Author of Story: Elizabeth Karam with US SkiTeam News/USSA.ORG
Invasion on Lower Main Street
NIGHTTIME ON LOWER MAIN STREET (Feb. 2) – What do flags, athletes, trampolines, a chicken and a concert have in common? Any takers? And no, this isn’t a trick question. Ding, ding! The correct answer is the 2011 FIS World Freestyle Ski Championships opening ceremony.
With low single digit temperatures – and by low I mean two degrees, which is a plus from this morning’s -20 degree temps – the town of Park City bundled up and came out to cheer on the World Championship teams as they paraded down lower Main Street.
Like the saying goes, “save the best for last,” the host U.S. team closed out the parade with Olympic champ and newly crowned silver medalist Hannah Kearney waving the red, white and blue to a chanting “USA” crowd. The crowd ranged in ages – there were little tykes and older folks showing their support.
“I’ve seen a couple of friends,” said X Games gold medalist Alex Schlopy who is in Thursday’s slopestyle finals debut. “It’s kind of cold out, which is typical Park City winter weather.”
“I got involved with that [the USA chant],” said a smiling Matt DePeters after the parade when he was standing with his family.
Amidst the “see your breath” kind of air was a buzz surrounding the athletes and fans. Little kids were taking full advantage of the perfect photo opp with heroes like Kearney, World Champion Ryan St. Onge, Schlopy and X Games champ John Teller.
But if you weren’t looking close enough – you would have missed some of the coolest sights. Skicross athlete Pat Duran, after a little encouragement, took a picture with a man dressed up as a chicken. Aerialist Dylan Ferguson was spotted busting a move to some serious beats. Scotty Bahrke was interviewed by Swiss fellow aerialist Renato Ulrich and halfpipe skiing superstar Jen Hudak led the USA chant. The 313 athletes from 36 countries were also mystified by the live Flying Ace All Stars performance shouting “oh no” and “sick” as they bounced, flipped and twisted into the sky.
However, what was most impressive about the taking over lower Main Street, was the camaraderie amongst the teams and the fans that braved the frostbite to cheer on the World Championship athletes.
“There are a lot of good fans ,” said Duran. “They know good skiing because they’ve had so many major events.”
But, like all good things, the opening ceremony came to end with athletes taking an early exit to get some serious R and R (rest and relaxation) before events kick off again in the morning. A few hung around to hear Julian Marley, but not many were left by time the fireworks lit up the Park City skies.
So, until tomorrow (slopestyle finals are in the a.m. followed by skicross and aerials qualis) – good night.