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Dawson bridges the gap

Tom Boyd

Like any good Vail local, Toby Dawson likes his Don Perignon magnum-sized.And after winning two bronze medals in the 2003 World Freestyle Skiing Championships in Deer Valley, Utah, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 (moguls and duals), Dawson was awarded an extra-big bottle of the bubbly to celebrate his podium performance.”It was definitely good to know I can rise to the occasion during a big event,” he says. “But you definitely want to be at your best at all times, and when you’re hitting bronze and silver, you know that you’re good, but you’re definitely not at your 100 percent best.”Dawson will be at it again Feb. 8 in Steamboat Springs when that mountain town hosts a World Cup freestyle skiing event.But for skiers like Dawson, who have the ability to ride the park, the pipe, and slopestyle, there’s a bit of a conflict of interest because of the U.S. Freeskiing Open Feb. 6-9 here in Vail.Dawson is one of the few skiers on the World Cup circuit who can also rip cork-7’s and all the other basic-to-mid-level aerials preformed by X-Gamers and freeskiers like C.R. Johnson and Tanner Hall, and that’s without much practice. Earlier this year, Dawson skipped a freestyle World Cup to participate in the Steamboat Bumps and Jumps made-for-television event.After learning a 540 in the pipe on the morning of competition, Dawson went on to place fourth out of eight freeskiers in that event.”I’m stuck in the middle because I can do both,” he says. “If I had time I’d totally do the U.S. Open, but I chose World Cups over those events because this is World Cup, and this is the event that I love.”Dawson’s air time will get some air time on NBC television Saturday, Feb. 15 at 1 p.m. MST.Small frame, big heartRoark said she didn’t celebrate her silver-medal performance at the Championships with oversized champagne bottles, but she did pick up an oversized cowboy hat.She also said making the transition from a Championships at Deer Valley’s notoriously challenging course to a milder course at Steamboat won’t change her mental attitude.”The bumps (at Steamboat) are still very big, and very oddly shaped,” she said. “I approach this competition the same as all others with the goal in my mind to do my best.”Roark is still having trouble with a knee injury she suffered in Deer Valley more than two years ago but all indications are that she will compete in Saturday’s bump competition.


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