McPhie wins Landon Sawyer Bump Bash
April 9, 2005
ARAPAHOE BASIN – Skiers dressed as dogs, clowns, angels, businessmen and more attacked what many call the hardest moguls course of the year on Saturday at the Landon Sawyer CU Bump Bash. Team Summit skier Heather McPhie, the newly appointed U.S. Freestyle Ski Team member from Breckenridge, scored 22.02, almost three points better than the women’s second-place skier, Caterina Mader of Steamboat. Team Summit skiers Sarah Ruckriegle and Cheryl Pearson took third and fourth, respectively. McPhie won $500, while Mader took home $250 and Ruckriegle earned $100.McPhie, who just returned from a vacation in Jamaica this week, did a 360 on the top air and a twister spread on the bottom but won by skiing the course quickly and smoothly. For the guys, Teluride freestyler Jimmy Discoe cruised to victory on the long course that went from soft to hard between the skiers’ first and second runs. Skiing for the CU freestyle team, Kevin Hanian took second while Steamboat skier Eddie Keiser finished third. Team Summit’s best male finishers included Kristin Pepe, fifth, and Riley Campbell, seventh. The top three men’s finishers took home the same cash prizes as the women.
Early on, the sun was shining bright over the festive group of bump lovers, but as the second half of the competition began, clouds arrived, shutting out the sun and freezing the steep run.When the light turned flat and the course hardened, the skiers had little chance to move up in the standings. For the women, the top five didn’t change after the first run. For the men, four of the top five finishers earned those spots on their first try.”The conditions are always changing at A-Basin,” Ruckriegle said. “It’s always a challenge to ski here.”It wasn’t just the weather that made things difficult.
“It’s just a tough course in general,” Discoe said. “It’s a lot steeper than a normal course. The bumps are sharper, and the jumps are harder.”The win caps off a great season for Discoe, who took ninth in duals at freestyle nationals this year and won the duals competition at the Junior Olympics. And with the points from Saturday’s competition counting toward next year’s Rocky Mountain Division standings, it gives the 15-year-old that much more confidence heading into next season.Discoe will compete at NorAms and selections next year, hoping to win either event and earn a spot alongside McPhie on the U.S. Team.Several of the skiers wore costumes to pay tribute to Sawyer, a University of Colorado freestyle skier who died three years ago in a skiing accident.
With the points earned from this event not counting for several months, and music, costumes and barbecuing making it a more party-like atmosphere, many of the skiers had a hard time taking the event seriously. Unless, of course, the prize money was mentioned.”This is the only cash event, so I’m really excited about that,” Ruckriegle said. “It’s more incentive for sure.”Discoe had no trouble finding the motivation.”I treat this just like any other meet,” Discoe said. “I warm up the same and train the same. The only difference is this orange hair.”
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