After spending countless hours on the mountain over the years, Steamboat Springs ski jumper Eric Belshaw competed in his first World Cup competition Dec. 16-18 in Engelberg, Switzerland.
It was an emotional event for Belshaw, 18, who didn’t know what to expect from the weekend.
“I was really excited, of course, I was nervous, but I wasn’t really expecting much,” Belshaw said. “I thought it would be a good experience to help me in the future, so I wasn’t too nervous because I didn’t have high expectations.”
Following a strong showing on Saturday, December 17, Belshaw broke it off the next day to improve to 26th and earn a spot in the second round, where his jump of 117.5m placed him 24th overall.
Belshaw was the youngest athlete in the competition and the youngest in the top 30 for more than two years. His performance exceeded all his expectations.
“That’s a big deal,” Belshaw said. “It was beyond my expectations, so I was very happy.”
Other Steamboat athletes competing at the World Cups that weekend include Nordic combined athletes Jasper Good and Grant Andrews, who finished 45th and 50th, respectively, in Ramsau, Austria, on Friday. Andrews finished 44th the next day.
Also in Austria, Annika Malaczynski had two strong performances in the women’s Nordic combined event, where she improved to 23rd and 20th on day one and 21st overall on day two.
Mick Dierdorf advanced to the first day of the snowboard cross event’s big final in Cervinia, Italy, finishing fourth overall. The next day he was not so strong, finishing fourth out of eight finals. This puts him at the 25th position.
Jaelyn Goff and Olivia Giaccio continued to make noise at the Moguls, and both women advanced to Friday’s finals in France. Goff finished sixth and Giaccio moved to 16th.
Decker Dean, Steamboat’s 100th Olympian, jumped with Belshaw in Switzerland. Dean improved to 47th and 49th over the weekend, but made an even more significant contribution guiding Belshaw.
It was comforting for Belshaw to have Dean there to support him and keep him calm before his jumps.
“Having Decker there was awesome,” Belshaw said. “He’s been really supportive and really happy for me. He’s been in the top 30 already so it’s great to have him there and he’s helped me a lot so it’s been great to have him there.
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240 or email [email protected]