Monday, December 24, 2012

Vail's Kloser gets first World Cup podium

Vail's Kloser gets first World Cup podium

Vail native, moguls skier finishes second in Kreischberg

Heidi Kloser, of Vail, jumps during the women's freestyle World Cup dual moguls skiing competition in Kreischberg, Austria, on Saturday. Kloser placed second.
Heidi Kloser, of Vail, jumps during the women's freestyle World Cup dual moguls skiing competition in Kreischberg, Austria, on Saturday. Kloser placed second.
AP photo
VAIL — When Vail residents Mike and Emily Kloser get an early morning phone call from their daughter Heidi overseas, they never know what to expect.

But in Saturday's 7:30 a.m. call from Austria, they received some of the best news they've ever heard from Heidi — she'd made the podium in a World Cup event.

“This call was one you wake up to and are extremely happy to hear the news,” Mike Kloser said on Saturday afternoon. “We're incredibly excited for Heidi.”

The second-place finish — Kloser's first podium in World Cup competition — came after another top-10 finish last weekend, a seventh-place effort at the season opener in Ruka, Finland.

Kloser told her parents that her outstanding qualifying run, and the Kreischberg course itself (one of the flatter on the circuit), had her feeling good about her chances going into the finals. 

“I qualified second, which is the highest I've ever qualified, so I went into finals really excited,” she said.

Dual moguls World Cup competition pits athletes against each other in a head-to-head format on a jump-and-bump course, with judges scoring the athletes on technical turns, speed and aeriel maneuvers to determine a winner. Some formats have mogul skiers side-by-side only in the final rounds, with a seeding system used to determine those finals, but the format used at Kreischberg on Saturday was similar to NCAA basketball, where competitors were seeded down to a field of 16, followed by four rounds of duals.

Kloser went head-to-head against her teammate Eliza Outtrim in the round of 16, besting her to make it to the round of eight where she defeated the Canadian Chloe Dufour-Lapointe. In the final four, Kloser knocked out Austrian Brittney Cox to qualify second into the final round against teammate Heather McPhie. 

“I had a bit of a sloppy run against Heather, but I'm really happy with my second-place finish,” she said.

McPhie is undefeated in dual moguls so far this season, winning every matchup in Ruka, as well, where she defeated Kloser in the round of eight.

“It was great going into finals with Heidi,” McPhie said after the event. “When I saw her coming up the cat, I couldn't have been more excited for her.”

Moguls coach Garth Hager said the finish was one of the best he's ever seen.

“Both Heather and Heidi were very consistent today in trusting their speed into the bottom jump where they were able to make up ground,” he said. “They trusted their skiing and didn't worry about what anyone else was doing. In doing that they were able to make the bottom as clean and fast as they could.”

McPhie knew that for Kloser, qualifying for finals with a guaranteed podium was a milestone accomplishment for the young skier. McPhie, 28, has eight years seniority on Kloser, who just turned 20 in September. In Ruka, McPhie defeated Kloser in the round of eight

“As soon as I saw her, I told her ‘I'm going to be competitive in about five minutes, but right now I'm so stoked for you,” McPhie said. “The U.S. is killing it right now, and this was a great Christmas present for all of us!”

Kloser, McPhie and the rest of the Americans will get to spend Christmas at home in the U.S., with the European wing of moguls competition over for now.

“We're so excited that Heidi will be here for Christmas,” Mike Kloser said. “She'll work with the Ski Club Vail coaches here during the break and also help coach some of the young athletes.”

Kloser will return to competition Jan. 17 with a World Cup moguls event in Lake Placid, N.Y. 

Thanks to the Vail Daily for the article. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fall Training

After we got back from Switzerland we got a few snow storms and I thought that it would just continue to snow, but it did not. We played a waiting game for a while, got to ski some flats at A-basin for a few days, then Ski and Snowboard Club Vail blew snow on Golden Peak for clubs to train on. They built a short mogul lane with a jump for the mogul skiers, and it was great to have that to train on. I was able to concentrate on a few things that I need to work on in the moguls and jumps as well. It was pretty nice to be at home and get ready for the season, continue strength training and skiing without having to drive all over the place. I also got to bounce tramp at the new acrobatics center at the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy. It is so cool that they have an acrobatics center in a public school! I really wish that they had that room when I went to school there, but fortunately I still get to train there. 

I was hoping that we would get to train on a full course at Wolf Creek ski resort but unfortunately they did not get the kind of snow that they got last year and we had to cancel our camp there. I trained a few more days on Vail before Thanksgiving. I headed over to Aspen on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving with my family. We stayed at my grandparents cabin on the backside of Aspen mountain, there was not a much snow there as there normally is this time of year, so we did not get to do all of the activities that we wanted to do. We stayed in Aspen for a few days, and I got to watch the women's alpine world cup. It was great to be there to support my friends on the alpine team and watch them race. I had never been to the women's alpine world cup before, I had seen the men at Birds of Prey, so I was happy that it worked out well and I got to watch them race. 

After Thanksgiving I went back to Vail for a few days, did some more training and decided to head out to Utah for a little team camp that was taking place of the Wolf Creek camp. I got a lot of jumping in at Snowbird and the Utah Olympic Park. It was nice to work with the team coaches and see some of my friends in Utah again. 

I have had great training this fall, and I am really looking forward to the first world cup in Ruka Finland.