Freestyle Yukon said in a press release Wednesday that more than 60 freestyle skiers from across the country will compete at Mount Sima this weekend on the first stop of Freestyle Canada’s Canada Cup Series presented by Toyo Tires.
This will be the third straight year the Yukon Freestyle Ski Association (YFSA) has hosted a Canada Cup event. The competition kicks off today with athletes taking part in official training sessions for both Big Air and Slopestyle, while the qualifiers go Friday and finals are slated for Saturday and Sunday.
Freestyle Canada Competition Coordinator, Patrick Breault, says the early season conditions at Mount Sima allow for a valuable competition before Christmas for many of the teams.
“From January to April the athletes are on the road continuously, so having an event this early really helps relieve the pressure of a packed contest season after Christmas,” says Breault. “Mount Sima is committed to building terrain suitable and progressive to host a Canada Cup so Freestyle Canada is happy to come back for a third consecutive year. National level competitions are difficult to execute but thanks to a small army of committed volunteers and a great resort partner, Freestyle Yukon does a great job.”
The Canada Cup Series presented by Toyo Tires is Freestyle Canada’s national competition circuit. It was created to support a competitive and sustainable domestic tour where freestyle athletes from across Canada can develop their competitive skills.
Yukoners will have two local athletes to cheer on this weekend, as Neil Mikkelsen and Christopher Arsenault will be representing their hometown in both Slopestyle and Big Air.
Since Freestyle Yukon began hosting the Canada Cup Series, a number of athletes competing in Whitehorse have gone on to make noise on the national and international ski scene. That includes Yukon’s own Etienne Geoffroy, who won gold at last year’s Canada Cup event and is currently competing on the World Cup circuit.
President of YFSA, Lynda Harlow, says hosting another Canada Cup would not be possible without the association’s volunteers, who contribute hundreds of hours to help plan and set up the event.
“We’d also like to recognize the financial assistance provided by the Yukon Government Community Development Fund and Lotteries Yukon, as well as the generous support of many local businesses who helped make our third Canada Cup possible.”
Many of the athletes participating in this weekend’s Canada Cup arrived in Whitehorse early to train as part of Mount Sima’s pre-season training program. General Manager Steve Reid says despite the unusually warm temperatures this month, the terrain being used at Sima for the event is in excellent condition.
“It has been great to see both our operations team, and our community partners, pull together to deliver a world class product despite these challenging conditions,” stated Reid. “With around the clock snowmaking and Tyler’s (Nichol) keen eye for park terrain, this year we again have an exceptional competition facility. With the addition of a winch equipped snowcat to our fleet, plus Lotteries Yukon funding for our snowmaking pumphouse, you’ll be truly amazed to see what we have put together.”
Not only will Sima have the rope tow open for public skiing this weekend, spectators will also be able to watch the Big Air Finals on Sunday. A designated walking lane will be in place, as well as a spectator area at the Big Air site. Those with seasons passes or day passes for the bunny hill will be able to access the site at no additional cost. Any spectators without a pass who wish to access the site on foot can pay a $5 hill access fee.