Puckett second in World Cup skiercross
PARK CITY, Utah – Two-time Winter X Games gold medalist Casey Puckett of Old Snowmass finished second Saturday in the first World Cup skiercross held on U.S. soil.
Canadian Davey Barr took the gold and Michael Schmid of Switzerland was third on a bright and clear day at Utah’s Deer Valley Resort.Puckett’s U.S. teammate Daron Rahlves, fresh off a gold medal at Winter X Games 12 at Buttermilk in Aspen, was fourth.”Coming into today, I was thinking ‘Michael Schmid and Tomas Kraus, how am I going to take these guys out?'” Puckett said in a U.S. Ski Team news release. “I didn’t even take into consideration what Davey was going to do and he snuck up in there and took off.”
Puckett and Schmid were neck and neck for first place until they made slight contact in the middle section of the race, which gave Barr the opportunity to cruise past into first place. “I was very pleased with the outcome,” said Tyler Shepherd, the skiercross head coach for the U.S. team. “I was really excited that I had my two top guns, Daron and Casey, in the finals. To have your athletes in the final and have them duke it out for those top three positions is great.”Kraus, the World Cup leader, had some trouble in the semifinal heat, finishing third – and failing to make the final. He went on to compete in the small final [for places fifth through eighth], taking fifth in the competition, which was enough for him to retain his lead in World Cup points.
Ophelie David of France, gold medalist at Winter X Games 12 in Aspen, won the women’s competition and jumped to first place in the women’s World Cup standings. Sasa Faric of Slovenia was second, followed by Emilie Serain of Switzerland in third.”The starts here were really important. I had to really concentrate,” David said. “During the race the key was to find a good balance between aggressiveness and keeping the skis smooth.”Langely McNeal (Ketchum, ID) was the only U.S. skier in the women’s finals. She finished 16th.The World Cup skiercross circuit resumes in Sierra Nevada, Spain, although many of the circuit’s best skiers will be competing Feb. 8-11 in the Jeep King of the Mountain tour stop in Squaw Valley, Calif.
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Vail and Beaver Creek resorts Senior Communications Manager John Plack said the company agrees with the state’s assessment that the ski industry must be out-front in its approach to ensure a safe and successful season in Colorado.