USST’s St. Onge Wins Deer Valley Aerials
The U.S. Ski Team’s Ryan St. Onge (Winter Park, Colo.) earned first place Friday Friday in the Nature Valley Freestyle Challenge for his sixth career World Cup victory at the Visa Freestyle International aerials competition and his third victory at Deer Valley.
St. Onge was joined on the podium by Emily Cook (Belmont, MA) who took third in the women’s aerials event.
A crowd of nearly 5,000 packed Deer Valley Resort for the aerials finale under the lights. The event will be broadcast nationally on Versus on Sunday, Feb. 8 at 4 pm ET.
"Deer Valley treats me very well," St. Onge said. "All of my family came. I love being here in Deer Valley in front of a huge crowd. I love jumping at night and winning is just special."
St. Onge threw a back-full, double-full, full – three flips with a single twist on first and third and double twist on the second to win the competition.
"During that second jump I knew I was either going to be way too big and land on my head or, if I could get my feet underneath me, it was going to be the biggest scoring jump I could possibly do," St. Onge said. "I came in a little bit fast. I hit a good takeoff and just stretched for my life and somehow my feet got down. I was so happy."
The jump was a landmark for St. Onge, who had only performed his jump once this season before winning with it Friday.
"That was only the second time this year I’ve done this jump. It would have seemed logical for me to maybe back down this week and spend more time performing that trick before I competed it," St. Onge said. "I did a great one in training and I knew I could do it. I really wanted to win instead of just being in the back of the pack."
Cook, who finished behind China’s Nina Li and Xinxin Guo, marked her second third place podium this season, and she couldn’t have been happier to attain it at Deer Valley.
"I’m really excited, I have so many friends and family out here tonight and the crowd is awesome," Cook said. "I had a great first jump. It was definitely one of my better ones and the double-full-full is a new jump for me. I just competed it in Lake Placid two weeks ago so basically it was a good call to come back down to a trick I’ve trained for years and years."
Jeret "Speedy" Peterson (Boise, ID) followed St. Onge and Cook with a fourth place for the USA.
"I’m happy, but I didn’t have a great week. My first jump didn’t go as well as I was hoping. I really had nothing to lose on my second jump. I went for it and listened to my coaches," Peterson said. "I couldn’t have done my second jump any better. It was the best I think that I’ve ever done it. I’m very excited. I ended up fourth place and I’m happy with that."
More than anything, Peterson said he was just happy for his teammates to have success at Deer Valley.
"I’m really happy for Ryan. He’s been jumping so hard for so long that he deserves this. Emily had a rough week and she put it together so I’m really happy for her," Peterson said. "I love it here all. The people who come and volunteer are the nicest people. We always love jumping on this site. It’s by far the best site in the world."
For U.S. Aerials Head Coach Matt Christensen, seeing his veterans pull off their results made the night satisfying.
"I was really psyched with Speedy, Ryan and Emily. I really thought our younger guys would have done a bit better, but our veterans came through for us and they keep improving. Ryan just threw a best score," Christensen said.
The 2009 Visa Freestyle International continues Saturday with the first World Cup ski halfpipe competition in the USA at Park City Mountain Resort and wraps up with a nighttime dual moguls event at Deer Valley Resort.
OFFICIAL RESULTS Park City, Utah – Jan. 30, 2009
2009 FIS WORLD CUP Nature Valley Freestyle Challenge
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Over the next five years, Katz will donate the money to nonprofits participating in Vail Resorts’ youth access efforts that serve major metropolitan areas.