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Owning the slopes

Steamboat's Mayer leads U.S. Team at Sprint World Cup

— The slopes of the Steamboat Ski Area are like a second home for local mogul skier Travis Mayer.

But on Friday, Mayer said he felt a

little bit lost as he stood at the bottom of the Voo Doo ski run waiting to see if the world’s best mogul skiers could knock him out of the top spot in the Sprint U.S. Grand National World Cup mogul event.

“I learned how to ski on this course,” Mayer said. “I never dreamed that I would make it to the finals here, and I never dreamed that I would lay down the run of my life.”

Mayer recorded a score of 27.13 on the first run in the finals to set the mark for the pack, which included five American skiers.

“I was at the top when I heard Travis’ score,” Canadian Steven Rochon said. “That’s a pretty good score for the first skier down.”

After hearing the score, Rochon said he tried to put it out of his mind and focus on his own run. It was apparent the strategy had paid off when the Canadian skier crossed the finish line, with his hands clinched in victory.

Rochon scored 27.48 points just enough to knock the hometown favorite out of first place and into second.

“I knew I had stuck the

landing on my second air, so I felt pretty confident,” Rochon said.

For Mayer and a strong group of American skiers, the finish did little to take the luster out of the day.

Mayer placed second and was followed by teammates Jeremy Bloom in third (26.72) and Travis Ramos in fourth.

Canadian Scott Bellavance was fifth and American Chris Hernandez was sixth.

Other top American finishers included Alex Wilson in 11th, Travis Cabral in 19th and Garth Hager in 22nd.

“I’ve always skied well in training, but have had some problems in competition,” Mayer said.

“Hopefully, I’m starting to put it all together now.”

Watching the final two skiers was almost more than Char Bloom could stand on Friday. Her son, Jeremy, was sitting in third place with a handful of skiers left to go.

Bloom had placed third in the opening World Cup of the season in Tignes, France, and was in position to collect his second podium in a row.

“I was a little nervous, but I was just so happy for Travis that it didn’t really seem to matter where I finished,” Bloom said.

“It’s been a tough road for both of us and it’s just nice to see him doing well.”

The Sprint U.S. Grand Nationals will continue today with the dual mogul event at the Park Smalley Freestyle Complex.

That event will begin at

9:30 a.m. with training.

The competition will start at 11 a.m.


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