Friday, February 10, 2006

Falcone lands 1440, Fieguth bumps to the top

Hold onto your pants, home meet this weekend


By MICHAEL AMES
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Kurtis Fieguth trains his inverted repertoire on Roundhouse Slope.

The Sun Valley Freestyle team was in Boise over the weekend, turning heads at Bogus Basin mountain.

Kurtis Fieguth and Ross Falcone continued their regional dominance in moguls and big air, respectively, hopefully setting the stage for spring competition success.

Fieguth won the overall mogul competition on Saturday with a high-scoring second heat that had to be run twice due to weather. As fog obscured racers from judges, skiers were forced to wait for clouds to clear. When the weather did finally vacate, Fieguth took off and ran a solid performance, only to learn that timers had not been properly set.

The team's best bump skier trekked back to the top and turned in an even better second run, earning top marks out of 32 bumpers on Saturday. A day earlier, he finished fourth overall.

On Sunday, Falcone was the toast of Bogus as fellow teammates inspired him to throw an outrageous four-revolution 1440 in the big air competition.

Sun Valley Freestyle program director John Zuck says he has seen only one other athlete besides Falcone land a 1440 and that was on national television at this year's X-Games. With his 1440, Falcone, a high school junior, is quietly achieving a rarity in competitive freestyle skiing.

Sun Valley's most comfortable air artist, Falcone landed a smooth 1080 on his first big air attempt, but after seeing a number of younger teammates accomplish the same feat, he was motivated to go bigger.

It paid off in spades: Falcone's virtuosic 1440 air performance won Sunday's overall big air competition. Fieguth was right behind in second.

Falcone's luck wasn't so good in the mogul course however. On Friday, at the bottom of a well-run course, Falcone ran into what Zuck is calling "a clothing failure," turning heads for an entirely different reason.

After landing a perfect 720 in the middle of the course, Falcone was speeding to the bottom of the run when the wardrobe malfunction forced him to come to a stop and pull up his pants, dropping what would have been a podium performance to a 10-place finish—with an asterisk.

"He was having the run of his life," said Freestyle assistant coach Tom Kennedy.

"They like to have their pants loose and hanging low," said Zuck. "I don't think we're going to be doing that anymore," he said. The coach added, "We have to get him a belt that's on tight."

Falcone wasn't the only Sun Valley anomaly this weekend.

Lauren Phillips and Zana Davey were the "only two girls brave enough to jump" in the male-dominated big air competition. Both surprised female competition from other mountains by taking on the 30-foot big air gaps.

It was a well-attended race for the Sun Valley program.

Zuck brought 18 skiers to Saturday's mogul competition, including many younger skiers who were traveling with the team for the first time. Alexandra and Hannah Haupt, Wyatt Wilson and Joey Richardson were all first-time road travel competitors at Bogus Basin.

Home meet this weekend

The Sun Valley team is gearing up for its annual home competition this weekend on Baldy's Roundhouse Slope.

The weekend starts on Friday with a halfpipe competition on Warm Springs where with twin tip freeskiers will prove that the pipe isn't just for boarders.

On Saturday and Sunday, moguls and dual mogul races will continue all day with medal awarding ceremonies taking place at the end of each day of competition.

Full results from Bogus (best placings posted):

Moguls: F2: 4—Katie Fieguth. 7—Lauren Phillips. F3: 2—Kali Phillips. 3—Alexandra Haupt. F4: 1—Aunika Phillips and Hannah Haupt. 2—Zana Davey. M1: 1—Fieguth. 4—Falcone. M2: 3—Trace Page. 3—McClain Porter. M3: 2—Austin Bourret. 2—North Parker. 3—Austin Moses. M4: 2—Nathan Moses. 6—Joey Richardson. M5: 3—Wyatt Wilson.




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