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Geoffroy Gagnon launches to freestyle ski titles

Whitehorse's Etienne Geoffroy-Gagnon missed almost all of last season with an ankle injury. He finished this season off with a pair of titles.

Whitehorse’s Etienne Geoffroy-Gagnon missed almost all of last season with an ankle injury. He finished this season off with a pair of titles.

The 18-year-old won both the open male big air and slopestyle titles at the Yukon Freestyle Ski Championships over the weekend at Mount Sima.

“I’m pretty happy. The guys all came out and we all wanted to have a good time,” said Geoffroy-Gagnon. “We kind of all talked to each other and tried to make it as fair as possible. We just skied over the weekend and it was a pretty relaxed competition, and it turned out in my favour, I guess.”

Geoffroy-Gagnon flew to first in Saturday’s big air with a switch 1080 with a mute grab. Teammate Kyran Allen claimed second with a switch misty 1080. Niko Rodden landed third with a switch back flip.

“That trick is so gnarly,” said Steven Harlow, head coach with the Yukon Freestyle Ski Association (YFSA). “You’re coming in backwards to a jump and go completely blind doing a back flip backwards over a 50-foot jump. It’s a scary trick.”

Evyn Dinn placed fourth and Milan Lapres fifth in the big air.

Geoffroy-Gagnon then claimed first in Sunday’s slopestyle competition with a series of 450s on the rails and 540s - with fancy grabs, of course - on the jumps.

Rodden took second, Allen third, Argus Huggard fourth and Dinn fifth.

“The nice thing about the Yukon champs is it’s kind of a winding down competition. So most of the guys have already done their bigger competitions and they’re more having fun,” said Harlow. “It wasn’t like they were going out trying to win. Etienne skied really well and earned his first place.”

Geoffroy-Gagnon missed almost all of last season with an ankle injury sustained during a practice run before a competition at Big White Ski Resort. He has bounced back in a big way.

Geoffroy-Gagnon, who won three gold at the junior nationals in 2014, has hit up some big international events this season, culminating in a ninth place finish at the Spring Battle last month in Austria. He is currently ranked 104th in men’s slopestyle in the Association of Freestyle Professionals standings.

“It’s been going all right - probably not my best season. But it’s my first season back from injury, so I’m pretty happy with it,” said Geoffroy-Gagnon.

“I’m asking around, looking for some sponsors, some support,” he added.

Sunday’s slopestyle championship saw three sisters compete in the girls 10-and-under division, marking the first time since 2013 that a category at the championships had three female skiers. Oriana Gallina took first ahead of siblings Adria and Isabella.

“It was really good to see,” said Harlow. “The female side of YFSA is looking brighter and brighter. They’re all young and they just want to go out and hit jumps and everything. I’m excited for the future because it’s the most girls we’ve had on the team ... Hopefully we’ll keep these girls around.”

Austin Shaw placed first in males under-15 slopestyle, ahead of Christopher Arsenault, Emmett Ross and Max Logan. Logon Collon took first in the youth boys divisions.

“This was my last competition as a coach for YFSA and I’m happy with how the organization is coming along,” said Harlow. “There’s going to be a huge future as far as the kids and the club and infrastructure. It’s exciting.”

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