Kye Petersen and Angel Collinson took home the top spots at the Canadian Freeskiing Championships at Revelstoke Mountain Resort last Wednesday.
“It feels great,” said Petersen, who hails from Whistler, B.C. “I’m so happy to have come out on top with all these wicked athletes that are here. Really stoked, especially being in B.C., my home province.”
A helicopter flew skiers to the top of Mount Mackenzie for the competition on what was called the biggest venue ever for a Freeski World Tour event. Hundreds of spectators hiked out along the ridge at the top of Montana Bowl to take in the action.
After three days delay, the men went first, with Julien Lopez getting first tracks down the east face of Mt. Mackenzie. He skied a fluid line into some big exposure and was able to move up into 13th place.
After that, the men struggled, with several falling, including Revelstoke skier CJ Wright. Wright, skiing third, went for one of the biggest airs of the day but he couldn’t stick the landing. Still, he managed to move up from to 18th place from 23rd.
Two other Revelstoke men in the competition – Sean Cochrane and Rylan Kappler – wound up in 12th and 15th spot respectively. Both fell in the rankings despite skiing fluid lines.
“It was fun, I had the time of my life,” said Kappler, who skied a line to the left side of the venue, taking numerous airs but not skiing smooth enough for the judges. “I just wanted to ski the best I could and I think I did.”
Said Cochrane: “I feel good, it’s done, I got to ski on the face in the sun. I hit my line and I’m pretty happy with how the day went.”
The best score of the day went to Adrien Coirier, who’s high-speed double vaulted him 17 spots into fourth place.
The men’s competition came down to the final three. Oakley White-Allen, who was in third after day one, pulling off a huge line to move up to second place. He was followed by Drew Tabke, who skied a fast line to the left side of the face. It wasn’t enough to keep him in second, and he wound in third, only 0.16 points behind White-Allen.
Petersen was the last male to ski and he charged down the face, throwing in a 360 near the top and then charging off a big air to seal the win.
“I just tried to make my turns where the snow was nice, keep my eyes in front of me and everything came together,” he said.
On the women’s side, the field of 10 was separated by less than two points heading into the finals. Leaders Ashley Maxfield and Revelstoke’s Nicole Derksen both fell in their run, opening the way for Collinson to take the win. The judges deemed her skiing and mandatory air to be the day’s best and she held off a challenge from Crystal Wright to take first.
“It feels good. It’s really rewarding any time you stand on your feet,” said Collinson. “It’s really nice to be here and be part of the scene – that’s what everyone here’s for.”
Wright finished second, less than a point back of Collinson, while tour veteran Jess McMillan came in third.
Derksen, who finished third last year, skied a smooth if unspectacular run but fell after she hesitated going into her final feature.
“The most important thing I took out of this whole week was learning a lot about myself and knowing I want to progress my skiing and feel more comfortable on exposed runs like that,” she said. “The top few girls just killed their lines and that was really inspiring. I definitely want to bring my level up to that, for sure.”
During the competition, a lot of the talk centred around two things. First was the combination of the Freeskiing and Freeride tours that had athletes and organizers happy.
“It’s about fricking time,” said McMillan. “I’m so happy to see so many amazing skiers here celebrating competition.”
Nicholas Hale-Wood, the founder and director of the Freeride World Tour said it was an “awesome” kickoff for both tours.
“We both believe and we’re both convinced we need to unite because it’s still a small, niche sport and we can’t afford to have the boxing example undermining our development.”
Then there was the matter of the venue, the steep and expose east face of Mount Mackenzie. It was called the biggest venue ever for Freeskiing World Tour event.
“It is one of the most pristine, one of the most amazing looking venues as I stare at it right now,” said head judge Jim Jack after the competition. “People love seeing new lines getting laid down on a pristine mountain.”