Four of the Yukon’s best young freestyle skiers were in Whistler from Feb. 2 to 4 for the Super Youth and Timber Tour competitions.
Two skiers took part in the Super Youth event, designed for younger skiers under age 14, and two competed in the Timber Tour event for older skiers.
Anwyn Tillett had the most impressive results out of the Yukon contingent, taking first place in her Super Youth category in both slopestyle and big air.
Head coach Graham Pollock said Tillett’s performance was impressive.
“Anwyn absolutely destroyed the competition,” said Pollock.
On the male side, Kieran Ritchie skied to a 10th place finish in the big air and was unable to finish a clean run in the slopestyle.
Pollock said the Super Youth events are all about getting experience, and that competition runs are irreplaceable.
“If they start at a young age, they can really feel out what it’s like to go to a different mountain competing against different people,” said Pollock. “Up here, we’re pretty isolated in terms of our competition. You don’t really know what everyone is getting up to. I can tell them, but they don’t know until they see it.”
The other two athletes, Max Logan and Neil Mikkelsen, both skied in the under 16 male category of the Timber Tour.
Logan finished 13th in big air and 16th in slopestyle while Mikkelsen was 17th in big air and 10th in slopestyle.
Pollock said the course for the Timber Tour was likely the biggest the two had ever skied.
“They did really well,” said Pollock. “Given the fact most of the guys in the top 10 were from Whistler and have skied that course for an entire season, I think they did pretty awesome.”
The team now has five weeks to prepare for the next competition at Big White in March. Mikkelsen is also preparing for a trip to the Canadian Junior Nationals in Barrie, Ont., later on in March.
“We’ve got a nice solid break,” said Pollock. “We didn’t have much time in between competitions to learn any new skills, but since we’ve got five weeks off, we have lots of time to learn tons of new tricks and get ready.”
Training has been underway since November, and involves trampoline, dry-land and on-snow sessions.
Add to the rigorous schedule the fact the weather can be a bit extreme, and Pollock said it can put pressure on athletes to make the most of training opportunities.
“You don’t want athletes going too crazy on the jumps when it’s -30 C out and sometimes the hill closes and we miss days,” said Pollock. “It’s pretty important that when we are training we use our time very wisely.”
Although the competition schedule is still in its infancy, Pollock said the results are already better than last season.
“They’ve made huge improvements from where they were at last year,” said Pollock. “I’m just super proud of all the athletes and their parents for supporting them.”
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org