Finishing in the top 20 with no broken bones is what you call success in freestyle skiing.
Whitehorse’s Etienne Geoffroy-Gagnon has finished top-20 at two FIS (International Ski Federation) events without injury over the last couple weeks.
The 19-year-old member of the Yukon Freestyle Ski Team placed 16th out of 95 skiers in men’s slopestyle at the Aspen Open in Colorado on Feb. 17.
“Last year I ended up in 90th over there and left with some broken ribs, so it was a pretty good second year for me at that competition,” said Geoffroy-Gagnon.
Not only was Geoffroy-Gagnon in the top 20, he was fifth out of the Canadians. The Aspen event, which featured the best amateur freestyle skiers from throughout North America, was held at the same venue used for the X-Games a couple weeks prior.
“It was the same thing that the biggest professionals in the world skied,” said Geoffroy-Gagnon.
Geoffroy-Gagnon, who has been traveling with Alberta’s provincial team, was back at it this past weekend. He placed 18th out of 52 in men’s slopestyle at an FIS Freestyle NorAm Cup on Feb. 26 at the Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.
“I landed my first run and scored a 72 and missed finals by a few, but I ended up walking away healthy, which was good,” said Geoffroy-Gagnon.
Both events were “gold” level competitions that offered more ranking points and prize money, and therefore attracted more elite skiers. First place in Calgary received a prize of $2,500.
Geoffroy-Gagnon qualified for the elite FIS NorAm circuit with a podium finish at a Canadian Open Tour event in January, winning silver in men’s slopestyle at Silver Star Mountain Resort near Vernon, B.C. The medal marks the best-ever finish by a Yukoner at a Canadian Open.
“I got a little injured after the competition in Silver Star, so I didn’t get to ski for a couple of weeks,” said Geoffroy-Gagnon.
Geoffroy-Gagnon is no stranger to making podiums. He became the first Yukon skier ever to win a gold at junior nationals in 2014, leaving with three in total that year.
He is currently ranked 40th in men’s slopestyle — up seven spots from last month — in the Association of Freestyle Professionals standings.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org