LAKE PLACID, USA, 17 JAN 2013 – Action is just getting underway at the FIS USANA Lake Placid Freestyle Cup in New York, USA, with FIS freestyle World Cup moguls competition taking place today, 17 January, followed by back-to-back World Cup aerials events on Friday and Saturday evenings.
The host Americans are looking for big results on home soil, with local skiers Heather Mcphie and Bryon Wilson both coming off victories at the previous World Cup moguls event in Kreischberg, AUT, while teammate Heidi Kloser finished second on the women's side, behind Mcphie. Mcphie has won both women's events this season.
As if that wasn't enough, women's moguls and overall Crystal Globe winner Hannah Kearney is returning to World Cup competition for the first time since injuring her ribs in training in October. Kearney is coming off a season that saw her complete a string of 16 consecutive victories to claim a FIS World Cup record, and claims to be in top-competition shape despite her lengthy absence from the circuit. Kearney has won the last three Lake Placid moguls events in a row, and with her return, an all-American women's podium on home soil is not of the question.
On the aerial's side of things, last week's winner in ladies' competition at Val Saint-Come, CAN, Mengtao Xu (CHN), having handily won both jumping competitions to have been held this season, comes in as the odds-on favorite in the Lake Placid event. However, Xu will be pushed strongly by the resurgent Lydia Lissila (AUS), who after nearly three years out of competition has returned to score back-to-back runner-up finishes and who appears to be ready to take the next step in the degree of difficulty after two strong, but restrained, performances.
For the men, Belarusian veteran Dmiti Dashinski claimed top spot in Val Saint-Come last week, beating out young Canadian Travis Gerrits and China's Travis Gerrits, who finished in 2nd and 3rd, respectively. For Gerrits, it was the first podium of his career, and his achievement signalled the arrival of another weapon on a Canadian team that already features last year's Crystal Globe winner Olivier Rochon.
It promises to be an excellent weekend at a historic venue, hosted by organizers with deep experience in putting on a good show. Whether for the moguls, aerials, or the brilliant event-closing fireworks show planned for Saturday night, Lake Placid, New York is the place to be from now through to Sunday for freestyle fans.
Lake Placid moguls competition takes place Thursday, with finals getting underway at 13:45 local time
first of two aerials competitions begins Friday, with ladies qualifications getting underway at 14:15 local time, followed by the men with qualification beginning at 17:55.
Saturday's aerials event follows the same schedule, followed by a fireworks display starting just after 21:00 local time.
America has strong hopes in moguls competition, with Heather Mcphie having won both ladies' events this year, Bryon Wilson winning last week's event, Heidi Kloser finishing runner-up to Mcphie last week, and with 4-time Lake Placid winner and last year's Crystal Globe winner Hannah Kearny returning from injury.
Aerials competition will be held in back-to-back night events, with fireworks following Saturday's event.