Team Summit’s McPhie makes U.S. Freestyle Ski Team
COPPER MOUNTAIN – Heather McPhie was beginning to question if the goals she set for herself were reasonable. Until Friday. McPhie, a Team Summit freestyle moguls skier and Breckenridge resident, entered this year’s Nor-Am season with a history of coming up short on her mission to make the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team. Two years ago, McPhie finished the Nor-Am season tied for the second spot, but lost in a tie-breaker. Last season, she entered the final competition tied for the final spot again, but missed making the U.S. Team by one point.
This time the 20-year-old Bozeman, Mont., native didn’t have to worry about second place. After two Nor-Am wins, and a second-place finish, McPhie won the tour, and will be officially announced to the national team in May.”Sometimes, I felt so close, and that made me want to train that much harder,” McPhie said on Wednesday from New Hampshire, where she’s resting up after the frenzied tour. “Other times I was wondering if I was going to be that person that is so close, but never gets there. Making the U.S. team was a humongous road block for me.”McPhie was told on Friday that she made the team after winning the final Nor-Am competition in Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec. She had a near-perfect final run, landing a huge floated 360 on the top air before sticking a backflip at the bottom. She also took two seconds off of her qualifying run time.”With the tour on the line, Heather attacked,” said Team Summit coach John Dowling, who traveled with McPhie throughout the season. “The 360 was by far the biggest air thrown by any of the women all week.”
McPhie’s name can be added to Dowling’s long list of successful students. Before McPhie, Dowling coached current national team stars Jeremy Bloom, Dave Babic and Toby Dawson. Dowling also spent two years as a coach of the Canadian national team. McPhie, who moved to Colorado from Bozeman in September, credits Dowling for instilling in her some of the characteristics he helped bring out in his former students. “When I came to Colorado, confidence was my biggest issue,” McPhie said. “(Dowling) gave me the belief I could ski well every day.”
McPhie will continue training with Team Summit for the rest of the winter. In May, she will begin training with the national team. With a major hurdle behind her, McPhie will start looking toward her next set of goals, including a possible spot on the U.S. Olympic team.”The Olympics would be great, but I’m not really thinking about that right now,” McPhie said. Dowling believes the 2006 Olympics, in Turin, Italy, are not out of the question for McPhie.”Making the Olympics is not impossible at all,” Dowling said. “She’s got her work cut out for her, but no one has secured an Olympic spot yet.”
McPhie will also be able to qualify for World Cup competitions next year. Dowling feels his newest star student is ready for the big time. “It’s always been our philosophy by the time you make World Cup, you need to be prepared to do it all yourself,” Dowling said. “She’s ready.”Andy Frame can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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