Etienne Geoffroy-Gagnon wins gold in the men’s slopestyle event at the Canada Cup event in Calgary on Jan. 28. (Submitted photo)

Gold medal for Yukon freestyle skier

‘Whether I’m there training or there just having fun, it’s just another day at the ski hill’

Whitehorse’s Etienne Geoffroy-Gagnon skied his way to the top of the podium in slopestyle at the Canada Cup event in Calgary on Jan. 28.

After qualifying in seventh, Geoffroy-Gagnon put together a winning first run that the judges rewarded with a score of 86.50.

Yukoners Niko and Miguel Rodden also competed in the Calgary event, finishing 23rd and 25th respectively.

Geoffroy-Gagnon started the season with a second in the slopestyle Canada Cup event at Mount Sima, so it’s safe to say he’s off to a good start.

“It’d be nice to have a high enough ranking to get on the national development team,” said Geoffroy-Gagnon, adding that he plans to build off these early results to achieve some of his long-term goals. “It’s my third year doing the circuit and I’ve been pretty close previous years, but I’ve been training a lot over the summer.”

Most of the summer season was spent on the slopes in Whistler along with a trip to New Zealand for some southern hemisphere skiing.

“Compared to previous years I’ve skied a lot more, which has given me a lot more confidence when competing,” said Geoffroy-Gagnon.

Luckily for Geoffroy-Gagnon, skiing is a true passion.

“With the sport that I do, you can go to the hill and have a really big day and focus on your training or you can go and just have fun with your friends and try to forget a little bit about competing,” said Geoffroy-Gagnon. “I think that’s what keeps me in it — just because I love going out and skiing with everyone. Whether I’m there training or there just having fun, it’s just another day at the ski hill.”

In addition to competing in Canada Cup events, Geoffroy-Gagnon will also be competing at the bigger, higher-level NorAm Cup events against the best skiers in Canada and the United States.

Those events are worth more points in FIS rankings and have higher prize pools, so tend to draw top skiers, but Geoffroy-Gagnon said the early Canada Cup podiums are a great confidence booster.

“Even though these [results] aren’t the highest calibre of competing I’ll be doing this season, it’s still nice to get those two good stops under my belt.”

Slopestyle debuted at the Olympics in 2014 and has grown in popularity in recent years. Seven Canadians will compete in slopestyle at the 2018 Olympic Games, including defending gold medalist Dara Howell.

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

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