Eagle-Vail’s Chris Del Bosco wins in Ontario
BLUE MOUNTAIN, Ontario – You can’t stop Eagle-Vail’s Chris Del Bosco these days. You can only hope to contain him.
And that really isn’t working as of late.
Fresh off a a World Freestyle Ski Championships gold medal one week ago in Deer Valley, Utah, Del Bosco, a dua-citizen who races for Canada, hit the top of the podium again on home snow Friday in Blue Mountain, Ontario.
“Once you have a little bit of success, you sort of feed off it,” Del Bosco said. “Everything’s coming together. My tech team is doing an amazing job. I’m just skiing along and it’s all working out.”
Del Bosco is one hot racer these days. In his last four starts in major competitions, he has wins in Les Contamines (Jan. 16), France, Deer Valley, and now Blue Mountain and a silver at the X Games in Aspen on Jan. 26.
Having qualified No. 2 on Thursday, Del Bosco was sitting at the bottom of the ladder, ski cross for bracket. And his first heat, usually meant to a be breeze, ended up being his biggest challenge of the day.
Del Bosco was trying to anticipate the gates opening, so he could blast out of the start. He thought he had it timed, but the gates didn’t drop. When they finally did, he was back on his heels, and the last of the four racers to leave the start.
He got Germany’s Paul Eckert on the second turn and capitalized on a mistake by Australia’s Scott Kneller to pull into second place. With the top-two racers advancing from each heat, Del Bosco drafted off American John Teller, who had defeated him for the gold at X Games.
Del Bosco had no problems with the quarterfinals, winning his foursome easily, while Teller crashed, ending his day. Just as he did at Worlds a week ago, Del Bosco finished second in the semifinals behind the Czech Republic’s Tomas Kraus, advancing to the last race of the day.
In the finals, Del Bosco got the coveted hole shot out of the gate, taking a lead he would never relinquish. And though ski cross can seem like a chaotic, careening dash down the hill, there is quite a bit of strategy involved and Del Bosco used it to the fullest.
Del Bosco said he skied a “protective line” once he got the lead. During a flat section of the course, he knew that was a prime place for passing so he went outside to block Austria’s Andreas Matt, who ended up second, and Kraus, third. In the lower part of the course, there was spot where the rest of the pack could swing inside and he shut that down as well.
“You definitely know where the draft is from previous heats,” Del Bosco said. “I kind of knew where I wanted to be and what line I wanted to ski. You learn a little something from each heat. It may seem like chaos to a random person, but there is a lot of strategy.”
Skis or car keys?
And that delivered Del Bosco’s fifth career World Cup win. Technically, the gold at Worlds didn’t count as a World Cup win, though Del Bosco certainly won’t be giving the medal and title back. X Games in 2010 as well as his first major professional ski-cross victory at the Jeep King of the Mountain in 2008 in Sun Valley, Idaho, pushes his big-win total to eight.
Of greater import is that Del Bosco is second in the World Cup ski-cross standings with 325 points behind Matt, the defending champ, at 499. There are four races left on the slate, starting March 3 in Grindewald, Switzerland, and Del Bosco hasn’t ruled out a a run at the ski-cross title.
“Anything can happen,” Del Bosco said. “I’m going to keep pushing. I don’t think it’s completely out of the question, but it is a lot of a ground to make up.”
In the meantime, it’s time for a break and Del Bosco wants to go to the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20. A fan of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Del Bosco has friends down in Florida and is angling for tickets.
Either way, he’s going down to the Sunshine State to get some sun, take a little time off and find a way to watch the race.
“I’m a huge fan, drafting and all that,” Del Bosco said. “It would be pretty sweet to go. I’d like to race actually, but we’ll see about that.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.
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