Patrick Deneen, Eliza Outtrim capture moguls titles
April 1, 2014
After skiing under the lights in January for the Deer Valley Freestyle World Cup event, American mogul skiers got to experience the Champion race hill in daylight on Friday afternoon in Park City at the 2014 U.S. Freestyle National Championships.
Even without Olympians Hannah Kearney and Heather McPhie competing, there was still plenty of Olympic firepower on display Friday.
Patrick Deneen and Brad Wilson led the way for the men, with Eliza Outtrim skiing well on the women’s side.
Eventually, Deneen and Outtrim would emerge victorious in their respective competitions, with Wilson, who lives and trains in Park City, taking second place.
Deneen said he almost didn’t attend nationals, but, being the competitor he is, couldn’t pass up a chance to ski at Deer Valley.
"I probably wouldn’t have gone if it was in Heavenly," he said. "I just heard it was going to be at Deer Valley and they were doing some different things with the course they don’t normally do for the World Cup. I was excited to see how the course looked."
He added that the Deer Valley course is always challenging and takes some getting used to.
"Deer Valley is always an interesting animal," he said. "I can’t remember ever having a good training day here."
That led to some pre-race nerves, but Deneen was able to overcome them and put together a couple great runs.
"Coming into today, I was a little nervous on how I was going to put my run together," he said. "But once I got here, the course was in incredible shape and I just went out and did my thing, skied my run."
Winning a singles moguls national title was something Outtrim was aiming to do to close out the season. She’d won a dual moguls national title before (and added a second duals title on Sunday), but wanted to cap off the 2014 season with a singles title.
"Nationals has always been a big thing," she said. "It was the big thing when I was a kid, so I’ve always wanted that title. Winning singles today was an awesome way to close out the season."
The day’s warm temperatures and sunny skies made for tricky course conditions, Wilson said.
"It was cold this morning, so the snow stayed soft," he said. "Then, when it got wet, the moisture got into the snow and it got slick, like marble. When that happens, skis kind of get away from you sometimes."
But, Outtrim said, skiing in the sunshine is pleasant this time of year.
"This is what we kind of expect," she said. "We want to come to nationals and ski in the sun and do some spring skiing. This was awesome. The course was nice and slushy for us and the sun came out this afternoon."
For Wilson, nothing beats skiing at home, regardless of conditions.
"It’s awesome," he said. "Deer Valley is so sweet definitely my favorite ski area. This course is incredible. Doing it here at home is amazing."
"Any time you come to Deer Valley is awesome, whether you’re skiing or competing," Deneen added. "Also, to come out with a victory is really exciting."
Jeremy Cota finished third to round out the men’s podium. In the women’s competition, Sophia Schwartz took second place and Lane Stoltzner finished in third place.
Both Wilson and Deneen are looking forward to putting away the skis for a while, now that the season is over.
"I’m really excited to go home [to Washington state]," Deneen said. "I’ve been home probably 12 days since November."
"I’m going to relax," Wilson added. "I’m going to sit on the couch. It’s been forever."