Story and photos by Mike Coil Explore Big Sky Contributor

DEER VALLEY, Utah – In spite of whiteout conditions on Thursday, January 9, Heather McPhie of Bozeman showed off her skills by taking fourth place at the 2014 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup stop in Deer Valley, Utah.

Sitting in seventh place after her first run, McPhie uncorked her off axis, D-spin on the bottom jump of the course to wow the crowd and move up to 4th. Deer Valley is a World Cup stop as well as a 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games qualifier for the U.S. Ski Team, and will count toward selection of the U.S. Olympic Freestyle team later in January.

The final run of the day was held under the lights, creating a beautiful scene in the steadily falling snow. Coming in first place was American Hannah Kearney, and Canadian sisters Chloe and Justine Dufour-Lapointe finished second and third, respectively.

Deer Valley is a favorite stop on the World Cup circuit, according to event officials, because the course is located at the base of the resort. It’s easily accessible for the public and the resort goes to any length to welcome the skiers and their teams. The bump-off continues on Saturday with a dual-format competition.

NBC Sports Network will broadcast yesterday’s event tonight at 9 p.m. MST. Saturday’s competition will air on NBC Sports Network Sunday Jan. 12 at 3:30 p.m. MST.

Deer Valley is the first of two U.S. stops for the 2014 World Cup. The tour lands at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, N.Y. on Jan. 15. The 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, begin Feb. 7.

For more World Cup and Olympic information, visit freestyle.usskiteam.com.