Bardin fares well in King of the Mountain skiercross
Competing in a new sport can be daunting. Add standing shoulder-to-shoulder with World Cup athletes and some people might tuck tail and run.Tanner Bardin didn’t run away at the Jeep King of the Mountain Ski Tour Dec. 22 in Telluride. The 19-year-old from Keystone was one of 100 athletes who qualified for a 32-man field. Despite his lack of experience in skiercross, Bardin opted to attack the course and he qualified.Skiers ripped down the course solo in the qualifying round, with the fastest 32 racers being placed into groups of four. First and second-place finishers in the four-man heats advanced. Although Bardin didn’t advance past the first round, he was pleased with his performance.”Half the guys in there were right off the World Cup,” he said. “Qualifying was definitely a positive thing. Clearly they’re a little bit better and more experienced, but you learn a lot and get faster from chasing those guys.”Although everyone is friendly before and after the competitions, Bardin said during the races “they aren’t afraid to knock you over and you can’t be afraid to knock them over.”
“It’s crazy too when you’re in the air and there’s someone next to you going 40-plus (MPH),” he said. “If you take off on diverging lines – there’s no changing directions in the air.”Bardin, a member of Team Summit, said it’s difficult to train for skiercross, but participating in slalom comps with the team helps.”You can’t really train for it unless you have a full-on ski course set up, which is pretty rare,” he said. “I just go off the jumps in the terrain park and do some downhill things.”Bardin is aided by his motocross background.”Both are wild,” Bardin said. “Intense is the best way to describe each of them.”
Bardin said he began thinking about doing skiercross because he believed the two sports were similar.”I had been doing motocross since I was 14 or 15,” he said. “It’s every man for himself in those races. They’re a lot of fun.”So much fun, in fact, Bardin was confined to a wheelchair after a tumble in a race a few years ago.”I broke my pelvis in five spots,” he said. “I haven’t been on a bike since.”Skiercross will be featured at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Bardin said that’s a long way off but he would like to be there.
“It’s getting bigger,” he said. “I would love to do it, but it’s a pretty stacked field. It’s definitely a goal – a lofty one – but a lot can happen in three years.”As for the new year, Bardin has his sights on both the alpine and skiercross disciplines.”Depending on how I do in the downhill, I could maybe go to junior nationals,” he said. “There’s a World Cup cross event in Deer Valley (Utah) and the King of Mountain Tour has another stop in February at Squaw Valley (Calif.) – I want to be there.”Josh Salerno can be contacted at (970) 668-4633, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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