Winter X Locals Watch: Fiala in good shape after skiercross qualifying |

Winter X Locals Watch: Fiala in good shape after skiercross qualifying

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Summit County, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Frisco resident Jake Fiala will get a crucial advantage in Sunday’s skiercross elimination heats thanks to a very solid first-day performance on Friday, one that saw him finish fifth overall in the single-skier qualifying runs used to determine who starts where on Sunday.

By qualifying fifth (out of 30 racers, 24 of whom made the cut), Fiala will get the second lane choice in his six-person heat, a big advantage considering lane position influences the quality of one’s start, and nothing is more important in a skiercross heat than the start.

“Pretty solid run,” Fiala, 31, said of his performance on Friday. “I had a couple mistakes but the skis were going. It was a little faster on the race (skis) so I bottomed out some jumps, lost some speed.”

Daron Rahlves, the recently retired World Cup speed event specialist and Fiala’s former teammate on the U.S. Ski Team, qualified first on Friday with a time of 58.15 seconds. But Rahlves is far more experienced competing without anyone else on course, whereas Fiala (59.66) and the other former alpine racers who dot the skiercross finals field have spent more time dueling in a head-to-head format.

Accordingly, Fiala pointed out that Friday’s qualifying round meant little in the way of predicting Sunday’s final results.

“Once you get into the top 24, there’s a lot of good skiers and a lot of good skiercrossers,” he said. “Anything can happen. You just gotta get a good start.”

Fiala was eliminated in his first heat last year, his X Games debut.

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