STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO (Feb. 8) — Defending World Cup champion and World Championships silver medalist Jeremy Bloom (Loveland, CO) tore through his final run Saturday to win the moguls World Cup on the final day of the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Grand National and lead a half-dozen U.S. men into the final round. In the women's event, Olympic medalist Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA) protected her World Cup lead and led five American women into finals as she finished second behind Olympic and world champ Kari Traa of Norway.
NBC will televise coverage of the weekend Saturday Feb. 15 at 3 p.m. EST and ESPN will have coverage Thursday Feb. 20, also at 3 p.m. EST.
On a postcard day, Bloom — who won the dual moguls gold medal at World Championships a week earlier and took silver in moguls — received 27.80 points after connecting with a heli-X spread on his top jump and a double-twister spread on the bottom. World Cup leader Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau of Canada was second and World Cup rookie Dave Babic (Washington, VT) earned his first podium, finishing third.
Olympic silver medalist and local favorite Travis Mayer (Steamboat Springs, CO) was fifth with Luke Westerlund (Breckenridge, CO) eighth, Mike Friedberg (Boulder, CO) 10th and Toby Dawson (Vail, CO), who collected World Championships bronze in both moguls and duals at Utah's Deer Valley Resort, 12th.
"I've been on a little bit of a roll and I'm just getting back in the groove," said Bloom, who missed all preseason training camps and the first three weeks of the season while training or playing football for the University of Colorado. "As I ski more, I get more comfortable and am skiing better."
Bloom qualified fourth for finals "and I wanted to ski as fast as I could and scare myself, and win," he said. He had a large delegation of fans from his hometown as well as folks who came over from CU in Boulder. "It was fun to ski well in front of so many friends and spectators," he said.
Babic said he was "pretty psyched that things went so well" as he collected his first top-3 in World Cup action. His podium moved him into eighth place in the moguls standings behind Rousseau with Mayer second, Dawson third and Travis Cabral (South Lake Tahoe, CA) fourth.
Babic hit a heli-X off his first air and did a variation of the off-axis cork-7 (double rotation). "I was 'sick' — I carried speed into that second jump and just went for it," he said. "I really like this Steamboat course — it's fast and tight."
In the women's event, Traa — who won both moguls and duals for the second consecutive World Championships — won with 27.31 points, more than full point ahead of Bahrke (26.23). Emiko Torito (Englewood, CO), who came through the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club program, was fifth with Laurel Shanley (Olympic Valley, CA) seventh, reigning world junior champion Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT), a high school junior, grabbing her first top-10 in eighth place, and Worlds silver medalist Michelle Roark (Denver) 10th.
"Six guys into finals, five women into finals — obviously, we had a lot of good skiing today," said Head Coach Jeff Wintersteen. "And I'm psyched to see some of the new girls — certainly Hannah, who hadn't skied well in Mont Tremblant or Lake Placid — do so well.
"Everyone skied so well. We know our moguls team is strong but this was a pretty impressive performance."
The World Cup moguls schedule veers toward Japan with four moguls events on tap — two moguls contests Feb. 14-15 in Inawashiro followed by moguls and a dual moguls event Feb. 22-23 in Madarao.
SPRINT U.S. FREESTYLE GRAND NATIONAL
Steamboat Springs, CO — Feb. 8
Moguls (12 make finals)
Men1. Jeremy Bloom, Loveland, CO, 27.80 points2. Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau, Canada, 27.553. Dave Babic, Washington, VT, 27.464. Marc Andre Moreau, Canada, 27.125. Travis Mayer, Steamboat Springs, CO, 27.01-8. Luke Westerlund, Breckenridge, CO, 26.2010. Mike Friedberg, Boulder, CO, 25.7612. Toby Dawson, Vail, CO, 155.59-15. Travis Cabral, South Lake Tahoe, CA17. Fred Mooney, Tabernash, CO18. Nate Roberts, Park City, UT20. Chris Hernandez, South Lake Tahoe, CA23. Brady Johnson, Littleton, CO--Women1. Kari Traa, Norway, 27.312. Shannon Bahrke, Tahoe City, CA, 26.233. Ingrid Berntsen, Norway, 25.954. Sandra Laoure, France, 25.905. Emiko Torito, Englewood, CO, 25.50-7. Laurel Shanley, Olympic Valley, CA, 25.388. Hannah Kearney, Norwich, VT, 25.2810. Michelle Roark, Denver, 25.16-16. Jillian Vogtli, Ellicotville, NY20. Lauren Crawford, Steamboat Springs, CO25. Jessica Davis, Tahoe City, CA28. Shelly Robertson, Reno, NV--World Cup Standings (Best 5 of 7 results)Men1. Rousseau, 4642. Mayer, 4523. Dawson, 4164. Cabral, 4125. Stephane Rochon, Canada, 408-8. Babic, 37210. Westerlund, 35612. Friedberg, 28413. Bloom, 28420. Johnson, 17227. Hernandez, 12432. Mooney, 8436. Roberts, 32--Women1. Bahrke, 4882. Traa, 472 3. Berntsen, 432 (higher in tiebreaker)4. Margarita Marbler, Austria, 4325. Laoure, 4246. Roark, 39611. Torito, 31614. Vogtli, 30417. Robertson, 26822. Shanley, 19623. Justine Van Houte, Telluride, CO, 16026. Kearney, 10834T. Crawford, 2436. Davis, 20