Freestyle Les Contamines Alpe d’Huez Calgary Deer Valley
For the world’s top freestyle skiers, much of January meant
proving themselves for Olympic spots BY ERIC WILLIAMS
Guilbaut Colas takes his first
win of the season in Utah.
With the Vancouver Games only one month away, the World Cup’s
freestyle skiers looked to early January competitions to earn their Olympic
starting spots. Competitions across Europe and North America saw injuries, upsets and a collection of weather-related poor results, postponements
Les Contamines, France, Jan. 10
The U.S. Ski Team was down to one racer — Casey Puckett — after Daron
Rahlves headed home to rest and prepare for North American races following his first World Cup podium (a second-place finish on Jan. 5 in St.
Puckett made it all the way to the finals in Les Contamines, France, in a race
that was postponed a day because of thick fog. He was looking good — in the
lead and seconds from his first World Cup victory — when he lost his balance,
got caught on a gate and fell injuring his shoulder.
“The result of the fall is an AC joint separation, which means my shoulder
separated from my clavicle,” wrote Puckett on his Universal Sports blog.
“Clearly this is not an ideal situation 30 days before the Olympics.”
Puckett got good news after flying home to the Steadman Hawkins medi-
cal clinic in Vail, Colo., where he had an MRI. “I will be missing some races,”
wrote Puckett after meeting with doctors. “But my dreams of a fifth Olympic
appearance are still alive.” (See page 9 for more)
In Puckett’s absence, France’s Xavier Kuhn took his second career win ahead
of Canadian Stanley Hayer in second place. Last season’s overall World Cup
champ, the Czech Republic’s Tomas Kraus (a two-time winner in Les Con-
tamines) held on for a third-place finish.
Alpe d’Huez, France, Jan. 13
It was two more Canadian skiers with the wins three days later in Alpe
d’Huez, France, as Kelsey Serwa and Christopher Del Bosco nabbed World
Cup victories. Race organizers were forced to use qualifying results from
the previous day when 15 inches of new snow made the final day of racing
impossible. The result marked Serwa’s first World Cup victory, while Del
Bosco tallied his second career win.
Del Bosco outlasted second-place finisher Tomas Kraus. France’s Ted Piccard crossed the line third for his first World Cup podium while Austria’s Andreas Matt finished just off the podium in fourth.
The top American finisher was Jean Christophe Rudigoz in 43rd. Alpine
journeyman Warner Nickerson was also in the mix, finishing 74th in his first
attempt at ski cross.
JULIE SHIPMAN ( 3)