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Judges with tough calls to make at freestyle ski championships

Things were so close between some competitors at the Yukon Freestyle Ski Championships, one trophy ceremony was delayed so judges could compare notes.

Things were so close between some competitors at the Yukon Freestyle Ski Championships, one trophy ceremony was delayed so judges could compare notes.

That’s what happens when there’s so much talent on the slopes.

“They made the judges’ job extremely difficult, to say the least,” said Graham Pollock, head coach of the Yukon Freestyle Ski Team.

With the results finalized, titles were awarded at the championships, which included slopstyle on April 14 and big air on April 15 at Mount Sima.

Not surprisingly, one of the trophy winners was Whitehorse’s Etienne Geoffroy-Gagnon.

The 19-year-old defended his title in slopestyle and placed second in big air for the open masters division.

Why is that not surprising? Geoffroy-Gagnon won silver in slopestyle at a Canadian Open Tour event in January and went on to take four top-20 finishes in FIS NorAm events. He finished the circuit 13th in the national rankings.

“They take about 12 to the national team, so I was pretty close — almost there,” said Geoffroy-Gagnon. “I’ll go at it again next season, try to train hard this summer, and try to go back a little stronger.”

Despite his full season, Geoffroy-Gagnon put a new addition into his bag of tricks. Geoffroy-Gagnon completed a switch 1080 with a bow-and-arrow grab off the 55-foot jump in the big air competition.

“That’ll be good for comp season next season,” said Geoffroy-Gagnon.

“I’m excited to start training again for next season,” he added. “I’ll be working up on the glacier (at Whistler) all summer, so that’ll give me an advantage for next season.

“I’m a full-time digger, so I’ll be building the park up there and skiing it for the two months.”

As impressive as his trick was, it wasn’t enough to beat Miguel Rodden. The 23-year-old won the masters big air — among his tricks was a double-corked 1260.

Rodden also placed second behind Geoffroy-Gagnon in the slopestyle. The previous weekend at Sima’s season-ending celebration, Simapalooza, Geoffroy-Gagnon won the big air and Rodden the slopestyle.

“I’m stoked. It was a lot of fun,” said Rodden. “Etienne and I have been battling it out both weekends for the top spot. Either way, I’m happy. It’s just a fun event.”

Rodden is hot off a win down south. He took first place in slopestyle at the annual Showdown Throwdown Hoedown at Silver Star Mountain Resort near Vernon, B.C., at the start of the month.

“I think next year I’m going to do more (competitions),” said Rodden. “It was a good year for me.”

This year’s Yukon championship had different winners both days with one exception. Anwyn Tillett was the only skier to win both days with first place finishes in the under-12 girls division.

“She just learned her 360 and was able to put it down in slopestyle and in big air, which was really awesome,” said Pollock.

“I’m really impressed with how everyone did this weekend, especially the guys in the younger categories,” he added. “There were some new tricks thrown that were just learned last weekend and were put in competition right away. That’s really awesome to see. Great enthusiasm from all the kids and the coaches and the volunteers.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

Slopestyle results

U10 boys

1st Kieran Ritchie

2nd Jacob Robertson

U12 boys

1st Baylain Oettli

2nd Jacob Tipton

3rd Brendan Nash

4th Logan Collon

U12 girls

1st Anwyn Tillett

2nd Sapphira Oettli

U14 boys

1st Max Logan

2nd Emmett Ross

U16 boys

1st Austin Shaw

2nd Evyn Dinn

3rd Keegan Hopkins

4th Neil Mikkelsen

Masters men

1st Etienne Geoffroy-Gagnon

2nd Miguel Rodden

3rd Dylan Reed

Big air results

U12 boys

1st Lous Mouchet

2nd Kieran Ritchie

2nd Baylian Oettli

4th Logan Collon

U12 girls

1st Anwyn Tillett

2nd Sapphria Oettli

U16 boys

1st Neil Mikkelsen

2nd Nathan Scully

3rd Max Logan

U18 boys

1st Evyn Dinn

2nd Austin Shaw

Masters men

1st Miguel Rodden

2nd Etienne Geoffroy-Gagnon

3rd Dylan Reed