PRINCE GEORGE, B.C.
Freestyle skier Kyran Allen had never done a switch bio 1080 with a mute grab before Sunday.
The Yukon never had a top-five finish in freestyle skiing at the Canada Winter Games before then either. It does now.
The 16-year-old landed the trick to place fourth in the big air competition at the Games on Sunday in Prince George.
“It feels pretty good. I’m pretty stoked about my fourth place,” said Allen. “There are more competitions to come and hopefully I can do good.”
Allen did the trick – crossing his skis with the grab and rotating three times in the air – in the qualifying rounds and the final to set a new high water mark for the territory. He placed second in the qualifier and was pushed down two spots in the final, scoring an 82.30, just 1.70 behind the bronze winner from Alberta.
“It’s a pretty big trick,” said Yukon coach Steven Harlow. “I think there’s only one other guy doing a switch bio 1080, and that’s Josh (Harlow) and he didn’t make finals. It’s a pretty massive trick.”
Only the top eight skiers in the field of 28 moved on to the final, and Allen wasn’t the only Yukoner to do it.
Teammate Niko Rodden qualified in fifth and went on to take eighth in the final.
He did a switch bio 900 in the qualifying rounds and a corked 900 with a tail grab in the final.
“There were a lot of 900s today, so it was really hard for the judges,” said Yukon coach Stuart Robinson. “So it came down to the amplitude and how well they were getting their grabs.”
Rodden almost didn’t even compete Saturday – he first needed a doctor to sign off on it. With his right eye already purpled from a face-plant during a training run, Rodden sprained his wrist in the final of the slopestyle competition on Saturday. He went on to place seventh in slopestyle as the only Yukoner to advance past qualifier.
“It’s been a great experience, lots of great things happened, even through I got hurt,” said Rodden. “I threw down in the slopestyle, made it to the finals. I didn’t land my run in the slopestyle finals, but I was still super stoked.”
He wasn’t the only skier having trouble piecing to together a clean run in Saturday’s slopestyle final in icy conditions. Just two of the eight finalists made it down with only their skis touching the snow.
With his wrist in a brace, he didn’t ski with poles in Sunday’s big air.
“Honestly, today I wasn’t expecting much from my performance, but I ended up landing my tricks better than I expected,” said Rodden. “My injuries didn’t stop me at all.”
“He uses that hand to grab, so he had to get through a lot of pain to get that grab,” said Robinson. “Every time he grabs it, it hurts.”
Anyone who’s been to an event like the Canada Games knows the Yukon fans tend to be the loudest cheerers. Boisterous is the word. Sunday was no different, but cheers roared from everyone – including the obnoxious announcer – when Yukon skiers landed big trick after trick. Spectators were scratching their heads, trying to figure out how little ol’ Yukon could produce so many top-notch skiers.
“We’re super proud of our team,” said Robinson. “I was talking to the head judge and they were so impressed by the Yukon team. We were basically a couple small mistakes away from multiple podium spots. That was really impressive.”
All of Yukon’s male skiers were well inside the top half of the standings following Sunday’s big air.
Dylan Reed claimed 11th and Josh Harlow 12th out of 29 skiers.
Reed, a last-minute addition to the team following the injury of a teammate, landed a corked 1260 for the highest rotation of any skier on the hill.
Reed also skied to 10th in Saturday’s slopestyle, just ahead of Josh in 11th and Allen in 16th.
Yukon’s Dawn Bohmer also pulled off a new trick Sunday. The 17-year-old landed her first 540 in the big air to place 16th – another best for Yukon.
“The 540 was the first time I’ve ever done one,” said Bohmer. “I decided at the top I was going to do it. So that was a new trick for me.”
“My big air was definitely better than my slopestyle yesterday.”
Bohmer also claimed 16th in the slopestyle with a 360 on the top jump, a mute grab on the second and a double spread on the bottom jump. After the first of two runs Bohmer was in fifth place, but was pushed out of a spot in the final in the second run.
“This is a really big, strong field for the girls – 23 athletes today – and so 16th place is excellent,” said Robinson. “She did great.”
Teammate Lyndsey Boorse took 21st on Saturday and 20th on Sunday.
The previous best finish by a male Yukon skier at the Games was a sixth place set by Miguel Rodden – Niko’s older brother – at the 2011 Games in Halifax.
With the Yukon skiers only competing in the slopestyle and big air, Sunday’s competition marked the end of the Games for the team.
“It’s been really fun. There’s lots of people to talk to after skiing,” said Allen. “The food is great. It’s just a fun opportunity, a great time.”
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com