Battersby is the best in women’s slopestyle
Vail, CO Colorado
COPPER MOUNTAIN ” Ashley Battersby had a simple, but honest question for the first wave of friends who congratulated her at the base of the Catalyst Terrain Park on Friday.
“Are those the real results?” asked an incredulous Battersby, who was competing in her third U.S. Open slopestyle competition.
When she was convinced that the buzz among the crowd was true, the Chicago native (and Park City, Utah, resident) happily began to accept hugs and high fives.
Five minutes later, she broke down in tears while embracing her mom.
“My mom’s my best friend,” said the 20-year-old Battersby. “Her and my dad have been out here supporting me since I was a little kid. They taught me how to ski.”
How does a kid from Chicago become a freeskiing force?
“I trained in Wisconsin an hour and a half away,” recalled Battersby, who won with a second-run score of 76.25 points, “on a 200 vertical foot ice hill that was horrible.”
Battersby shared Friday’s limelight with Kim Lamarre (76 points) and Vail’s Claudia Bouvier (69.75), who took second and third, respectively.
Bouvier bounces back
Lamarre and Bouvier both had to advance out of Friday’s semifinal round, unlike Battersby, who was pre-qualified.
Lamarre, of Quebec, Canada, was competing in her second U.S. Open after a hiatus that lasted three or four years.
“I competed in the event once before when I was younger,” the 19-year-old said. “It was brutal ” I crashed on my two runs. It was my first time coming up against the pros and the jumps were massive. I was kind of freaking out and that made me not like comps, but then I took my time, did a few other little comps and now I like them.”
Lamarre and Bouvier were both injured last year, which is why they had no chance of getting a bye into the finals. As Bouvier pointed out, however, a mandatory appearance in the qualifying round was not a bad thing.
“We didn’t get a warm-up run before the finals,” she said. “So (competing in the semis) was definitely an advantage because I had two extra runs on the course.”
Bouvier, who competed as a gymnast for the Summit Tigers and graduated from Battle Mountain in 2004.
Her presence on Friday’s podium was especially impressive, considering her injury last season was a broken neck.
“Just to be skiing is crazy,” she said.
Friday’s final round featured several athletes who are currently based in Summit County including Angeli VanLaanen (fifth place), Keri Herman (sixth), Megan Olenick (seventh), Anna Segal (ninth) and Stephanie Myers (10th).
Olenick’s mom, Molly Garland, was on hand Friday to support her daughter, her son, Peter Olenick, and the rest of the freeskiing community with more than 100 hot dogs on Friday.
“I just felt the motherly need (to provide food),” Garland said. “Every year these kids are hungry up here and we try to do something or other. We did peanut butter and jelly one year, which was too much work. This worked out beautifully ” Copper brought up a barbecue and we were happy to bring the hot dogs.”
Everyone’s got to eat, after all, especially the world’s best freeskiers.