Freeskiers fly high on Roberts

Canadian skiers swept the North Face Canadian Open Freeskiing Championships at Red Mountain Resort Saturday.

Canadian skiers swept the North Face Canadian Open Freeskiing Championships at Red Mountain Resort Saturday.

With a foot of fresh snow on the slopes and a charged group of competitors, the event finished with a bang.

“The event was one of the best yet,” said Red Mountain’s General Manager Erik Kalacis in a release. “The conditions were great and the team worked together to finish the 2012 Canadian Open. There were a lot of volunteers involved in the event to make both the junior and senior events happen; a big thanks to their efforts. Thanks as well to all the competitors. We’re looking forward to a bigger and better event next year.”

Over 70 competitors took to the hill for the opening qualifying runs Thursday and Friday, with the finals going on Saturday. The finals were held on Mount Roberts also referred to as “side country” that is advanced back-country terrain easily accessible from the Paradise Chair.

“The senior event this year is stronger than last year. With athletes from Europe to Western North America, we had a great group competing,” said Mika Hakkola, Red’s communications manager.

The men’s event turned out to be incredibly close with Adam McCaw of Lake Louise eking out the win by .07 points over Pemberton’s Laurent Gauthier. After falling behind on the first two runs, Gauthier scored 38.6 on his final run compared to McCaw’s 36.8 to close the gap but just come up short.

McCaw finished with a three-run total of 98.6, Gauthier with 98.53 and Revelstoke’s Richard Small came in third with 98.53.

“There was some great skiing on the slopes of Mount Roberts. We had a really tight race at the end. The top four spots all fell within about 1 point so it was fractions that separated the top finishers.” noted Jeff Holden, the Canadian Open’s head judge.

In the womens freeski, Julie Thomas of Canmore outdistanced the field finishing with 89.83 total, wth Aleta Corbett of Calgary skiing to second, 82.6, and Whistler’s Tanya Callon third with a score of 79.95.

$10,000 in prize money was awarded to the top-five men and women.