Dawson third in Italy | VailDaily.com

Dawson third in Italy

Daily Staff Report

Vail’s Toby Dawson and Shannon Bahrke, of Tahoe City, Calif., led a parade of nine Americans in the finals to take podium positions in the first of two night mogul events in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy.

Bahrke was second and Dawson third Friday night. Canadian Jennifer Heil took the win in 24.91 seconds to move into the World Cup lead. Bahrke’s second in 24.91 pushed her into third in the World Cup mogul standings after two events. Janne Lahtela of Finland remained unbeaten, winning with 28.01 over teammate Mikko Ronkainen. Dawson was third with 26.08.

“It was really a good day for us overall,” said coach Liz McIntyre.

Good day, indeed. Nine Americans reached the finals including four men and five women.

It was only the second event in a snow-starved World Cup season with the debut of inverted aerial maneuvers for the freestyle mogul skiers. Bahrke nailed a backflip with a cross, while Dawson opted for a more traditional heli-cross at the top followed by a heli-daffy-iron cross on the bottom air.

“I tried an inverted in Ruka (early in December) but decided to stick with this plan for now,” said Dawson. “I actually trained so many different inverteds this summer that I don’t have one which I have more confidence in yet.

“But I do have something up my sleeve for tomorrow night.”

Dawson and others feel the addition of the new maneuvers has really put excitement back into the sport of mogul skiing.

“What’s really great now is that you’re seeing all types of different tricks,” said Dawson.

It was a much-welcomed event for the entire freestyle circuit, which lost its event in Tignes, France, last weekend due to no snow. For the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team, it meant hanging out in lonely Tignes for over a week.

“We did a lot of training but had to really work to not go crazy,” said Dawson.

Defending World Cup champ Travis Cabral, of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., was fourth and newcomer Nate Roberts of Park City, Utah, fifth. Roberts uncorked what many felt was one of the best airs of the night – a masterful back-full, a back flip with a twist done in a more traditional straight-legged style.

“It was awesome tonight,” said the defending World Cup champ. “It was a really good competition – I love being here and competing at night. The course gets so much better at night. I just had a lot of fun.”

Inverted maneuvers are less common with the women so far, but Bahrke is at the forefront, nailing a backflip with a cross at top and a heli at the bottom.

“I’m really excited to be on the forefront of the change,” she said. “I feel this is where I want to go. Our guys are doing so well with it.-I thought there would be a lot more girls – there’s just a handful. I can’t wait to bust out my D-spin (back flip with a 720). Here would have been good but we didn’t have a lot of training. It’s a back-flip, 720.”

The pre-holiday swing will wrapup with another night mogul event in Madonna tonight. The circuit will kickoff again in January in North America.

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