Home hill advantage helps Rossland skiers

Rossland skiers proved there was some home hill advantage in the junior event of the 10th annual Canadian Open Freeskiing Championships at Red Mountain.

Another round of experts skiers took to the slopes at Red Mountain for the Canadian Open junior championship

Another round of experts skiers took to the slopes at Red Mountain for the Canadian Open junior championship

Rossland skiers proved there was some home hill advantage in the junior event of the 10th annual Canadian Open Freeskiing Championships at Red Mountain.

The event, which wrapped up on Saturday, drew a record number of entries forcing organizers to limit the field to 100 participants with a burgeoning waiting list.

On the last day of competition, the field had whittled down to 80 skiers in three age groups vying for their respective titles.

The event attracted not only local skiers but also from Alberta, Washington, Colorado, Montana and even New York.

And once the judges had tabulated their final scores a couple of Rossland skiers were tops in their groups.

Xander Sterpin topped the boys’ 12-to-15-year-old group thanks to an excellent final run where he scored 33 out of a possible 40 from the judges.

The 15-year-old Sterpin admitted he tends to hold back on the qualifying run then letting loose on his final attempt.

“My qualifying run wasn’t as good as my final run,” he said.

However, he added that means throwing caution to the wind in his second run.

“When you have nothing to lose it gives you more of a push.”

His solid final run allowed Sterpin to move from fifth to first in the category. The judges base their score on creativity selecting natural terrain features and aggressive lines. The points are based on five categories; line choice, control, fluidity, technique and aggression.

Meanwhile, Mackenzie Flood gave Rossland a sweep in that same age group as she nabbed first place among the girls in the closest contest of all divisions.

Flood’s consistency over the two days allowed her to edge Montana’s Erin Kempt by less than a single point when the final scores were tabulated. Two-time defending champion Sally Steves of Rossland was third, also less than a point from first.

Hannah Sterpin of Rossland was fifth and Victoria Slegers was eighth.

Rounding out the local boys’ 12-to-15 results were Kelley Humpherys in third and George Hogarth was fourth. Banff’s Garret Capel, who has won a division at the Canadian Open for the past three years, finished sixth.

Other Rossland skiers in that age group were Connor Streadwick, in 13th, Sean Ennis, finished 18th, Deremie Bell of Trail was 28th, and Jacob Flood and Jeff Ashton of Rossland were 31st and 34th respectively.

The 16-to-18 age group featured some high-flying acrobatics in the boys’ division.

George Rodney of Littleton, Co., put together the best total score of any skier in the junior competition with a 67.17 combined score.

That was enough to hold off Banff’s Keegan Capel, the defending champ. Capel highlighted the weekend with the top run worth 36 points on Saturday but it wouldn’t be enough to top Rodney’s consistency over the two days.

Rossland skiers Edward Shepherd, Vinzenz Keller and Todd Loukras finished eight, ninth and 10th respectively. Jay Maloney was 16th.

The 16-to-18 girls’ group saw few entries with Alex Bachmeier of Yelm, Wash., taking first. Dayna Mortimer of Rossland was third.

In the youngest division, seven-to-11-years-old, Jemma Capel of Banff continued her family tradition of excellence finishing first among girls while Erin Flood of Rossland was third.

On the boys’ side, Parkin Costain of Whitefish, Mont., successfully defended his 2010 title edging out Sam Howard of Nelson for first place. Costain’s first run worth 33.17 points proved to be the third highest score of any skier in the competition.

Simon Hillis and Gavin Paterson of Rossland were fourth and fifth respectively. Logan Tanguay and Nevan Fuller finished eighth and 13th.