The Yukon Freestyle Ski Team was once again a force to be reckoned with at the Canadian Junior Nationals.
Yukon coach Steven Harlow was “super happy” with his team’s performance last week at Silver Star, outside of Vernon, B.C.
“Every single person who went from Yukon was top-10 in every discipline,” said Harlow. “It really just shows how good they are.”
Yukon skiers made the podium for the third straight junior nationals last week. Kyran Allen won silver in big air for males 18-and-under and teammate Dylan Reed won gold in big air and silver in slopestyle for males 20-and-under.
“I was pretty excited,” said Reed. “It’s never a bad thing, but in my category - it is a junior national competition and I’m getting a little bit old for those comps. So there weren’t many guys my age that were there. I actually only had one other competitor. There were supposed to be two others, but one of the guys ruptured his trachea or something - had air pockets in his stomach. I don’t know. He had to pull out, so I only had one other competitor in my category.”
The 18-year-old captured silver in the slopestyle hitting a switch misty 900 with method grab, right-side corked 720 and a left-side corked 900 on the jumps.
Reed, who won both the big air and slopestyle at the Yukon Freestyle Ski Championships this year, also did a switch misty 900 with method grab for his gold in the big air event last week.
“He’s been working on that trick for a while and he has it in an absolute lock,” said Harlow. “It took it way down the landing, super big, and in the landing he stomped it.”
“I think it’s the same trick I got third place at junior nationals last year,” added Reed.
Allen claimed his big air silver - out of 20 competitors - with a switch bio 1080 with a mute grab. He performed the same trick to take fourth at the Canada Winter Games in February - a record result for Yukon at the Games in freestyle skiing.
“It was the best one he’s ever done,” said Harlow of Allen’s silver jump. “He did it perfect. He absolutely deserved that silver medal ... He was right behind Patrick Dew, who won or came second in every other competition. (Dew) won gold in every competition at junior nationals.”
Allen also placed eighth in the slopestyle event on Saturday.
Yukon’s Niko Rodden took fifth in slopestyle and eighth in big air. Etienne Geoffroy-Gagnon, who won three gold at last year’s junior nationals, took seventh in slopestyle and sixth in big air.
Those results propelled the Yukon skiers up the standings in the slopestyle-big air combined competition.
Out of 46 skiers from all of the age groups, Allen came fourth overall (third for M18); Geoffroy-Gagnon seventh (fifth for M18); Rodden ninth overall (sixth for M18); and Reed placed 10th overall (first for M20). (Medals were awarded to only the top three overall finishers.)
It’s been a busy few weeks for the Yukon team. Just before the junior nationals they competed at the 10th annual Showdown Throwdown Hoedown at Silver Star, with Rodden making a final. However, the team lost Josh Harlow, who won Yukon’s first-ever medal at the junior nationals two years ago, to injury at the event.
“Josh got hurt in his run - possibly cracked a couple ribs and bruised his liver on one of his qualifier runs,” said Steven. “The other guys weren’t able to put down their runs like they wanted to.”
A day before the Hoedown the team competed at the Dew Tour at Sun Peaks Resort, outside of Kamloops. Rodden was again a stand-out, finishing one spot from making slopestyle finals.
The Yukon Freestyle Ski Association also sent a different group of skiers to Silver Star for the B.C. championships in the middle of March. Yukon’s Lyndsey Boorse won gold in the slopestyle event for females 18-and-under.
“It’s always a lot of fun on these ski trips,” said Reed. “It’s nice to get out of Whitehorse for a bit and shred. That’s really all you have to focus on. You improve a lot on those trips.”
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