Revelstokian Nicole Derksen capped off over a month on the road with the Freeskiing World Tour (FWT) with a third-place finish at the World Championships in Snowbird, Utah on Mar. 12, meaning she finished 4th overall in the International Free Skiers Association (IFSA) standings for the 2010-11 season.
The results are phenomenal for the rookie, who only qualified for the tour by taking third at the FWT at Revelstoke Mountain Resort in January.
“It feels really, really good,” Derksen told the Times Review in a Mar. 17 interview. “The venue was amazing. The conditions were awesome,” she said.
She said her final run went well, until near the end, when she got a bit off her line and was forced to “straight line it” off of a cliff on a route she hadn’t planned. She landed it and scored well with the judges and taking home a $1,500 prize.
The 4th overall placing for 2010-11 is even more remarkable since Derksen only competed at four of seven tour stops, missing the two competitions in El Colorado, Chile and Las Lenas, Argentina prior to Revelstoke. She also skipped the Jackson Hole competition. When she did compete, she pulled down consistent top runs.
She finished third in Revelstoke, third in Snowbird, sixth at the Feb. 23–27 competition at Kirkwood, California and 11th at the Crested Butte, Colorado competition on Feb. 16–21.
Derksen, 24, believes she is the only rider on the women’s tour who doesn’t have a sponsor. “I’m hoping that with the results from this year it might result in a sponsorship,” she said, saying she’s been getting advice from fellow riders on how to make it happen.
Derksen is from Jasper and has lived in Revelstoke for the past three years where she works as a forest fire fighter in the summer, and volunteers as a patroller at Revelstoke Mountain Resort in the winter.
She ski raced until she was about 17 and then did a year of freestyle skiing before moving into recreational skiing. “I kind of wanted to compete for a couple of years,” she says. “I’m definitely glad I did.”
The tour has sparked a renewed interest in competitive skiing and helped her find “a new passion within skiing,” Derksen said. “I knew that it would really push my limits and challenge me.”
She admits she hasn’t done a lot of focused training for the tour, just regular big mountain freeskiing. Other than riding with friends, she’s not affiliated with any organized club.
The past month on the tour has been great. “I’m just really truly inspired by everyone that I have been skiing with,” Derksen said. “It’s been awesome but I’m definitely ready yo come home.”
She’ll be thinking about the opportunities the tour win have opened up in the future, but for now there’s the remainder of the ski season and “a lot of [volunteer] patrolling up at the hill that I’ve missed.”