Freestyle Yukon pulls out all the stops for Canada Cup event at Mount Sima

This year’s big air final was held at night, a first for Whitehorse

Freestyle Canada’s Canada Cup Series started with big air and slopestyle events at Mount Sima outside Whitehorse from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.

More than 80 skiers took part in the event, including five Yukoners.

Stephanie Robertson, president of Freestyle Yukon, said the weekend went well.

“It was a pretty awesome event,” said Robertson. “We had a lot of athletes this year — more than past years — and we premiered the first-ever big air night event at Sima.”

The big air competition at Mount Sima is typically held on Sunday, but through the help of sponsors and volunteers, organizers were able to set up lights and the finals took place the evening of Nov. 29.

Only four women were in the women’s final, with Alberta’s Rylee Hackler winning gold with a second-run score of 84.8. Ontario’s Elyssa Willmott was second with a 72.8 and the other two finalists did not compete.

The men’s big air final included 20 skiers, and Quebec’s Emile Boutet won with a 91.2. Second place went to Kai Smart of B.C. with an 87.2, and third place went to Alberta’s Jaden Sandgathe with an 83.8.

Robertson said moving the big air final to the evening meant Canada Cup athletes got to experience something typically found at higher levels.

“We always have our big air event on the Sunday, so we thought this year let’s change it up and let’s do a night event,” said Robertson. “Our kids were really excited. We were all really excited about it.”

The slopestyle finals were held during the day on Dec. 1, with 20 men and six women competing for gold.

Hackler won the women’s slopestyle with an 86.2, with fellow Albertan Skye Clarke finishing second with an 82.0. Bella Bacon from Ontario finished third with a 73.4.

Quebec’s Mathieu Dufresne won gold in the men’s slopestyle with an 88.6, with Chase Ujejski of British Columbia finishing second with an 82.8. Rounding out the podium was Cole Isfan of British Columbia with an 81.4.

The five Yukon skiers — Neil Mikkelsen, Tristan Muir, Zeb Blower, Seth Sheardwon-Waugh and Alex Arsenault — all failed to qualify for the finals in either event but all finished middle of the pack.

Robertson said the big air will stand out as a highlight from this year’s Canada Cup stop.

“I think just the night event was a huge success,” said Robertson. “I had a really, really proud moment when the first jumper went over the jump and made it and was safe. … I just sort of stood there and had this proud moment that our association and our volunteers and our athletes are a part of this first-time (thing) at Sima in Whitehorse.”

A lack of snowfall prior to the competition meant work went on until the 11th hour to get the park in shape, and Roberston said the wind and snow conditions were good for the actual competition.

“The snow conditions … were pretty good actually. They weren’t too icy or anything like that,” said Robertson. “I heard it was crazy windy in town, but there was no wind out there. It was incredible.”

The next stop on the Canada Cup Series is in Calabogie, Ont., in January.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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