Is there more Ballachey’s homecoming? |

Is there more Ballachey’s homecoming?

Talk about your storybook possibilities.

Brooke Ballachey, a third-year U.S. Freestyle Ski Team member, comes home to the mountain – Heavenly Ski Resort – that launched her mogul skiing career.

The 5-foot-11 Ballachey has been climbing the World Cup podium step by step the past two years and potentially – if the story reaches its potential – could combine a homecoming and her first World Cup victory all in the same weekend.

“I thought for the longest time it was going to be easier to come home and but as it gets closer I get more and more nervous, but it will be good to be comfortable with the surrounding, knowing where I’m going and what I’m doing,” said Ballachey, who will compete in Saturday’s mogul event.

For a relative novice on the team, the 19-year-old Ballachey has made a quick progession up the bump chart. Within a 48-hour period last year, Ballachey shocked coaches and teammates with second- and third-place showings in dual moguls in Chatel, France. Amazingly, it was her first taste of competition in Europe.

“The whole experience in Europe was a lot of fun. I’d never been there, so to go over there was just so much fun. I never put pressure on myself. I just ski and whatever happens, happens. And it went well,” said Ballachey, who was coming back from a torn ACL at the time. “I’m sure people will have more expectations for me this season, but I don’t think about it. If they do, they do.”

After a disappointing start to the season with a 20th-place finish at Mount Tremblant, Quebec, Jan. 9-10 – a competition she could have bypassed because of a gruesome case of frostbite – Ballachey again showed her promise by placing fourth in duals last weekend in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

“I was in so much pain in Quebec. My skin peeled over the toe nail,” said Ballachey, who came back from a training run in negative digits with blood in her boot. “I wasn’t thinking much about the competition in Quebec. It wasn’t the best skiing I’ve done, but it was good to finally get into the gate and start the World Cup tour.

“I have been improving, but at the same time it feels like I’ve been injury prone. I’d like to ski at another level, but I’ve had all these nagging injuries that have been holding me back.”

The humble and hardworking Ballachey credits much of her success to coaches and her past and existing veteran teammates, including Ann Battelle, Liz McIntyre and Donna Weinbrecht.

“The resourses gained from all those women are amazing. They taught me a lot, and now it’s amazing having Liz as a coach because she’s taking all that experience and passing it on,” she said.

After taking giant World Cup podium strides up the third and second stairs, Ballachey is ready to take the next step.

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