Deer Valley has become Cabral’s home away from home
If his World Cup competitors didn’t know any better, they’d believe that Travis Cabral grew up skiing at Deer Valley Resort.
The 19-year-old is at home at the Utah ski resort as he is at Sierra-at-Tahoe near South Lake Tahoe.
Cabral, a two-time World Cup winner in 2002-03, will try to add to his growing success at Deer Valley when he competes in the finals of the FIS World Freestyle Championships on Friday.
Cabral goes into the finals as the top men’s seed after leading the qualifying round Wednesday. His score of 26.77 was .6 higher than runner-up Mikko Ronkainen of Finland.
In addition to recording the top qualifying score, Deer Valley also is the site of Cabral becoming the youngest national champion at 15 in 1998 and its the place he made his World Cup debut.
The venue brings out the best in Cabral, not that he isn’t becoming a dominant force elsewhere in the world.
“I like this course a lot; it’s a tough course and it’s hard on the body,” Cabral said.
Who knows what Cabral could have done last year had he qualified for the Winter Games and had the chance to compete on one of his favorite courses.
“If I was having the year I’m having thie year, it would have been no problem,” he said.
Before the Games began, Cabral was invited by the U.S. team to forerun the Olympic moguls contest. His run went so well that he can only wonder how it would have stacked up against the medalists.
‘I haven’t seen (a tape of my) forerun, but it definitely was up there,” Cabral said.His worst experience at Deer Valley nearly made him an Olympian. During his run at the Gold Cup, where the winner receives an automatic spot on the Olympic team, he crashed on the bottom air.
“I skied awesome up until bottom air,” Cabral said.
Even though he made it look easy on Wednesday, Cabral isn’t taking anything for granted going into Friday’s finals.
“It’s going to be tough going into finals. There are 16 good skiers who can win,” Cabral said. “I’m hoping I can lay down a great run, switch up my airs, do what I have to do and hopefully end up on top.”
By virtue of winning the qualifying round, Cabral will be the last competitor to perform his run.
“I always like going last, but sometimes that can get into your head if you let it. You know everybody in front of you is going to go all out and you have to see them all go,” Cabral said.
Defending World Cup champion Jeremy Bloom put it a different way as he was pleading with Cabral to get off the phone so they could go to dinner Wednesday night.
“You’re on the hot seat,” Bloom told Cabral.
NBC will televise the moguls and aerials events Saturday and Sunday.
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