Designer instinct

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:00 PM ET

FERNIE, B.C. -- Swapping his skis for a shovel, Nicolas Fontaine is quickly earning a reputation as a great course designer. After putting away his planks mid-way through the 2003 season, the French Flyer now cuts up the kickers instead of flying off them.

With the majority of the Fernie alpine slopes looking like the Burnco pit because of unseasonably warm temperatures and heavy rain, Fontaine and his crew worked some magic on the aerial course for yesterday's jumps.

"Nicolas Fontaine is a miracle worker because there's no snow anywhere else on the mountain and somehow the site is perfect -- it couldn't be better," said Canadian Veronica Bauer, who won bronze yesterday at the World Cup freestyle Grand Prix.

"There was like 48 hours of straight downpour and we didn't train all week and we didn't even think there was going to be competition, yet here we are."

Fontaine, a former three-time overall World Cup champion, looked exhausted after spending the entire day making sure the jump site was ready for the event.

"It was a competition for us to get this site ready," said Fontaine at day's end. "We had everything ready last week when it was minus-35 degrees but then the rain came and destroyed everything.

"It was a real challenge but I think we did a real good job for building our first site."

Fontaine got the designer bug after constructing a summer water ramp in Quebec.

"Every time I went to a site when I was competing, I kept saying to myself that if it was me, I'd be doing this different," Fontaine said. "But this week, I did things exactly the way I wanted to."


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