Steamboat Springs, CO Dec. 17 – Norwegian Kari Traa, who’s unbeatenin three World Cup moguls contests this season, and Canadian Pierre-Alexander(PA) Rousseau took the top money Friday in dual moguls at the Sprint U.S.Freestyle Grand National, but U.S. Coach Don St. Pierre said there wereno real losers. The Sprint events will be televised New Year’s Day at4 p.m. EST on CBS.
“This was a great day. I think everyone had fun,” St. Pierre said. “I’msure CBS will have a great show. Duals is such a horse race and this wasvery exciting. Our women are just emerging on the World Cup and this wasterrific. I can’t do in training what today did for them. It doesn’t happenovernight and these opportunities are priceless; every time you can goup against someone from the World Cup, it has to help. I saw a lot outthere that I liked.”
Competitions were in dual moguls and a two-skier team competition. Aboutseven inches of snow fell during the night and early morning, forcinga slight delay in the start of action as course crews prepared the bumpsruns. Traa and Rousseau earned $6,000 apiece for winning the non-WorldCup events; second place was worth $3,000 and third place $1,500.
Traa knocked off Marja Elfman of Sweden in the finals after taking advantageof a bobble late in her run by defending World Cup dual moguls championMichelle Roark (Golden, CO) in the semifinals. Elfman defeated Ann Battelle(Steamboat Springs, CO) in the quarterfinals and Canadian Tami Bradleyin the semis. Bradley stopped Roark to finish third.
In the men’s event, Rousseau defeated Johann Gregoire of France, goldmedalist in duals at the ’99 World Championships, in the semifinals andstopped Garth Hager (Bothell, WA) – who had been second last weekend ina Bumps&Jumps contest – in the finals. Hager had beaten ’94 Olympic mogulschamp Jean-Luc Brassard of Canada in the semis. Brassard ousted Gregoirefor third place.
“I feel alive in Steamboat. There is electricity here that is so goodfor me,” said Rousseau, who finished second last January in the SprintShootout at a Steamboat World Cup duals contest. “They do such a goodjob – Park Smalley and Fuss Feddersen and all the organizers; this isthe best. I’m anxious to see it on TV because I think it will make excitingpromotion for our sport.”
The Sprint Grand National continues Saturday with aerials.