Freestyle Ski World Cup brings world’s best to Deer Valley

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[soundslides width=”620″ height =”503″ id=”187829″]The world’s top skiers compete in the 2013 FIS Visa Freestyle International Ski World Cup at Deer Valley Resort next weekend. The three-day event includes both men and women’s moguls, aerials and dual moguls competitions starting on Thursday Jan. 31 through Saturday Feb. 2.

Disciplines are scheduled for Champion and White Owl ski runs, home of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Men and women’s moguls will be held on Thursday and Saturday; and men and women’s aerials on Friday.

The World Cup launches with a concert open to the public on Main Street in Park City and concludes each night with a firework show following the final disciplines. Past World Cup events have brought upwards of 10,000 local and international spectators to the venue to see athletes jump under the lights.

“Deer Valley is the biggest event of the season for the athletes,” said the U.S. Freestyle Press Officer Amanda Revman. “It’s a steep and difficult course and the athletes have to be in tip-top shape going into the event, but it’s their favorite venue of the season.”

The pressure is on for mogul skier Heather McPhie at Deer Valley to keep her first place World Cup ranking after a rough performance in Lake Placid earlier this month.

“Super disappointing comp day for me here in Lake Placid,” McPhie said on Twitter. “Unfortunately I will just be spectating finals this afternoon.”

Although her success early in the season and in her career is pushing her to remain at the top. McPhie won her first World Cup since 2010 in the season opener in Ruka over top Canadian competitors. McPhie and teammate Hannah Kearney will lead the ladies’ moguls in the last U.S. stop in the circuit.

Kearney, a U.S. Olympic gold medalist, continues her comeback this weekend. Deer Valley will be only her second competition — the first a win in Lake Placid last weekend — since fracturing her ribs and suffering from other minor internal injuries during training in October. Expectations are high for Kearney to return with fierce momentum considering last year’s 13-win streak.

“McPhie and Kearney will be fighting for that top spot at Deer Valley,” Revman said. “They have both done really well there in the past. They dueled it out last year and Hannah won, so I think it will be a battle at Deer Valley and will set it up for a really good show.”

Hoping to make another podium appearance in Deer Valley is men’s aerialist Dylan Ferguson. Last year Ferguson earned his first career World Cup podium in Deer Valley. Ferguson is currently ranked in the top 10 for men’s freestyle aerials representing the U.S. in the World Cup Standings.

The U.S. team’s biggest international battle for this event is against China for podium positions. A majority of China’s women’s aerials team are ex-gymnasts and are known for their precision in throwing triples in competition. The American team is led by five-time U.S. champion Emily Cook, who is currently ranked fourth in the World Cup standings. Cook snagged a couple of top five finishes in the season opener and took third last weekend at Lake Placid placing her in a great spot for wins at Deer Valley.

Admission to all the competitions at Deer Valley is free.

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