Deer Valley aerials: Omischl, Peterson make cut
DEER VALLEY, Utah — World Cup overall leader Steve Omischl of Canada posted the top score in qualifying in the second installment of the Chevrolet Freestyle International World Cup aerials stop on Friday at Deer Valley.
Omischl, who finished second to American Jeret Peterson in Thursday night’s opening event, scored 130.09 points on his back-full-double-full-full maneuver in cold, crisp and dry conditions, unlike Thursday night’s snow-covered competition.
Peterson, who jumped early in the qualifying round, held the lead until Omischl passed him as the 19th athlete out of the gate. Peterson tallied 119.47 points and ended up fourth. He was passed late in the order by Anton Kushnir of Belarus (second) and China’s Sen Qiu (third).
Peterson was the lone American to make the final round, consisting of the top 12 scorers.
“I’m excited, it went pretty well,” Peterson said. “I got a little deep into my takeoff first jump. I was able to listen to my coach’s call — he gave me a great call to stretch, and I was able to bring it down to my feet.”
Peterson nailed the most difficult jump in the sport — his patented Hurricane — to win Thursday night's event despite a broken right hand suffered earlier Thursday in training.
“It’s a difficult jump, trying to do the Hurricane. It’s kind of like playing roulette — you’re not going to hit it every time," said Peterson, who's a natural left-hander. "So I have to focus every time I go out on trying to get a nice takeoff, trying to wrap really tight, and then try to see the landing in time to bring my skis down.
"Yesterday was a little rough for me. I broke my right hand in training, and cut my nose up pretty good. That’s one of the risks that you take when you try and push the limit. Yesterday it ended up turning out great for me, even with all the problems in training.”
Scott Bahrke, the first jumper of the qualifying round, and fellow U.S. jumpers Dylan Ferguson, Zac Amidan and Ryan St. Onge all failed to advance. St. Onge said he hit his head on landing during his first training jump of the day and said it scared him some.
“I’m usually a very safe jumper, I usually put my feet down first every time, so it shook me up a little bit when I did that on my first jump of the day,” St. Onge said. “From there on out, I just wanted to slowly work back and get confident.
“In my contest jump, that’s how I felt. I felt confident, I felt ready to go. I was going to try and do it no matter what. I really nailed my takeoff, thought I was sweet in the air, but as it turns out I was just a little bit low and needed to pull in at the end and that’s not usually a good situation for me to set up a landing.”
Ferguson, from Amesbury, Massachusetts, and Waterville Valley, made his World Cup debut Thursday and was 27th. Friday, he was very solid, improving to 15th, just outside the cut for finals.
“I’m way excited,” he said before later skiers knocked him out of the finals. “It went basically as well as I could have, I think, and I couldn’t be any more happy.
“I came in, I might have swung it a little bit and I had to stretch out on the last fold, but I landed and I couldn’t be any more happy.”
Ferguson, 18, was named to the U.S. Ski Team after his third-place finish behind Peterson and Zac Amidan at U.S. Selections on Dec. 20.
“Right now, I’m hoping to do the NorAm tour for the rest of the year and see how well I can do,” he said. “I would like to win a couple of NorAms, maybe win the NorAm Grand Prix tour.”
— Don Cameron and Eric McCollom contributed to this report