Steeves, Flood harvest gold

Many Greater Trail skiers visited the podium as the Canadian Open Junior Freeskiing Championship wrapped up Saturday, January 14, 2012.

Three days of tricks and stunts resulted in a trip to the podium for many local skiers, as the Canadian Open Junior Freeskiing championship  wrapped up at Red Mountain Saturday.

Following qualifying rounds Thursday and Friday down Granite Mountain’s Links Line, it all came down to Saturday’s final performance, where the winners were determined by a combined score of two runs.

“We’ve seen a lot more skiers from western North America than we have in the past and we’re pleased how well the event has gone,” said Mika Hakkola, Red Mountain communications manager.

“This is a great stepping stone event for all aspiring freeskiers. It gives them a taste of the freeskiing community and competition.“

Sally Steeves of Rossland nabbed gold in the female 15-18 age group, scoring 31.67 in her first run and an incredible 36.97 in her second go, for a 68.63 total. Her second run was the best score of the day for skiers in her group.

The win marks the third title in a row for Steeves who previously had won two 13-15 age  group titles.

In the female 12-14 category, with a combined score of 60.33, Rossland skier Mackenzie Flood took first place, barely beating teammate Jessie Fuller who came in with 60.20 for silver. Hanah Sterpin of Rossland finished fourth.

““It was amazing to see the athletes ski within their abilities and it was an impressive display of athleticism,” said Jeff Holden, the Canadian Open’s Head Judge in a release.

“The future of freeskiing is looking really good. ”

Meanwhile, Erin Flood of Rossland took second in the girls 7-11 age category, with Banff’s Jemma Capel taking first.

Simon Hillis of Rossland grabbed second in the boys 7-11 age group while Ezra Foy of Nelson won the gold.

Sean Hogarth of Rossland took home bronze in the male 12-14, posting a 66.57 total behind Gerard Weyns of the U.S. and Jackson Bathgate form Whistler.

Rodney George from Aspen, Co. won the male 15-18, with second going to Revelstoke’s Jake Teuton and third to Dylan Siggers of Fernie.

The runs are scored by three judges based on cumulative points where skiers are judged on their choice of line, control, technique, fluidity and aggression.

Due to the growing nature of the sport, this year’s competition expanded the number of available spots from 100 to about 160 participants.

“It is the largest field of competitors I’ve seen in the 12 years of judging these events,” said Jeff Holden,  “It is a testament to the growth of the sport.”

The senior men’s and women’s free-skiing competition starts Thursday at RED with $10,000 in prize money up for grabs.