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Injured knee will keep Bahrke out of moguls opener

The World Cup freestyle schedule normally opens Thursday in Tignes, France. Or, perhaps more accurately, it’s scheduled to open in Tignes. Sometimes, yes, sometimes up on the Grand Motte Glacier … and sometimes no.
    There won’t be any problem this winter, though. More than a meter of snow fell this week in the French Alps around Tignes and neighboring Val d’Isere. Thursday’s season opener won’t be moved.
    The American troupe flew to France over the weekend following one final training camp at Winter Park, Colorado.    
    The U.S. Ski Team will have six men and five women entered in the opener. The one non-starter is Shannon Bahrke, the high-energy talent from Lake Tahoe. She injured a knee while skiing Tuesday and will undergo a full medical assessment after flying home with the team at week’s end.
THE WORLD CUP freestyle schedule normally opens Thursday in Tignes, France. Or, perhaps more accurately, it’s scheduled to open in Tignes. Sometimes, yes, sometimes up on the Grand Motte Glacier … and sometimes no.
    There won’t be any problem this winter, though. More than a meter of snow fell this week in the French Alps around Tignes and neighboring Val d’Isere. Thursday’s season opener won’t be moved.
    The American troupe flew to France over the weekend following one final training camp at Winter Park, Colorado. They knew women’s alpine races in Val d’Isere had been shifted to St. Moritz, Switzerland, because of lack of snow, but they were prepared to ski on the glacier, if need be. They just wanted to compete, wanted to get the season under way.
    “It had gotten cold enough for the organizers to blow some snow, so they had a base and then all this snow came," U.S. coach Scott Rawles said Wednesday night. “We arrived Sunday and it was pouring rain in Geneva. But, as we drove up here, the snow banks got higher and higher, and it dumped [snow] all day Monday.
    “We’ve got three, maybe four feet of snow. I’m not sure of the final measurement, but it snowed and it snowed and it snowed,” he chuckled. “Snow is not a problem this year, as it was last year” when the moguls opener became one of the casualties as warm temps and low (if any) snow gripped Europe.
    The U.S. Ski Team will have six men and five women entered in the opener. World championships medalist Nate Roberts leads the men, who include Dave Babic, ’07 moguls Rookie of the Year Jay Bowman-Kirigin, Holt Haga (in his first World Cup contest), Bryon Wilson and Sho Kashima. Olympians Michelle Roark and Jillian Vogtli will be joined in the women’s event by women’s ’07 Rookie of the Year Heather McPhie, Kayla Snyderman — taking time from studies at Dartmouth College — and veteran Shelly Robertson, who is coming off the best season of her career.
    “We’re looking forward to see where we’re at,” Rawles said. “You always want to get the season going, and we’re ready.”
The one non-starter is Shannon Bahrke, the high-energy talent from Lake Tahoe, who was pondering possible retirement a year ago only to have a solid season, including a World Championships silver medal and two wins. She injured a knee while skiing Tuesday and will undergo a full medical assessment after flying home with the team at week’s end.
    The Winter Park camp went well, concluding a strong summer of training. “We jumped a lot — there was an obvious lack of snow, but we made the best of it and got a lot of jumping in during the first seven days and then we had a full course for the last two days,” Rawles said.
     also said the mid-summer camp in Chile was outstanding, giving the team a strong base for the season, even with the gap until the Tignes opener. “We were skiing nonstop,” he said.

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