Freestyle team posts best ever result at nationals

A flat 720 has given the Yukon Freestyle Ski Team its strongest-ever result at the Canadian Junior Freestyle Ski Championships.

A flat 720 has given the Yukon Freestyle Ski Team its strongest-ever result at the Canadian Junior Freestyle Ski Championships.

Yukon skier Sebastien Berthiaume landed the trick in the big air competition to place fifth at the 2012 championships at Le Relais Ski Centre in Lac Beauport, Que., last week.

“Well, I did my best and I guess that was the result of it. I’m really glad,” said the 17-year-old, who was competing at the championships for the first time.

The flat 720 – two full rotations performed in an inverted position – has been in his bag of tricks all season.

“I’ve been using it all this year in competition, but that time I got the best result with that trick,” said Berthiaume. “I’ve been doing competitions around British Columbia. I was always in the top-10 but my strongest finish this year was definitely in junior nationals.”

Berthiaume was one of four Yukon skiers in the championships. Also competing were Josh Harlow and Dylan Reed in the juvenile male division and James Boyle in junior with Berthiaume.

Berthiaume’s fifth place was the team’s best, but all took in mid-pack results.

“Sebastien was definitely the standout, but all the guys gave very solid performances,” said Yukon head coach Stu Robinson. “They weren’t necessarily their personal best, but they were close.

“I was really proud of the whole team. To go there, at such a high level, and compete under the pressure and do well was great to see.”

In addition to the big air, all four also competed in the slopestyle competition. In slopestyle, Harlow placed 16th, Boyle 18th and Reed 19th.

Berthiaume again had the strongest placement, taking 15th place.

“I wasn’t able to land a clean run,” said Berthiaume. “It was quite disappointing, but it happens.”

“The slopestyle event was really good,” said Robinson. “The (skill) level was really high and the boys were finishing in the top-half of their category.”

Harlow also took 19th in the big air competition, which used a 55-foot jump.

Boyle and Reed didn’t land their two attempts but still managed to place 15th and 30th respectively.

“The other guys had a pretty good day,” said Robinson. “I think Josh was in the top-half of his category and the other two had some difficulties, had some crashes.

“They were really going for it. Dylan was trying a corked 1080 but unfortunately crashed. James was also trying really hard – corked 900s – but also crashed.

“They only get two jumps and it’s the best of two jumps.”

Originally, Reed was not going to compete at the championships. However, he was put in the line-up after Yukon teammate Anatole Tuzlak fractured two vertebrae earlier this month at a competition in Barrie, Ont.

“He’s fine, but we had to have a replacement,” said Robinson.

At the Barrie competition, held at Mount St. Louis Moonstone, Berthiaume came 10th, Boyle 11th and Tuzlak 13th in the halfpipe event.

“The competition was great,” added Robinson of the junior nationals. “It was really great to see such a high level there. The athletes were definitely the best in the country at the junior level. And it was nice for the Yukon athletes to go compete against them. I think they are definitely motivated by going there.”

“It was a really great experience,” said Berthiaume. “Stu was a really great coach and without him I couldn’t have had my best result of this year. It was great to have him there.”

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