Dylan Ferguson soars to a win in the NorAm opener at the Utah Olympic Park. (USSA/Sarah Brunson)
PARK CITY, UT (Dec. 22) – The U.S. Ski Team's Dylan Ferguson (Amesbury, MA) soared to a strong win Thursday capping a two-day aerials opener to the International Ski Federation NorAm Cup at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City. Ferguson posted an impressive 121.94 to win over Russian Timoflei Slivets, Wednesday's champion. Madison Olsen (Park City, UT) and Kiley McKinnon (Lake Placid, NY) took wins for the women over the two-day competition which also showcased a rising talent pool of U.S. development aerialists.
Dylan Ferguson's NorAm win in the season-opening series was a good indicator for the World Cup season which opens in Mont Gabriel, PQ in three weeks, before heading to Lake Placid, NY.
Scotty Bahrke (Squaw Valley, CA) was second in the opener which was dominated by the Russian Freestyle Team.
Wind and blizzard conditions hampered the opening day event with women limited to a one-jump single flip only comp and men limited to doubles. Thursday's competition ran through qualifying down to fields of 12, then cut to four for the men's and women's finals.
FLY Freestyle's Madison Olsen and Elite Air Development Program (EADP) athlete Kiley McKinnon took women's wins. World Champion Ryan St. Onge is now coaching FLY Freestyle with Olympic Champion Eric Bergoust coaching the EADP program. It was McKinnon's first FIS event after being recruited last spring at the Marriott Junior Championships.
EADP athlete Mac Bohonnon (Lake Placid, NY) was third on Thursday.
Olympian Ashley Caldwell crashed onto the knoll in her finals jump on Thursday. She was being evaluated for injuries.
QUOTES Dylan Ferguson I'm super stoked to start out the season with some solid jumps. It's also really cool seeing the development team kill it the last few weeks. U.S. aerials is slaying it! Right now I'm hyped to start the World Cup tour with momentum.
Todd Schirman, Freestyle Director One of the big things we saw in the competition and in the camp the last few weeks is that we've doubled the number of athletes at this level compared to last year. We're seeing very quick progression by gymnastic and trampoline athletes coming into the sport through our Elite Air Development Program and with strong coaching in programs like FLY Freestyle.