Eagle-Vail’s Chris Del Bosco wins World Cup ski cross opener
VAL THORENS, France — Here comes the boom.
That was the expression used by Chris Del Bosco’s ski pals on freeskiing days in Vail as they were growing up. Everyone knew Del Bosco was going to do something bigger, faster or riskier.
Now 35, Del Bosco can still bring the boom, as he notched his 10th career World Cup win during the season opener at Val Thorens, France, on Thursday, Dec. 7.
“Today was a good day! Man I love racing,” Del Bosco posted on Facebook. “The @stoeckli_1935’s were running, managed to battle through the rounds and take the win in @val_thorens! Couldn’t have done it without the hard work and support from the whole Canada Ski Cross Alpine Canada Alpine team. Can’t wait for the next one on Saturday.”
While any World Cup win is big, it’s Olympic qualifying season with Pyeongchang, South Korea, approaching in February. Coming off an injury-marred 2016-17 season, and with ski cross’ compressed December schedule looming — there are four more World Cups before Christmas — Del Bosco, a two time Olympian, wants to get on a roll to qualify for a third time.
As Del Bosco was growing up here, he seemed destined for success with the U.S. Ski Team, before his substance abuse got him booted from the squad. After much trial and travail, he found a home in the world of ski cross, racing where four or six athletes simultaneously go down a course littered with obstacles. With his father, Armando, a dual citizen of both the United States and Canada, Chris got a second chance with the Canadian Ski Cross Team, and has flourished.
A two-time X Games champion with a 2011 FIS Alpine World Freestyle Ski Championships ski cross gold medal, Del Bosco has done just about everything there is to do in the sport with two exceptions.
He wants an Olympic medal and World Cup ski cross season title.
Del Bosco made the big final, the final four, during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, crashing while attempting to win the race in the final stretch. In 2014, he didn’t make it out of the first heat.
Del Bosco has been second in the points four times during his career, most recently the 2015-16 season. His 2016-17 season was marred by a knee injury. After finishing 12th in the standings, Del Bosco got his knee scoped, and the damage was worse than originally thought.
Despite a forecast that he wouldn’t be ready until October, Del Bosco was on a mountain bike — his summer sport of choice — in August.
He had limited snow training this season, but seems ready to go.
“I was injured halfway through last season but I rode it to the end and had surgery when it was all over,” Del Bosco told fis-ski.com. “So I only got back on snow three weeks ago and just got back up to speed quick. But I like doing it like that. I knew I’d be ready, and I was.”
Winning every heat
Despite what he thought was a rough two days of training, Del Bosco won every heat on Thursday. In the final, he did not get the hole shot, the lead out of the start.
However, he ran down France’s Arnaud Bolaventa over some rollers and then did what he does best — use his big body to cruise and block out the Frenchman from a pass.
“Once I was in the race, from that first run, I was feeling good,” Del Bosco said to fis-ski.com. “It’s tough being out front here, you’ve gotta protect your lines and that affects your exit speeds out of the turns, but I just kept battling and got the win. I’m super stoked.”
And it certainly can’t hurt Del Bosco in his quest to make the Canadian Olympic Team for a third time. The Canadian Freestyle Ski Team does not guarantee every discipline (aerials, moguls and ski cross) a specific number of spots. Canada takes the best performers, regardless of specialization, so it’s a scramble for all athletes, including Del Bosco, to prove their bonafides before the selections are made in late January.
Val Thorens holds another World Cup ski cross on Saturday, Dec. 9, before the tour heads to Switzerland next week.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.