Story and photos by Mike Coil Explore Big Sky Contributor

LAKE PLACID, New York – Bozeman native Heather McPhie finished 15th in the 2014 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup held at Whiteface Mountain, N.Y. on Jan. 15. The women’s moguls competition was McPhie’s fourth of the year and an Olympic qualifier. The field included 47 total women competitors.

After the first run, McPhie was in 10th place, making the top 16 cut. During her second run, she bobbled a turn on the upper section of the icy course, though she finished the strong on the second jump with an off-axis D-spin trick.

The U.S. placed its top four skiers in the Super Final, including Heidi Kloser, Hannah Kearney, Sophia Schwartz and Eliza Outtrim. The final podium saw Canada’s Justine Dufour-LaPointe in first place, Kloser in second and Kearney in third.

In Deer Valley, Utah, McPhie finished fourth in the Jan. 9 singles event, but was disqualified after falling in the dual moguls competition on Jan. 11.

The World Cup moves to Val Saint-Come in Quebec, Canada for one last event on Sunday, Jan. 19. The U.S. Olympic Freestyle Team will be selected by Jan. 21, according to Tom Kelly, Vice President of Communications for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, which is the American governing body for Olympic skiing and snowboarding.

Hannah Kearney is the only U.S. Freestyle Ski Team member who’s clinched a berth to Sochi, automatically qualifying by earning at least two podium finishes in World Cup Qualifying events this season. The remaining three American women may be picked by discretionary decision by U.S. Ski Team coaches, Kelly said, if no other U.S. competitor has two podium finishes after Sunday.

The key factor in the decision making process is whether coaches feel an athlete has the capacity to win in the Olympics, Kelly added.

“Heather’s got to show [on Sunday] that she has the potential to [do well] in Sochi. Everybody knows that she does, but she needs to show it.”

EBS will update this story as results become available.