The Yukon Freestyle Ski Team caught some big air and came down right on the podium last weekend.
In the team’s first competition of the season, Yukon skiers won four medals and all six skiers placed in the top-10 at the Timber Tour competition at Apex Mountain Resort in Penticton, B.C.
“It was not unexpected. I know the boys have been training hard and we had a great early season with (Whitehorse’s Mount) Sima and all the hard work they’ve been doing has paid off and I’m really proud of the whole team,” said head coach Stu Robinson. “It’s a great way to boost our confidence heading into the next competition.
“I think we’re going to see some really great things from the team this year.”
Half the Yukon team won hardware in the trip.
Josh Harlow won a pair of bronze medals, taking third in the slopestyle and the big air events in the M2 division (16-18).
Teammate Dylan Reed captured silver in slopestyle in M2 with a corked 900 blunt in his bag of tricks.
Etienne Geoffroy climbed to silver in the M2 big air event with an immaculate switch 900 with a mute grab.
“It’s the best one I’ve ever done and my coach said it was probably one of the best tricks he’s ever seen me do,” said Geoffroy. “It’s good that I could pull it off in big air and not crack under pressure.”
Geoffroy was likely the youngest in the M2 division, having missed the cutoff by just five days. He also won the open division at the Icebreaker Railjam at Mount Sima in December.
The medal in big air represents his first from outside the Yukon.
“I was really pleased,” said Geoffroy. “In slopestyle the day before I placed fifth but I was happy because I missed the younger category by five days … the cut-off day was January 1. So I was put in the older category and I still managed to get second in big air and fifth in slopestyle, so that’s wonderful.”
Yukon occupied five of the top six spots in big air with Aidan Allen and Reed placing fourth and fifth respectively.
The Yukon team also had single-digit places in the younger M3 division (14-15). Kyran Allen took fifth in slopestyle and seventh in big air and Niko Rodden snagged ninth both days.
“They both had solid results. I think I saw some of their best skiing over that weekend,” said Robinson. “We’re having a little trouble staying consistent during the competition runs. They are really young and are still learning and I think they learned a lot from that first event.”
A great start to the ski season in Whitehorse may of played a part in the team’s success over the weekend. Whitehorse has had great condition so far this winter with twice the average snowfall in December. Sima’s skills park is the best it’s been in years – if not ever – providing the team with great training opportunities, said Robinson.
“The (Apex) park was a lot smaller than we were expecting,” said Robinson. “The boys’ confidence was really high because Sima has been built up so well they had a far superior training for this competition.”
The Timber Tour is a qualifier for the Canadian Junior Freestyle Ski Championships in March. Yukon currently has five spots secured and are hoping for one more so all six skiers can make the trip to the nationals, this year being held in Quebec.
“There’s even a chance we might go to the senior nationals this year because the boys are getting so good they need some higher level competitions,” said Robinson.
Harlow won a bronze in big air for Yukon’s first ever medal at the junior nationals last year. The Yukon team is hoping to improve on that this year.
“It’s a really good way to start off the season and we’re going to be super stoked for the next comp – start racking up the medals,” said Geoffroy. “The whole team performed at their best – not just Josh, Dylan and me on the podium, but everyone on the team improved a lot on the trip.”
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