Fontaine runs gauntlet in tough field for three-peat
Canadian Nicolas Fontaine pulled off the hat trick Saturday at Heavenly Ski Resort by winning the Bumps & Jumps aerials for the third straight year and winding up his season in superb form.
“I came here ready to give it everything I had,” said a delighted Fontaine after the final scores were announced. “You need to be strong to win this event and I guess I was.”
Strong is the right word, as to wind up No. 1 Fontaine had to first go through the flight of 10 aerialists, then a flight of six and then with the last three to the title. That’s six jumps, two in each elimination and each one with the potential for a disaster.
Fontaine scored 126.38 points, Joe Pack of the U.S. second at 122.15 and Brian Currutt of the U.S. third at 114.82.
Fourth was Britt Swartley, U.S., fifth was Dmitri Dashinski of Belorus and Kris Feddersen was sixth.
Dashinski, who won the World Cup aerials event at Heavenly in January, was well on his way to winning again until in the semifinals he fell on landing and didn’t finish. But his jump, a full-full-full was as spectacular as anyone came up with during the event.
Surprisingly, Nagano Olympic gold medal winner Eric Bergoust finished last in the Bumps & Jumps with a score of 171.64. Both of landings were botched which cost him dearly as 30 percent of the total score is based on landing.
It was a cold, windy day with scattered snowshowers for the event, but spectators stuck it out to the end. In return, they got to see some of the highest jumps and neatest acrobatics since the World Cup event at Heavenly.
Fontaine not only took home a purse of $8,000 and a brand new 1999 Chevy Blazer. With earlier winnings of $8,500 he racked up a total of $16,500 plus the car.
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After more than 70 years of operating with a term deemed derogatory by many Native Americans, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has changed its name to Palisades Tahoe.