Double champ: Barhke, Cabral win World Cup championships
Shannon Bahrke of Tahoe City and Travis Cabral of South Lake Tahoe traveled the world to take on all freestyle comers and will return home with fitting trophies- globes.
The Lake Tahoe bump skiers won individual World Cup moguls titles on the final day of the season Saturday in Voss, Norway.
Bahrke, the silver medalist at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, enjoyed clinching her first moguls title in the hometown of moguls queen Kari Traa.
“Kari’s been coming to my country for four years and kicking my butt, so I think it was time I paid her back,” Bahrke said with a grin. “I think Kari really felt the pressure to do well at home, too.”
Bahrke won the final mogul World Cup for the season against Traa, the heavily favored hometown heroine, who came in third. She edged the Olympic champ, who won her second straight World Championships gold medals in moguls and duals just a month ago at Utah’s Deer Valley Resort, by eight points in the season series.
It had been a horse race for most of the season as Traa and Bahrke traded off-and-on the yellow leader bib.
“It’s so cool, just amazing,” said Bahrke, who not only wore her signature red, white and blue glitter but threw in some purple and gray to vary the palette. “It was really tough, though. I mean, it was such a big hill to climb- Kari’s hometown. I took a breath and said, ‘Wow, you can do it’ and I just took it step by step. The conditions were really difficult: icy and the sun never got on it, but today were the best conditions we had all week.”
Cabral was nearly speechless.
“It’s awesome. I don’t think it’s quite set in,” Cabral said a couple of hours later. “Jeremy (Bloom) told me it’d be a big feeling … and it is.”
Cabral, by finishing sixth Saturday, eclipsed Canadian Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau by 12 points for the men’s moguls title. He trailed the Canadian entering the final weekend.
He succeeds Jeremy Bloom- his roommate in Voss- as the men’s champ.
The title helps erase some of the frustration Cabral felt at the world championships at Deer Valley when he failed to medal after leading the moguls qualifying.
“This was a goal and Worlds was, too. Worlds was a tough time for me, but this is a dream, something I’ve wanted for some time,” said the 19-year-old who grew up skiing at Sierra-at-Tahoe.
After winning his first U.S. Nationals title at 15 in 1999, Cabral has always found a way to be ahead of the progression curve.
“I’ve had a few things where I was the youngest to do it and hopefully this is just the beginning,” said Cabral, the first South Shore skier to ever win a season series. “My ultimate goal, of course, is to do it at the Olympics and I’ve got a few years to get used to (being a contender).”
Cabral said he is already looking forward to defending his title next season.
“It’s good to know I can do it and it’ll be nice next season when the first event comes around I’m wearing the yellow bib, just a reminder that I’ve done it before and I can do it again,” Cabral said.
It was only the second time in history the U.S. has swept the Cups. In 1986, Mary Jo Tiampo and Steve Desovich each won World Cup moguls titles.
In the duals on Sunday, Reno’s Shelly Robertson made her first podium appearance of her World Cup career by taking third.
Robertson, savoring the best season of her career and just promoted to B Team after skiing well enough to qualify for the World Championships and posting strong results all season, defeated Canadian Kristi Richards.
Traa took first, winning the duals title for the second year in a row, beating out Japan’s Aiko Uemura.
Barhke finished tied for ninth with Jillian Vogtli, of Ellicotville, NY.
Laurel Shanley, also promoted from the C Team to the B Team, finished tied for 17th.
Barhke finished the season with 684 World Cup points, Traa with 676 in second and Margarita Marbler, of Austria took third with 612.
Robertson finished 12th with 460 points and Shanley was 19th with 300.
The men’s team closed the season with five in the top 10: Cabral as champion, Olympic medalist Travis Mayer third, Worlds moguls and duals medalist Toby Dawson in fourth place, Luke Westerlund seventh and World Cup rookie David Babic eighth.
On the men’s side, Cabral finished with 628 points, Canadian Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau was second with 616 and Travis Mayer, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., is third with 616.
Chris Hernandez, also of South Lake Tahoe, was 26th with 180 points.
In other World Cup news, Squaw’s Julia Mancuso took 11th in
Innsbruck, Austria, at 1:32.88. in overall points, she stands in 25th in Super G standings with 53 points after seven races with one remaining. She’s 38th overall.
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While America’s top alpine racer, Mikaela Shiffrin, raced to a pair of second-place finishes at last weekend’s World Cup slalom event in Levi, Finland, things wouldn’t go as well for a trio of Tahoe skiers.