to the U.S. Ski Team and in return get to ski with past members of the team.  

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I always enjoy skiing and learning from these former U.S. Ski team members. Their resumes include a two-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time silver medalist, bronze medalist, and an overall World Cup title holder. I’m always in amazement when I ski with them. I have such respect for this group of skiers.   

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It was our first powder day and the group wanted good skiing, so we headed to X-Files. I didn’t realize that one of our champion leaders didn’t like to hike until it was too late. But it was worth it, he enjoyed the skiing and it was great to see him laugh harder than anyone has ever seen. The guest witnessed all of us joking around with each other all day. One mentioned that it was cool to see how close the U.S. ski family really was. I feel lucky to be part of the Deer Valley family and be able to show the friends I have made it from ski racing to representing my home resort. 

See you on the slopes. 

 

 

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.

 

 

World Cup Skiing at Deer Valley is a Family Affair

Bryon and Brad Wilson

Bryon and Brad Wilson

Through the years I have met many of the best athletes in skiing. From club level kids that have risen to X Games podiums to Stein Eriksen, each time I meet someone who has competed at a world class level I am fascinated by what motivates them. What drives them to risk so much in a sport that many see only as recreation?

With Deer Valley Resort’s World Cup week about to begin, I sat down in the Snow Park Lodge with two members of the U.S. Ski Team, Bryon and Brad Wilson, to find out more about their lives as World Cup Mogul Athletes, and did my best to not ask who would win in a head to head dual mogul race.

Why Bumps?

Bryon: One thing about freestyle that is appealing is that you can always improve in some aspect of the sport, whether it’s turns, speed, or degree of difficulty in jumps, there’s no perfect run. There’s an idea of perfection.

Brad: When we first started skiing as just weekend skiers, the best skiers on the mountain were the freestyle team, they were shredding the bumps. If you knew how to ski bumps, you knew how to ski everything else.

How close have you come to perfection?

Bryon: I had one run in Are, Switzerland, for Junior World Championships..

Brad: I was thinking that same run for you.

Bryon: Yeah, everything happened. I nailed my top jump, skied out of it fast, perfect, came down and nailed my bottom jump too.

Brad: Fast

Bryon: And it was fast. I scored something ridiculous like 28.6 or something.

Brad: Out of thirty, it’s the highest score in FIS history.

Bryon: It happened at the Olympics too, when I got my bronze medal, everything came together. Everything was crisp and clean, kind of fell into place. It was special.

When it goes wrong what is your thought process?

(both laughing)

Bryon: Relax the body and take the hit. In Lake Placid I hit a control gate on the right side, and it threw me into this, like death spin down the side of the course and I hit about eleven posts.

Brad: Like a pinball machine. That moment when you’re skiing down the middle. You feel good, as fast as you can go, and then you start going a little bit forward – “there’s no way out of this.”

Bryon: They taught us how to fall in gymnastics, how to relax.

Brad: Our Mom said growing up you’re never going to get better unless you crash.

The speed athlete’s take through the mogul course is incredible. How fast?

Bryon: I think about thirty-two, thirty-five miles per hour. I use a metronome. If I watch a really fast skier in World Cup, I’ll take his cadence and try to match it in my own run. I use it for visualization, so I’m not rushing or going too slow.

How are you guys feeling this year?

Bryon: Good.

Brad: I had a rough week last week, I wasn’t there mentally and didn’t really perform the best I could at Lake Placid. It makes you itching for more; I’m going into the rest of the season with a different mindset.

Checking out Deer Valley's venue

Checking out Deer Valley’s venue

How many World Cup stops have you had, and what’s the remaining schedule?

Bryon: We have competed in four already- and have Deer Valley, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Spain, and then Lake Tahoe for Nationals.

Do you guys get down time in any of these places?

Bryon: Not really. Once we get on the road – we get there, we train, we compete, and we leave.

Brad: We might get a day in Norway.

Brad: When we get to Russia it’s a test for the Olympics; we’ll be there a week early to adjust to the time zone.

No sweet Japanese powder when you compete in Inawashiro?

Bryon: No, (laughing) nah, we go to ski a gnarly course, super steep – it’s really steep. We’re having duals on it this year, which is pretty crazy. It’s like three cliff drops into the top jump, and you want to take as little speed as you can because once you land you’re booking. You’re out of control, basically, the one who can hold on is the one who’ll come out on top.

Brad: I’m excited to ski it. It’s one of those courses growing up, you see it on World Cup and you’re like, oh my God. Deer Valley is one of those courses too.

Bryon: Yeah, it’s a beast.

Let’s talk tricks. Where do you see it going?

Brad: I think if they start allowing doubles in bumps…

Doubles?

Brad: Double flips, double anything. A Double Full is a seven twenty (note – two full spins) but it’s one single flip. They don’t allow two flips.

Is that about safety?

Together: Yeah.

Bryon: All the specs would have to change to allow doubles. They’re looking at a new format for dual moguls, this is a proposed thing, where they take out the bottom section, so it would just be a big table to finish off.

That’s a huge transition in the discipline, that’s straight up incorporating park skiing.

Brad: That’s what people want to see, you know? They love seeing the duals, big jumps, and big airs. People throwing their biggest degree of difficulty, I think it would be good for the sport.

Are you prepared for doubles?

Bryon: Yeah, we do them all summer so when they come we’ll be able to do them.

Any double corks yet? (note – a double/triple cork is nearly impossible to explain. In half pipe and slope style skiing it is considered the most difficult maneuver as it is combined with multiple spins.)

Bryon: Double Cork 10 (two off axis flips with three spins) I haven’t done on snow, but on water pretty consistently.

Brad: I think that would be the hardest one to throw with the amount of air we have.

Bryon: You don’t want to take away from mogul skiing either, you’re skiing the moguls between the jumps as well.

Brad: Fifty percent of the score is for turns.

Bryon: Freestyle moguls are what we do.

547991_184311291685322_753787909_nWho are some of the skiers you guys look up to?

Brad: Coaches.

Bryon: Yeah, Coaches.

Brad: Our Wasatch (Freestyle Team) Coaches, Jon O’Brien, Rick Shanor, Scotty Meyer, and also growing up Tony Gilpin. When we lived in Montana he would compete against us all of the time, but that one dual that we beat Tony, it was a huge step. Our parents joke about it all of the time, but that’s when they said we’re actually going to go somewhere.

Bryon: All of our coaches have had some kind of positive impact on our skiing, and our lives really.

Guy’s you can trust.

Brad: Yeah, exactly, knowing you can trust what they had to say.

Bryon: Growing up in Montana there was this group of great local skiers that were kind of our role models. That was important for us to have up in Montana, to see where we could get. To have a tangible goal.

If you weren’t skiing bumps, no ski team, none of that – what would you be doing?

Bryon: We’re both into art. I do wood carvings; I really enjoy doing wood sculpture, trout mostly. I would get into that, a little more into canvas painting.

Where does that come from?

Bryon: Our parents are really good artists.

Brad: The other thing too, is we were really into a lot of sports growing up, football, and baseball. I think that or gymnastics would’ve been something we pursued.

Bryon: We’re both competitive; I think we would have gone into something where we could stay competitive.

Brad: To get where we are now our parents sacrificed a ton, they would have given up so much for any sport we do.

After an hour of talking it was evident what motivates the Wilson brothers on their journey through the ultra competitive world of mogul skiing. Time and time again they gave credit to their parents and the skiers that they watched growing up as positive influences in their lives. It is no wonder Deer Valley sponsors these young athletes in their pursuit of World Cup and Olympic victories. A shared value system and passion for skiing is evident after even a few minutes with Brad and Bryon.

World Cup week is upon us and it is a blast! Head to the mountain to watch the men and women compete in aerials and moguls, paying close attention to the two former Jr. World Champions. This is a pre-Olympic year, a year when some of the most stunning and perfect runs will be laid down in one of the most difficult courses in World Cup bumps. This is Deer Valley in February and you do not want to miss it!

Want to see what it takes to win an Olympic Medal? Check this out.
Bryon Wilson Olympic Medal Run

And is this the future of World Cup Mogul maneuvers?
Bobby Brown Triple Cork