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Mayer, Cabral, Westerlund 2-3-4 in Tignes World Cup

Mayer, Cabral, Westerlund 2-3-4 in Tignes World Cup{mosimage}TIGNES, France (Dec. 16) – Olympic medalist Travis Mayer (Steamboat Springs, CO), who skipped most of last season to focus on college, returned to World Cup moguls fulltime Thursday and finished second in the opening event of the season with Travis Cabral (South Lake Tahoe, CA) third and Luke Westerlund (Breckenridge, CO) fourth. Laurel Shanley (Squaw Valley, CA) had the top U.S. women’s result, finishing fourth.

The two defending World Cup champions – Janne Ahonen of Finland and Canadian Jennifer Heil – won the events on a course next to the 1992 Olympic run.

“We’re starting where we were with the men – 2-3-4 but Janne’s still the thorn in our side,” said Jeff Wintersteen, U.S. head coach. “Conditions were marginal today but the team skied well. We’re pleased.”

Speedy return to the podium
Mayer, silver medalist in moguls at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, added, “I came back pretty quick. Considering the hard conditions and everything, I’m very happy.

“It was tough to get in and out of the bottom air,” he said, “but it went well.” His two jumps were a 720 D-spin off the top air and 360 Iron Cross spread at the bottom of the 240-meter run.

The event was held in the village instead of up on the Grand Mott Glacier, which had been a backup site for years. Wintersteen said Tignes organizers decided if they couldn’t stage the World Cup in the village where it could be seen, they wouldn’t hold it.

Mayer said skipping last season to complete more studies at Cornell University worked out well. The Ivy Leaguer competed in both World Cups in the United States, finishing fourth in Lake Placid, N.Y., and 36th at Utah’s Deer Valley. “I didn’t do a ton [of training] but I was able to stay in contact,” he explained, “and keep my skills up. Now, my body’s fresh and I’ve still got confidence in my skills.

Splash training pays off
“I spent a lot of time on the water ramps during the summer and I’m confident in the higher DD [Degree of Difficulty] with my tricks,” Mayer said.

Added Wintersteen, “You could see in Wolf Creek [Colo. - site of the final full training camp for the moguls squad] that T-Mayer was skiing so well, and he showed it again today. Not that if he hadn’t stepped up, Cabral or Luke wouldn’t have filled the podium.

“The women skied well, too. Laurel stepped right up, moving up from 11th in semis, so we’ve got the momentum going there, too.”

Tignes will be the only competition for the moguls team on this trip, the coach said. Lack of snow in La Plagne forced organized to cancel a dual moguls contest next week and Tignes officials were unable to set-up a duals course in time, so the Americans have just the lone competition. ‘It’s an expensive trip,” Wintersteen said, “but three podiums soften the pain a bit.”

The team will break for the holidays and then regroup with the traditional North American World Cups in January, starting Jan. 8-9 at Mont Tremblant, Que., followed by the Nature Valley Freestyle Cup at Lake Placid, N.Y., Jan. 14-16.

FREESTYLE WORLD CUP
Tignes, FRA – Dec. 16, 2004

Men’s Moguls (Top 12 make finals)
1. Janne Lahtela, Finland, 26.45 points
2. Travis Mayer, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 25.91
3. Travis Cabral, South Lake Tahoe, Calif., 25.41
4. Luke Westerlund, Breckenridge, Colo., 25.35
5. Vitali Glushenko, Russia, 25.08
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7. Toby Dawson, Vail, Colo., 24.92
10. Dave Babic, Washington, Vt., 24.60
21. Nate Roberts, Park City, Utah
35. Jeremy Bloom, Loveland, Colo.

Women’s Moguls
1. Jennifer Heil, Canada, 25.94
2. Kari Traa, Norway, 24.93
3. Sara Kjellin, Sweden, 24.91
4. Laurel Shanley, Squaw Valley, Calif., 24.83
5. Margarita marbler, Austria, 24.75
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9. Shannon Bahrke, Tahoe City, Calif., 23.50
11. Michelle Roark, Denver, 22.28
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14. Hannah Kearney, Norwich, Vt.
28. Jillian Vogtli, Ellicotville, N.Y.,

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