Bauer power

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:00 PM ET

FERNIE, B.C. -- Veronika Bauer makes no bones about it -- she's a fairweather flyer. Not one to embrace the cold, Bauer took advantage of the mild temperatures yesterday at the World Cup freestyle Grand Prix, grabbing a bronze medal in aerials, her first podium of the season.

The 24-year-old Toronto native landed her final triple twisting-double-backflip for a combined total 183.19. Shuang Cheng of China and teammate Nina Li finished one-two, respectively, with scores of 190.84 and 185.66.

"The warmer it is, the better

I feel about everything," said Bauer yesterday.

"It really scares me when there's blowing wind and it's freezing cold. My muscles are tight and I just don't want to be there."

Meanwhile, with four out of five Canadians qualifying for the men's final in yesterday's aerials, it appeared there was going to be more hardware coming Canada's way. But it wasn't meant to be.

After placing ninth in the qualifier, American Jeret Peterson of Boise, Idaho, pulled off a quadruple-twisting-triple-backflip and landed it perfectly to win the gold, maintaining his lead in the overall World Cup standings.

Stanislav Kravchuk of the Ukraine and Alexei Grishin from Belarus rounded out the podium.

As for the Canadians, they were all plagued by the same problem -- an inability to stick their landings.

"I felt good in the air but just failed to put it on my feet," said Calgarian Warren Shouldice, who was the top Canadian by finishing seventh. "That's the difference between winning and losing in this sport."

Teammates Jeff Bean of Ottawa and Steve Omischl of North Bay, Ont., were eighth and ninth, while Cord Spero from Grande Prairie, Alta., was 11th.

Other than Bauer, Canadian hopefuls Deidra Dionne, Melissa Prefontaine and Amber Peterson all failed to make the finals.

That put the pressure on Bauer to podium in front of the hometown fans and she didn't disappoint.

Unable to stick a landing during training, Bauer turned things around once competition began.

"I was just sick of missing my landings," said Bauer, who has now won the full medal set at the Fernie jump site.

"I wanted to land really badly and I had been visualizing it. I talked to the sports (psychologist) about it and it worked out.

"I haven't had much confidence lately but I didn't want to let another one slip away."

The bronze medal should help Bauer get back on track after her worst World Cup season on tour since the millennium

('99-'00) season.

"I feel like I'm just climbing back after my slump last year," explained Bauer. "I've been fixing one little thing at a time. First I was fixing my takeoffs, then I was fixing my landings.

"Now, they've come together and I feel really confident about that but now I want to do a harder difficulty."

Peterson's body language said it all after his second flight. Pumping his arms in the air, the some 500 spectators on hand gave him modest kudos for his technically flawless attempt.

Back in the winner's circle, Peterson talked of his jumps but also of the greasy leather belt holding up his ski pants.

"I'm a self proclaimed redneck," said Peterson, staring at the vintage strap, held together with a bright green John Deere belt buckle.

"One of my teammates made it for me and it has a lot of things important to me on it.

"John Deere just epitomizes being a redneck and

I really like it."


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