DelBosco riding wave of Ski Tour
SQUAW VALLEY, Calif. – Chris DelBosco pulled the move that dropped jaws.Competitors’ jaws.In the final event of The Honda Ski Tour earlier this month in Squaw Valley, Calif., DelBosco sat in third place coming into the home stretch of the skiercross quarterfinals. With only the top two racers advancing to the semifinals, DelBosco knew he there was only one way to get there.”There was a double jump at the finish and everyone was going wide because it mellowed out,” said Vail’s DelBosco. “I didn’t try it in practice. It was just one of those things you had to keep in your mind if you needed to make a move.”DelBosco shot inside and launched into the air.”I got it perfectly, the first time, and went right by (Davey Barr),” DelBosco said. “Everyone thought I was in third … and then the race was over.”The pass had plenty of admirers.”Daron Rahlves, who was watching from the side said, ‘That’s what I like to see. That’s what needs to be happening in the sport. We need to keep progressing it,'” DelBosco said. “Thomas Krause (who ended up third in the Squaw race), went up to my dad and said, ‘That was very, very risky. But very smooth.'”
After coming up just short in the semifinals, DelBosco had another stellar pass in the consolation to take fifth in the race and finish ninth overall in the final season standings.”I think it makes me a little more hungry,” DelBosco said. “It makes it that much better to have a result like that. It’s a tough sport. You can go and in the first couple of races, you can get knocked out in the first round. Everyone is really competitive.”Long seasonDelBosco pulled in a fourth-place finish early in the season at the Jeep King of the Mountain event in Snowbird. After that, DelBosco had some good qualifying times in races, but had trouble putting together a few solid runs.”It gets old when you get send home in the first round,” DelBosco said. “I knew I had good result at the (Winter) X-Games last year and knew it wasn’t a fluke. It was a matter of time until I got another good result.”In 2006, DelBosco brought home the bronze from the X-Games. This year, DelBosco pulled in the fourth-best qualifying time at the X-Games. Following a good quarterfinals, DelBosco got pushed off the course and crashed into the woods, injuring his knee and breaking a ski.”One doctor told me to stay off it for a month, but I got a second opinion and (that doctor) gave me a brace and told me to try it out,” DelBosco said. “I skied for a day and it felt great.”Even with a crash at the Snowmass Ski Tour event, less than a month after his crash at the X-Games, DelBosco brushed it off and headed to Telluride for a Jeep King of the Mountain race, where he placed seventh.One-family show
Unlike most other racers on the Ski Tour, or in the King of the Mountain, DelBosco isn’t fully sponsored and doesn’t have a ski technician.”My dad helps me carry my skis up,” DelBosco said. “A lot of guys I compete against just show up and step into their skis and that’s it. They don’t know what goes into a night of six-hours of waxing.”Before races, DelBosco waxes his three pairs of skis, preparing each with a little different wax for varied conditions.While there’s plenty of ski preparation to be done, DelBosco thinks it’s difficult to come into the races with a set plan.”When you have (three) other guys there, you can’t have a game plan,” DelBosco said. “You need to have all the options open. Once the gate drops, you never know.”Course knowledge certainly helps, as DelBosco showed at the Squaw quarters. But quick reactions and athleticism help a bunch, too.In the consolation race at Squaw, DelBosco got behind Lars Lewin out of the gate. Lewin held an inside line as the two went into a jump.”We came off a hip jump and I just nicked (Lewin’s) tail,” DelBosco said. “In the air, on of my skis was in between his skis, and I lifted it out and around and landed inside of him and passed him.”DelBosco went on to win the consolation heat, which also featured Brian Bennett and Erroll Kerr.”I finally got a heat win against those guys, and made a pass on a different part of the course,” DelBosco said.
Young gunAt 24, DelBosco is a decade younger than most of the guys on tour.”I know I’m right there with those guys, and have a lot of time on my side,” said DelBosco, who was a stellar junior alpine skier before moving into skiercross. “I’ve been doing (skiercross) since 18, but I went through the gates. Sometimes people forget that pretty much everyone has a ski-racing background.”But DelBosco likes where skiercross is headed. With a bid at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the new Honda Ski Tour, which may expand from it’s four-event schedule next year, the sport that has multiple racers on the same pitch is gaining a hold.”I think there’s a definite marked for this in the U.S.,” DelBosco said. “People don’t understand ski racing … but they understand NASCAR, and it’s pretty much that on skis. … And our culture likes carnage, and there’s some of that involved.”For DelBosco, though, there’s nothing quite like overtaking another racer.”That’s what I love – throwing down passes,” he said. “You get the perfect jump and land it.”Recently, DelBosco got his knee operated on, and is resting up for summer sport – mountain biking. Last season, DelBosco got a bid to the Jeep King of the Mountain race in Beaver Creek, and this year he’s got his sights set on U.S. Nationals in St. Snow, Vt.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.