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Bumping at Northstar

Sam Bauman

The snow came and came and came as the first International Mogul Association bumps race was held at Northstar-at-Tahoe Sunday amid winds and endless delays, but in the end spectators were treated to some superb skiing as former U.S. Ski Team members Sean Smith and Anne Dowling bumped and jumped their way to first-place finishes.

For their efforts Smith, of Park City, Utah, picked up $5,000 and Dowling, Breckenridge, Colo., $2,000, thanks to sponsor Paul Mitchell of hair care fame. Total purse was $25,000.

The men’s finals pitted Smith against Canadian Marc McDonnell of Whistler, B.C., who had held the No. 2 spot in the overall season tallies. This was Smith’s first pro mogul appearance.

A surprise third was the youngest racer in the IMA circuit, Ean Smith, of Eugene, Ore., who had been seventh in the overall standings. The biggest upset of the day was the loss by John Smart of Canada in the first round of 34 who had held the No. 1 overall spot.

In the women’s division, Dowling, last year’s Grand Prix points champ, outbumped world pro mogul champion Patti Sherman-Kauf, of Vail, Colo., in a head-to-head final duel. Kelli Brausch, also of Vail, was third in the field of eight women.

The event was held in blowing snow on a course 800 feet long, giving spectators an excellent view of the charging racers, their legs pumping and bodies almost frozen as they navigated the soft, roughly defined course with two jumps. Format was dual runs with elimination after one loss, except for the women who used a best two-out-of-three.

An unusual judging format was used with five judges, for air, turns, speed and overall, holding up red or blue paddles to signify which blue or red course racer had won their vote. Majority ruled.

Other top finishers were Yves L’Italien of Quebec, fourth; Jarrod Semmens of Tahoe City, fifth; Christian Marcoux of Quebec, sixth; Todd Schirman of Park City, seventh; and Glen Mittendorfer of Whistler eighth.

Lori Dvorak of Breckenridge, Colo., was fourth in the women’s division.


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