Hernandez done with aerials – for now
Maybe it’s appropriate South Lake Tahoe freestyle skier Chris Hernandez did aerials Friday for a lark, because he sure flew like one.
Hernandez’s lark paid off, when he won the USSA Far West Division aerials event – one he grabbed his helmet for and entered for fun. But now he has turned his attention to more serious matters, like the U.S. Freestyle Championships March 24-26 in Sunday River, Maine.
“It was all right,” Hernandez said of the two-day aerials competition at Squaw Valley USA, the first – and last – two aerials events for the Far West this season. “I won one event (Friday), and the other (Saturday), I tried a 1080 and crashed into the fence a couple of times.
“I just did it because it was fun, something different.” Hernandez said.
But the 21-year-old Heavenly Ski Foundation alumnus will be back on the bumpy road to bigger moguls events. By finishing third in the Nor Am Freestyle finals last month in Bogus Basin, Idaho, Hernandez took third in moguls, placing him second overall in the Nor Am Grand Prix standings. While Hernandez just missed the automatic bid the first-place Grand Prix skier receives, he had very positive feedback about his finish.
“Definitely, I felt good about it,” Hernandez said. “It went the way I wanted it to.”
Hernandez is home in South Lake Tahoe for two weeks. But after the brief rest from a nonstop five weeks of competition, he’ll hit the road March 20 for the U.S. Championships. While Hernandez hasn’t had the World Cup starts some of the more established freestylers have enjoyed, he has improved his skiing this season, and will continue to train at Heavenly with HSF bumps coach Jere Crawford. Hernandez made a splash in his first year on the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Bumps & Jumps tour, and added some prize money in a Squaw Valley USA skiercross with South Shore snowboarder Shaun Palmer.
“Definitely, I feel good, like my skiing’s better than it’s ever been this year, so I feel good going into it,” Hernandez said.
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