After coming close several times in recent weeks, Whistler’s Davey Barr at last found himself on top of the podium in Utah this past weekend as Deer Valley and Park City hosted a freestyle World Cup.
Even more important than the victory was the level of competition that he faced in the finals — World Cup downhill star Daron Rahlves, ski cross dominator Casey Puckett, and Michael Schmidt of Switzerland, who already has a silver medal this season.
Although he was up against the best, Barr went into the finals with a plan — taking a high outside line on the second turn while the other skiers got tangled up in the lower section. Barr was third going into the turn, and first coming out.
“I saw it, I just saw the way that I wanted to ski that section, made my plan and followed through,” he said. “I came in with a high-to-low line and generated a tonne of speed coming through the turn and I was able to pass Puckett and Schmid. After that it was a little tougher to hold my focus, I couldn’t help thinking ‘I could win this’, but the course had a lot of terrain so that helped me keep my brain in it.”
Puckett placed second, Schmid third and Rahlves fourth.
Barr’s teammates Stanley Hayer and Chris Del Bosco also had a good day, but both were relegated to the small final after disappointing runs in the semi-finals. They finished sixth and seventh respectively. Dave Duncan of Golden was 16 th .
On the women’s side, the top Canadian was Anik Demers-Wild, who placed sixth overall after tangling with Swedish skier Magdalena Iljans in the semi-finals. Gillian McFetridge was eighth, and Whistler’s Julia Murray and Alyssa Wilson were a solid 10 th and 14 th respectively.
Canada is now ranked first in the Nations Cup standings for ski cross.
In addition to ski cross, there was also an aerials and moguls competition.
In aerials, Steve Omischl finished a disappointing ninth after winning the two previous competitions. The top three spots went to Stanislav Kravchuk of the Ukraine, Vladimir Lebedev of Russia, and Renato Ulrich of Switzerland.
Omischl kept his leaders bib, and promised to be back in form for the next competition at Cypress Mountain.
“…I’m just exhausted right now. The last two weeks took a lot out of me. This week everything from the travel difficulties to get here, to scheduling, to being at altitude, all just took its toll.”
For the women, the top Canadian was Veronika Bauer in 11 th , while Deidra Dionne was 16 th and Amber Peterson 17 th .
The win went to Nina Li of China, followed by Jacqui Cooper of Australia, and China’s Shuang Cheng.
Canada did a lot better in the dual moguls, with Vincent Marquis winning the first gold medal of his career against Landon Gardner of the U.S.
“I worked hard and I had several tough duals,” said Marquis. “I knew Landon was going to go all out, he had nothing to lose. The key for me was having great starts. That forced my opponents to push harder.”
Canada’s Alexandre Bilodeau snapped up the bronze medal after edging out American Patrick Deneen in the small final. Warren Tanner placed 10 th .
For the women, Kristi Richards lost her semi-final matchup but won the bronze medal after besting Nikoa Sudova of Czech Republic in the small final.
“It was so much fun tonight with the huge crowd,” said Richards. “This course is one of my favourites. It’s big, burley and steep. It has all the challenges. I felt I really stepped it up again from last week.”
Shelly Robertson of the U.S. edged out Austria’s Margarita Marbler for the gold.
Other Canadians in the finals include Chloe Dufour-Lapointe in fifth, Whistler’s Sylvia Kerfoot in seventh, and Audrey Robichaud in 10 th .