Warren Shouldice, Ryan Blais, Kyle Nissen and Olivier Rochon finished 2-3-
4-6 — season highs for all.
Only Peterson (10th) made it to the 12-man final round for the home team.
Teammate Dylan Ferguson, who had been on a hot streak with two consecutive top- 10 finishes, missed the final and landed in 17th place. Fellow American and defending world champion Ryan St. Onge was 23rd and failed to
reach his first final round of the season.
U.S. aerials head coach Matt Christensen said he was frustrated with the
team after the Lake Placid showing. “I’m not mad or anything,” he said. “The
quality of jumps all week has been extremely high, the competition jumps
have just been a big letdown.”
Talk about a letdown: veteran Canadian jumper Ryan Blais, a FIS athlete
representative, had his best event of the season in Lake Placid with a third-place finish. Blais and several members of the Canadian coaching staff were
under the impression that his third-place result had qualified him for his first
Olympic team. But moments later, officials confirmed that Blais was on the
losing end of a tiebreaker with teammate Oliver Rochon. Though the two aerialists had identical World Cup point totals, when the data was fed through
the complicated Olympic nomination protocols, Rochon’s results gave him
a microscopic edge. This was the second consecutive time Blais missed the
Olympic team by a narrow margin. Rochon was also bumped off the 18-per-
son Canadian Olympic quota list two days later by members of the dominant Canadian ski cross team. Only Nissen, Omischl and Shouldice made
the Canadian Olympic men’s aerials team.
American spirits, meanwhile, turned the corner at the Olympic team announcement four days later. Peterson, Ferguson, St. Onge and newcomer
Matt DePeters were named to the team along with Cook, Schnoor, Lindsey
and last-minute quota addition Ashley Caldwell.
“Out of the three Olympics I’ve gone to, this is the best my whole team has
jumped as a whole,” said Christensen at the announcement. “In the past
two Olympics our team was No. 1, everyone was looking at us, and that’s a
lot of pressure. It’s really hard to hold on to that carrot when you’re No. 1.
It’s definitely a lot easier to chase after that carrot than to hold on to it for
Mont Gabriel Aerials, Jan. 30
Kushnir and Li won the overall World Cup titles with victories at the last
competition of the season Jan. 30 in Mont Gabriel, Canada. Kushnir didn’t
miss a podium all season and won the last three consecutive competitions
to claim his first career globe. With two wins and three more podiums, Li
grabbed her second career title.
Blue Mountain Ski Cross, Jan. 20
The Canadian ski cross team is having a monster year ( 13 World Cup podiums) just in time for the sport’s Olympic debut on home turf. The streak
continued as the World Cup tour landed in North America for competitions
in Blue Mountain, Ontario, and Lake Placid.
Though the wins at Blue Mountain went to Austrian Andreas Matt and
Norwegian Marte Hoeie Gjefsen (her career first), seven Canadians landed
in the top 10.
Leading the Canadian charge was Ashleigh McIvor in second with her
fourth podium of the season. Three more Canadian women packed the top
Men’s ski cross racers fight for position in Lake Placid.
46 | Ski Racing FEBRUARY 8, 2010
Canadian aerials Ryan Blais reacts to just
missing his second Olympic team in as