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Skiing - 21. January 2008.

World Cup Rookie of the Year mogul skier Heather McPhie

CHAMPION Q & A: HEATHER MCPHIE


Sixth in her first World Cup of the season, she went from top-10 to a top-5 result a week later at Utah's Deer Valley Resort. The Bridger Bowl (Bozeman, MT) skier went on to compete in her first FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships, producing two more top-10s. Watch her Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. ET when NBC televises coverage of the World Cup moguls event from the Nature Valley Freestyle Cup at Whiteface Mountain outside Lake Placid, NY.


You were mixing studies at Westminster College with training. How did your preseason go?
The preseason went really well. I focused on my skiing, things like picking my path through the moguls and my pole plants. By the second or third day in Chile [in August] we had a full mogul course and things were just so organized. Our fall camp [at Winter Park, CO, in early December] was just the opposite due to [lack of] snow. But the coaches did an amazing job of giving us something to do every day so we still got the most out of the camp. And our team dynamics, our team togetherness is just so great now. I'm really excited about that.


You've talked about greater team dynamics. How did that situation build?
Scott [Rawles, moguls head coach] has incorporated the whole Team into what we do. He's having us become such a cohesive unit. We're all in it together. We travel together and eat together. We've become so supportive of each other.


Did this come together naturally?
There's such good communication. It started at the top because the coaches are such good friends. And we have some great personalities with the athletes, so now we're all learning so much more about each other. We've got more in common than just being mogul skiers.


No World Championships this season, so what are your goals?
I've been working on strong exits out of the top air [jump] because that's always steeper and harder than the bottom air. And then getting a big lift on my D-spin [off-axis, double rotation]. I really want to show that trick off. Of course, I keep working my time and keeping my hips forward. If I do those things, the results will come and I can move from 5-10 into the top five.


How easy was your transition last season to the World Cup?
I was discretioned [a coaches' pick] to that first World Cup at Mont Gabriel, so I went in with the attitude 'Hey, I've got nothing to lose. They gave me start, so let's see how I do.' I was sixth and thought, 'Holy cow! I am a World Cup skier.' So, I went into Deer Valley with the same confidence and nothing-to-lose-attitude. And then getting fourth and having so many family and friends and supporters there was pretty special. I still had to learn about the mental, but I learned a lot about the skiing in a hurry.


Click here to read more Q & A with Heather.

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