The Discoe brothers embarked on the first leg of the North American Cup (NorAm) tour recently, earning top finishes at the Canadian-hosted events.
“They were up against extremely tough competition,” said Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club head freestyle coach Caleb Martin, who traveled to Mont Gabriel Jan. 24-25 and Bal Saint-Come in Canada last weekend. Jimmy finished out the NorAm mogul marathon with 11th and eighth place finishes, while brother Joe took home a podium third place result.
“Just to make it to the finals you have to ski a super clean run – one mistake and you’re out,” said Martin. “At these high level events anyone who makes it into the finals has the potential to win the event.”
The two-event trip proved a bright start to the Discoes’ season in the NorAms, a high-level competition series ranked just one level below the World Cup. In Mont Gabriel, Jimmy turned on the heat despite frigid temperatures to qualify sixth out of nearly 55 competitors in the semi finals on single moguls day, finishing 11th overall in the finals. The U.S. swept the top three spots, with David Babic, Jay Bowman-Kirigin (both World Cup skiers) and Bryon Wilson taking the podium.
In the duals contest, Jimmy qualified for the 16-man finals in eighth place, then lost to his rival in the second dual to finish in a tie for fifth.
Joe suffered a minor concussion in training the morning before the singles event, and thus sat out his first NorAm contest of the 2006-07 season.
Six days out of the saddle didn’t cause Joe’s skiing to suffer in the slightest; in fact, the time spent training at Lake Placid’s Olympic Center between events proved rejuvenating for him. He came back after the injury the following week to demolish the Bal Saint-Come course deep in Canada’s French-speaking territory. At the singles event, Joe took a beeline straight to the top of the field finishing second in the qualification round, then placed on the podium in third in the finals behind event-winner Bryon Wilson (U.S.) and Japan’s Keita Hiroshima in second.
Jimmy also found his stride at Saint-Come, qualifying fifth in the first round and finishing eighth overall in the finals.
Both skiers qualified for the 16-man duals field after placing fifth (Jimmy) and seventh (Joe) in the preliminary singles round. Joe won his first dual then fell behind in his second to finish in a tie for fifth. Jimmy faced a tough draw in the first round, dueling against eventual event winner Holt Haga, to finish in a tie for ninth.
Both boys’ performances in Canada in the last weeks put them in contending position for high ranking in the NorAm points system. The NorAm Cup skier with the most points accumulated from three of four events will be awarded a spot on the U.S. Team and given a start in the World Cup finals at the end of the season. The Discoes will have two more opportunities to accumulate points in upcoming events, traveling to Tamarack, Id., and Missoula, Mont., in the next weeks for NorAm contests.
“It was a good start to the tour, but they definitely can ski better,” said Martin. “They’re still looking to take it to that next level in the finals right now – going just a little faster and a little bigger.”
In other freestyle news, three of the TSSC freestyle team’s young mogul skiers dominated their competition at a Devo mogul contest in Aspen last weekend. A total of 126 competitors came out for the event, a stepping-stone contest designed for the sport’s younger skiers (ages 8-12). In their field of 25 M5 boys, Telluride skiers Morgan Osbourne and Zak Nunn took first and third, respectively, while teammate Kealey Zaumseil finished third in the F5 division.
Telluride’s younger bump skiers will have a chance to shine on their home course as the Southwest Mogul Tour returns to Telluride Feb. 24-25. The following weekend, Telluride will host the Rocky Mountain Freestyle’s Divisional Championship.