Kye Petersen and Ashley Maxfield are in first place after the first day of competition of the Canadian Freeskiing Championships at Revelstoke Mountain Resort on Friday.
Nicole Derksen leads the way for local skiers, coming in second place amongst the women. On the men’s side, three local skiers qualified: Rylan Kappler in ninth, Sean Cochrane 10th, and CJ Wright 23rd.
A soft blanket of snow covered North Bowl as the first day of competition saw skiers go bigger than ever before and ski lines that had not been attempted the past two times the competition had been held in Revelstoke. It also marked the first time skiers from the Freeskiing and Freeride World Tours competed together in a combined event.
“It’s a real comp again,” said Leah Evans, who won last year’s event but fell this year and wound up 16th. “The game’s been brought back up.”
Skiers explored the entire venue of North Bowl, all the way along the ridge at the top, from Sweet Spot at the top to Parachute at the bottom.
Tatum Monod was the first skier to hit the venue and she set the stage for the rest of the day, smoothly dropping two cliffs and then throwing in a backflip on the jump set up for the venue. She wound up fifth.
Maxfield skied the most challenging line of the day, hitting three straight cliffs and landing each one smoothly to finish in first, 0.2 points ahead of Derksen.
Revelstoke’s Lauren Goss hit one of the biggest airs amongst the women but she couldn’t control the landing and wound up tied with Evans.
“It went by really fast,” she said. “I was so nervous.”
It was the first competition for Goss and she was happy with being one of only four girls to make it out of the qualifiers.
Derksen skied right after Goss, skiing down the ridge before sneaking in amongst the trees below Brake Check. She billy-goated through some trees, dropped two pillows and hit one cliff and then two more drops through the trees below.
For the men, Kye Petersen’s line was the highlight. He hit a double feature above Meet the Neighbours that many others also attempted, however, he was the only one to land both jumps smoothly. He threw in a 360 at the bottom for good measure.
C.J. Wright was the first local male to hit the course. He hit two large cliffs and landed them both smoothly to make it to the finals.
“I really wanted to make it through so I didn’t take any big chances,” he said. “I knew a good fast flowing line would work.”
Local Sean Cochrane, who has made the finals of the competition the past two years, skied a smooth line over two big drops in the Sweet Spot area. “I was really happy, hopping my down,” he said. “It was fun.”
Rylan Kappler, 20, in his second freeskiing competition, flew down his line. “Best feeling ever,” he said about his top-10 line. “I gave it my all, went all in and stuck everything.”
Rounding out the top three for the men were Drew Tabke and Oakley White-Allen. On the women’s side, Angel Collinson, the defending Freeski World Tour champion, came in third.
There were also a couple near-disastrous wipe-outs. One skier tomahawked over some cliffs, thankfully emerging unscathed at the bottom. Henrik Windstedt also had a close call, catching his ski and nearly tumbling over a 30-foot cliff.
The competitors were excited about the combination of the two tours. “I like to compete amongst the best and have the best compete,” said Cochrane, who used to race at a high level.
France’s Julien Lopez, a veteran of both tours, said it was great having all his friends in one place. “It’s a good thing for the sport.”
The finals are scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 8, on the northeast face of Mt. Mackenzie. The venue lies outside the ski area boundary and won’t be viewable from within the ropes but the
“It’s an impressive venue,” said Wright, who has skied the face before. “It has lots of option to link up features and has a good, long sustained fall line.”
On the women’s side, less than two points separate the top 10 skiers, so the competition is still wide open. The men’s side is more spread out, with Petersen enjoying a nearly three point lead over Drew Tabke.
For the complete results, including the list of skiers who made it to the finals, visit the Freeskiing World Tour’s website.