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Ballachy, Ramos have historic day

Tribune and U.S. Skiing Reports

Brooke Ballachey and Travis Ramos made South Lake Tahoe history in freestyle mogul skiing on Saturday.

The teen-agers became the first bump skiers from the South Shore to podium in a World Cup event. Ballachey proved it was no fluke Monday, doing it twice in a three-day span.

On Saturday, Ballachey, 18, and Ramos, 19, made smashing European World Cup debuts, leading the American contingent by finishing third in a dual moguls competition in Chatel, France.

Reigning World Cup champion Candice Gilg edged Marja Elfman to win the second dual moguls event of the season, with Ballachey taking third after bumping off Austrian Marga Marbler-Olejnikova.

In the men’s finals, Frenchman Johann Gregoire stopped Sweden’s Kurre Lansburgh, with Ramos outdueling France’s Gregory Lecaillon for his podium spot.

“It was a great performance two young skiers who unquestionably are a solid part of the future of our moguls program,” said U.S. Freestyle Coach Jeff Good. “Travis and Brooke had a good chance to show what they can do, and they took advantage of that opportunity. They’re both strong technical skiers and they stood out on a tough, technical course.”

Ballachey missed most of last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee, but she’s bounced back quickly and hasn’t missed any action this season.

“It was fun today, but I’m in shock,” she said. “I was quite nervous in some of the duals as I don’t like skiing neck and neck with people.

“I think the fact that I ski fast and direct helped me a lot in the duals, and I’m very focused on the run and don’t think of anything when I am in the start gate.”

Ballachey was even better on Monday in the second dual moguls event in 48 hours. She finished second to Sweden’s Marja Elfman in Chatel after the competition was moved because of poor snow conditions in Meiringen, Sweden.

“I can’t believe it. I thought it was a fluke when I was third the other day, so I’m amazed to be on the podium again,” she said. “I’m so excited to be here in Europe and competing in such a beautiful place. I’m having so much fun.”

Her European World Cup success has alleviated some pressure.

“I used to put a lot of pressure on myself a year ago, but now I have the philosophy that I only have to answer to myself and everything is a lot easier,” said Ballachey, who gave an indication of things to come by recently taking silver and bronze medals in a pair of Nor Am events in Boise, Idaho. “I always push myself to go faster and duals definitely helps that, especially when you have someone skiing close beside you.”

Ramos, whose previous-best World Cup finish was a seventh in Breckenridge, Colo., in January, was obviously pleased with his result.

“This was my best-ever result and it’s only my sixth World Cup,” he said. “I feel like I’m on a roll as I’ve been moving up each week.

“I’m dedicating this (podium) to the people of Lake Tahoe who have been so supportive of me and really helped my skiing career. I felt like a soldier going but knowing that everyone back home is cheering me on (helped me).”

Ramos was happy to demonstrate some of his World Cup potential.

“It’s not a surprise to me as I’ve been working really hard and have been really consistent this season. The problem has been getting opportunities to compete as the U.S. Team is so competitive,”Ramos said.

While Olympic moguls gold medalist Jonny Moseley was back home at Squaw Valley having a run named after him, Ramos was attributing some of their skiing to his success on Saturday.

“We skied steeps all the time, so I’m used to more technical skiing. Today, the course was more technically demanding than usual, which I think was in my favor,” he said.

Ramos followed up his bronze-medal performance by placing an American-best ninth in dual moguls on Monday in Chatel.

“I definitely felt more pressure today after my bronze medal (Saturday) because I didn’t want to be seen as a one-shot wonder,” he said. “However, I’m happy with the way I skied and actually think my technique was stronger today than the other day. But everyone was skiing a lot faster and stronger as they’re used to the course. We still have a few events to go in Europe, so I plan to capitalize on that and get some more good results.

Note: Evan Dybvig, who competed for the U.S. in moguls at the Winter Games last month in Nagano, Japan, broke a leg in training and returned home.

AGATE

Freestyle World Cup Dual Moguls

At Chatel, France

March 2

WOMEN

1. Marja Elfman, Sweden; 2. Brooke Ballachey, South Lake Tahoe; 3. Ann-Marie Pelchat, Canada; 4. Jose Charbonneau, Canada.

Other Americans

5. (tie) Liz McIntyre, Winter Park, Colo.; 9. (tie) Ann Battelle, Steamboat Springs, Colo.; 17. (tie) Jillian Vogtli, Ellivotville, N.Y.

MEN

1. Fabrice Ougier, France; 2. Adrian Costa, Australia; 3. Stephane Rochon, Canada; 4. Pierre Alexander Rousseau, Canada.

Other Americans

9. (tie) Travis Ramos, South Lake Tahoe; 17. (tie) Garth Hager, Bothell, Wash.

Feb. 28

At Chatel, France

WOMEN

1. Candice Gilg, France; 2. Marja Elfman, Sweden; 3. Brooke Ballachey, South Lake Tahoe; 4. Marga Marbler-Olejnikova, Austria; 5. (tie) Gabriele Rauscher, Germany; Kari Traa, Norway; Corinne Bodmer, Switzerland; Jenny Eidolf, Sweden; 9. (tie) Ann Battelle, Steamboat Springs, Colo.; Maria Despas, Australia; Josee Charbonneau, Canada; Minna Karhu, Finland; Petra Moroder, Italy; Anne-Marie Pelchat, Canada; Sara Kjellin, Sweden.

Other American

17. (tie) Liz McIntyre, Winter Park, Colo.

MEN

1. Johann Gregoire, France; 2. Kurre Lansburgh, Sweden; 3. Travis Ramos, South Lake Tahoe; 4. Gregory Lecaillon, France; 5. (tie) Jean-Luc Brassard, Canada; Stephane Rochon, Canada; Fabrice Ougier, France; Jay Caughan, Canada; 9. (tie) Adrian Costa, Australia; Harald Marbler, Austria; Lauri Lassila, Finland; Sami Mustonen, Finland; Richard Gray, France; Stian Overa, Norway; Anders Jonell, Sweden; Ivo Lutolf, Switzerland.

Jo

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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