In the pipe, park or steeps, Vail’s Bouvier still rocking
Vail, CO Colorado
If you’re Claudia Bouvier, you don’t want winter to end anytime soon.
Bouvier, the Vail freeskier, has stormed back onto the scene after breaking her neck last season and has left her mark at nearly every event she’s entered in the 2008 campaign.
“It’s pretty crazy ” I’m really excited,” Bouvier said. “There’s only one event I’ve been to and not gotten a podium or an award.”
After kicking things off with a pair of third-place finishes at the Aspen Open and U.S. Freeskiing Open at Copper, Bouvier grabbed another third place at the Big Bear Open two weekends ago in California.
“I actually won qualifying for both events there,” Bouvier said.
Bouvier, who was third in the slopestyle competition, came up just short in the halfpipe, placing fourth.
This past weekend, Bouvier moved from the pipe and park to steeps of Jackson Hole, Wyo., for a big-mountain freeskiing competition.
On March 14, with almost 2 feet of new snow, Bouvier decided to take a bit of a powder run in her qualifier.
“It was kind of hard for me because I don’t know the mountain that well and there was so much snow,” she said. “I wasn’t going to ski the line that was (avalanche) bombed out to get the good score. I just wanted to ski powder. It was a decent score for what I did.”
Bouvier was 14th after her qualifier run but followed up with a superb second run to put her in the super finals along with six other girls.
“I had the highest scoring run of the day and moved up a lot,” Bouvier said.
In the superfinals, Bouvier fumbled a bit early on in her run and then decided to take a less-traveled route the rest of the way down.
“All the girls were skiing this one chute,” she said. “I was really close to third place. I thought I could stay where I was or do something. On a 5-foot cliff at the end, I threw a 360. It was cool. At least the crowd liked it. The guys throw tricks, but none of the girls throw tricks.”
For her efforts all weekend, Bouvier earned the “Young Gun” award.
As pleased as she was with her result, Bouvier was also proud to jump from one discipline to another.
“Nobody really knows who I am on the big-mountain scene, but I show up and have all the gear, and they kind of figured it out,” Bouvier said.
After nearly two months of traveling, Bouvier is back home for a while before she heads out to the World Skiing Invitational in Whistler, British Columbia, in mid-April.
“I’m glad to be home,” Bouvier said. “It’s really nice to get to go to the gym and doing little things like eat better.”
Bouvier, who is getting a head start on her studying for the MCAT exam, said she may compete at the Collegiate National Slopestyle Championships at the end of the month.
Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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