By Nissa Alloy
The who’s who of ski competitors and their ample fans ascended once again on the posh Deer Valley Resort and Park City, Utah, home to the 2002 Winter Olympics, transforming the area into the Visa Freestyle International World Cup’s 2015, host. This renowned competition has been one of the most reputable freestyle ski events in the world with thousands of spectators coming every year since 2000 to watch the extraordinary display of skill, enjoy the stellar entertainment, eateries and shopping, along with its majestic scenery. With talented competitors and esteemed guests, including local celebrity Stein Erikson and Ted Ligety, an electric atmosphere prevailed, featuring nightly fireworks and several US wins.
The event kicked off in style featuring a free live performance on Main Street with the sounds of Chris Robinson (The Black Crows) and finished by lighting up the sky with a fantastic firework display.The following three days saw phenomenal displays of skill from some of the best freestyles skiers in the world. It was a truly unforgettable experience for all who attended, especially when the women’s competition for the first time since 1989 saw US aerial skiers, Ashley Caldwell take first place and Kiley Mckinnon winning second.
The men’s and women’s aerial competition involves performing a series of maneuvers after skiing off a large jump. It is a dangerous and physically demanding sport requiring a combination of acrobatic and gymnastic skills as well as great precision. The men’s competition saw China’s World Cup silver medalist Guangpu Qi take first place followed closely by the USA’s Mac Bohonnon. The Mogul events, involve a timed course and featured Canadian, Olympic silver medalist, Mikael Kingsbury who took first place, Australia’s, Matt Graham took second and the USA’s Patrick Deneen came in third. The women’s mogul race saw K.C.Oakley taking first place and the final event was the dual mogul competition which produced more great scores for the USA when Dylan Walczyc for the men’s and Hannah Kearnley for the women’s both finished in second place.
Throughout the entire event, athletes, sponsors and VIP guests were treated to an exceptional array of delicious food and beverages that pushed this event beyond the standard. With the finals and awards on the last evening, culminating in more spectacular fireworks, it was little wonder that all who attended were delighted.
Photos by: Adam O’neill