Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Dustin Cook

SKY HIGH – Mount Sima hosted the first event in the Canada Cup Series by Free style Canada Thursday to Sunday with three podium finishes by Yukon skiers.

Yukoners land on podium at Canada Cup

Competing at home on the big stage isn’t something Yukon athletes typically get to do, often needing to travel down to B.C. for high-level events.

By Dustin Cook on November 27, 2017

Competing at home on the big stage isn’t something Yukon athletes typically get to do, often needing to travel down to B.C. for high-level events.

But with the cold, snow and mountains Whitehorse has to offer, it has become the perfect place for pre-season skiing, snowboarding, and the first big Freestyle Canada competition of the year.

Mount Sima hosted the first event in the Canada Cup Series Thursday to Sunday with 77 up-and-coming athletes participating in the slopestyle and big air freestyle skiing events.

This is the second year in a row the event has been hosted at the mountain, organized in conjunction with Freestyle Yukon, the host organization.

Four athletes from the club competed at home without having to travel – as they so often do – and had three podium finishes.

Yukon freestyle skier Dylan Reed said he wasn’t planning on competing that much this year because of the necessary travel and expenses that go along with it, but leapt at the opportunity to participate in the first big event of the season at home.

“It’s so expensive to go out of town all the time and compete in other places but to have a competition here it was sweet to just hop in,” Reed said. “It’s so cool especially this time of year, all your friends from down south coming up to shred your mountain this early in the season.”

Reed didn’t qualify for the 24-person final of the slopestyle event Saturday morning as he fell on both his runs in the rail section, but was looking forward to the big air event on Sunday after his training run.

“I just did the training for big air. That went really well; I’m stoked,” Reed said.

And that clearly showed on the big jumps of Sima on Sunday as Reed finished on the podium in second place finishing with a score of 88.40, four points behind the winner Colin Bridger from Alberta. Finishing right behind Reed was his teammate Etienne Geoffroy-Gagnon in third place.

Geoffroy-Gagnon, also recently named the association’s competitive male athlete of the year at the Sport Yukon awards, added to his collection picking up the silver medal earlier in the slopestyle event.

He qualified first for the slopestyle final and was the last skier to go on the rails, finishing just 1.4 points off the win in second place.

Yukoner Miguel Rodden also qualified for the slopestyle final finishing in 22nd. His brother, Nico Rodden, finished 10th in the big air final.

All four athletes competing on home soil qualified for an event final, with Geoffroy-Gagnon finishing on the podium in both.

“We’re so proud, unbelievably proud,” Yukon Freestyle president Lynda Harlow said. “All four of them are great athletes, nice to see them being able to do so well at home.”

After wanting to host a national event for several years, Harlow said they were able to co-ordinate one for early in the season taking advantage of the cold weather in November, where skiing isn’t even possible in other places yet.

“The kids really need a place to train, kids who came up here last year booked again to come this year as well,” she said about the ability to ski so early in the winter season. “I can just see it getting more popular.”

The competition had about 10 more athletes this year, with 77 participants almost maxing out at the 80 person limit.

Although it was a very cold weekend with highs in the -20 degrees celsius range, Harlow said athletes from outside the territory were getting used to it and just happy to be able to ski.

“They’re toughening up a little,” she said. “A couple teams are staying until next week as there are no parks open in Canada, it’s the only place they can train.”

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