Skiing: Earth to Cloud Nine. Do You Read?

Outside magazine, May 1995

Skiing: Earth to Cloud Nine. Do You Read?
By Todd Balf

In explaining his hard-fought victory in the combined moguls-ballet-aerials event last February at the World Freestyle Ski Championships in La Clusaz, France, Minnesotan Trace Worthington noted that he'd chosen to "play it safe." For onlookers, that description was a bit mystifying, since they had just watched the former world junior aerial champion vault several stories high on two separate occasions, managing to nail his landings despite miserable snow conditions and a highly partisan French crowd. Worthington's wins in both the combined event and the glamorous aerials contest three days later were a first for any freestyle competitor and the cap on a big comeback year for Worthington, 25, who last year suffered knee and shoulder injuries and a disappointing fifth-place finish at the Lillehammer Olympics. "I'm on cloud nine," said Worthington, who'd never won world-championship gold despite more than 20 World Cup victories. Joining Worthington on the winners' podium for the dominant U.S. squad were Kristean Porter and Nikki Stone, who took the women's combined and aerial titles, respectively.

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