HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA
In the 2007 Canada Winter Games, no Yukon freestyle skier cracked the top-20 in any event. But last week, Yukon’s ski team finished their stay with top-20 results in two separate events north of Halifax.
“What was interesting was all the people that came up and complimented us on our athletes and said how well they were doing,” said Loree Stewart, president of the Yukon Freestyle Ski Association. “They were certainly contenders. A little more experience and I’m sure they all would have placed. They skied really well and really enjoyed it. The conditions were awesome.”
In Thursday’s male moguls, Yukon’s Anatole Tuzlak finished 13th while teammates Miguel Rodden came 17th, Sebastien Berthiaume 18th and James Boyle 19th.
“That’s awesome because we don’t practice a lot on moguls,” said Stewart.
The following day in the double moguls, going head-to-head with other individual skiers, Yukon results were even stronger. Again, Tuzlak took 13th while the others improved. Rodden moved up to 15th, Berthiaume to 17th and Boyle to 18th.
However, the week’s highlight was the aerials, with Rodden being the first on the team to reach a final, eventually taking six with a corked 900 with a grab.
“I couldn’t be happier. My goal was to make it to the finals and I did that and better, so I’m really stoked,” said Rodden. “I learned (the trick) in Silver Star, when we went for the selection camp in January.
“It’s been super fun so far and a good experience.”
Though not reaching the finals, Berthiaume managed to snatch 20th in the aerials despite still recovering from a broken collarbone.
To start the Games, Tuzlak barely missed the final of the half pipe, finishing 11th in the qualification round. Also on the half-pipe, Rodden took 16th in qualifying and Boyle finished a spot ahead in 15th.
“The half pipe stands out for me because we didn’t really train at half pipe at all because we don’t really have a half pipe (in the Yukon),” said Boyle. “So it was a fun event to get it started and we didn’t expect to take it too seriously. But when we got there we were throwing down and it was fun and some of us did really well. It was exciting.”
After finishing 17th in the half pipe qualifying, Yukon’s Anna Smith, the team’s only female competitor, missed the aerial and mogul events after aggravating a pre-existing anterior cruciate ligament injury during practice.
Both mogul events had to be rescheduled after the discovery of bedbugs at the Tim Hortons Camp in Tatamagouche at the start of last week, forcing an emergency evacuation of the athletes’ residence. With the exception of Alberta’s freestyle team, the entire competitive field had to undergo a late night, last-minute move.
“The week was fun, the skiing elements were very fun,” said Boyle. “We were the guinea pigs, being in the first week, testing out the accommodations and stuff.
“It’s hard to compete when moving around, but we made the best of it.
“I had fun and it was a great experience.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org