Steamboat Springs, CO – Sixteen-year-old Zoe Taylor of the USA skied to first place in the World Cup Parallel Sprint race in Steamboat Springs on Friday, the first U.S. victory on the telemark skiing World Cup since Cody Thompson of Whitefish, Mont., won a Classic race in 2000.
Taylor, of Atlanta, Ga., has moved to Steamboat Springs for each of the last three winters to train at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. She began skiing when she was two years old in Vail, Colo., and was introduced to telemark at age six. By the time she was 14 she was named to the U.S. Development Team and she now is a member of the U.S. Telemark A-Team.
The Parallel Sprint Classic is a new World Cup event this year and Friday’s race was just the third race of its kind to be contested at the World Cup level, following two in Norway earlier in the month. All competitors ski two qualification runs before the top eight women and top 16 men qualify for the final rounds of head to head competition. They start at the same time and ski two parallel courses, with gates set just six meters apart, launch over a jump, and race through more gates. At the bottom of the hill they enter a single 360-degree turn, often jockeying for the best position, similar to skier cross. The racers then skate to the finish line.
After the qualifying rounds, four U.S. racers on Friday advanced to the final rounds. Taylor, Madi McKinstry and Charlie Dresen of Steamboat Springs, and Cory Snyder of Franconia, N.H., all advanced to the final rounds but were eliminated after the first round of the finals.
FIS Telemark World Cup
Steamboat Springs, CO – Feb. 17, 2012
1. Zoe Taylor (USA)
2. Laura Genier-Soliget (FRA)
3. Julie Duedahl (DAN)
1. Phillipe Lau (FRA)
2. Bastien Dayer (SUI)
3. Tobias Muller (GER)