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Del Bosco caps season with fifth podium of year

Chris Freud
cfreud@vaildaily.com
Chris Del Bosco flies to a third-place finish last week during the final World Cup ski cross event of the season. Del Bosco picked up his fifth World Cup podium of the season.
Pentaphoto | Special to the Daily |

Del Bosco’s 2015-16 season

Wins

Montafon, Austria, Dec 5.

Val Thorens, France, Dec. 11.

Second place

Idre Fjall, Sweden, Feb. 13

Third place

Val Thorens, Dec. 12

Arosa, Switzerland, March 4

Aspen, X Games, Jan. 30 (Offically not a World Cup event, but it’s Del Bosco’s sixth medal at the event.)

EAGLE-VAIL — He didn’t go anywhere, but, in a way, he’s back.

Eagle-Vail’s Chris Del Bosco capped a bounce-back season — or not — on the World Cup ski-cross tour with his fifth podium of the season, taking third place in Arosa, Switzerland last week.

With that result, Del Bosco, who races for the Canadian Ski Team, finished second in the world on the points behind only France’s Jean Frederic Chapuis, the two-time defending globe winner in the discipline and the defending Olympic gold medalist.

Statistically, Del Bosco’s 2015-16 season was a renaissance of sorts. He was 16th in the world last year and hasn’t finished as high in the rankings since 2011.

On the other hand …

“I wasn’t that far off,” Del Bosco said of his 2014-15 season. “If you look at qualifying, it’s kind of an indication of how fast I was skiing. I felt I had my best season ever. There were just a few races like World Championships. The first turn I had contact. Things like that seemed to happen.”

Regardless of discipline, every ski racers has an encyclopedic knowledge of his or her times, and Del Bosco is no exception. He was running quickly in qualifications — in ski cross, racers ski the course with the top 32 advancing to four-person heats in a bracket-style final the next day.

Ski cross is somewhat akin to roller derby on snow, and stuff, for lack of a better term, happens. It did in 2014-15, and so Del Bosco took a different approach to his offseason last summer.

Not skiing to ski well

Del Bosco ditched his skis, which seems somewhat counter intuitive for a guy who makes his living on snow. Instead, he hit the gym and his mountain bike.

“I came into the season really fresh and ready to go,” he said.

Traditionally a slow starter, he won the first two races of the season in December in Montafon, Austria and Val Thorens, France — the eighth and ninth wins of his World Cup career.

There are a lot of would-have, could-have moments in any season, yet four canceled races probably didn’t help his chances of running down Chapuis. Del Bosco didn’t dwell on the schedule but instead blamed himself for not capitalizing on his chances in races in Sweden. There, Chapuis was in a slump and Del Bosco finished second and fifth in events, not bad results by any stretch of the imagination, but not enough.

In little over one month, Del Bosco was in Aspen, where he won his fifth X Games medal (bronze), Sweden, South Korea and Switzerland.

“I think I’m on Colorado time,” he joked.

In the process, he helped Canada win the Nations Cup in ski cross.

Next up?

Being on the Canadian Ski Cross Team has its benefits. Within the team, there’s a lot of competition, including Del Bosco’s friend and rival, Brady Leman. Del Bosco nipped Leman, who finished the season in third in World Cup points, 554-523.

“Brady and I ski together and he held it down last year,” Del Bosco said. “I wasn’t really adding much to the mix, but he knew I was skiing fast. When I won the first race of the season, he was right behind me and he was stoked. He was super happy for me.”

While the season just ended, he is looking ahead to 2017. It’s an odd-numbered year and that means the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain. He won Worlds back in 2011, when they were in Deer Valley, Utah and probably wouldn’t mind an encore at that event.

Then, there is the quest for making his third Olympic team in 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. The ski-cross tour made its way to Bokwang, South Korea, for a test event there, and Del Bosco likes the course.

“I think it’s really good,” he said. “It’s a big track. It’s pretty cool how they set it up with shared start and finish areas for ski cross and snowboard cross. I think the layout suits me.”

He has one more race this year — the Canadian National Championships, and he is the defending champ. After that, it’s time to get off his skis.

“After that, I’m getting back in the gym or on my bike to get ready for the season,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll put myself in a position to be there at (Worlds).”


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