By Karen McColl
Thursday’s qualifing round in the Canadian Freeskiing Championships was a big deal for competitors, many of whom were competing in the Freeskiing World Tour for their first time. Under clear skies and crisp temperatures hovering near -13 Celsius with wind chill, 17 females and 72 males showcased their talent and fought for a position in the main competition Friday and Saturday.
Today’s competition was held at Separate Reality, a steep and partially gladed run with two distinct cliff features near the top. A tight, steep, tree area on the bottom half of the course was referred to by FWT announcers as ‘Satan’s Alley’, and gave the competitors options for small airs and drops, as well as creative lines through the trees.
The most important decision a competitor makes is their line choice, and head judge Jim Jack reminds athletes, “stand on your feet and don’t ski beyond your ability.”
Although a difficult line receives the highest score, any fall will almost automatically knock a competitor out of contention. Relative to their line choice, they are then scored on control, fluidity, technique, and aggression.
On the men’s side, RMR skier Eric Young qualified in first-place and got the crowd’s attention by ‘stomping’, or solidly landing, his cliff drops and taking solid speed and air through Satan’s Alley. His previous freeskiing experience includes competitions at Red Mountain, Lake Louise, and Fernie.
Angel Collinson, of Snowbird, Utah, used her skills as an alpine ski racer to lead her to a first place finish in the qualifying round. She was pleased with her debut competition on the Freeskiing World Tour.
“I felt good, had fun.”
Having travelled with the US Ski team last year, Collinson is no stranger to competition.
Areas that gave competitors troubles were the cliff landings, deemed by announcers as being “flat, if not concave,” and a mogul field to skier’s right near the bottom of the course where several skiers took tumbles.
Cool temperatures and shade maintained the snow consistency on the course for most of the day, however after run inspections and 50 competitor runs, it is inevitable that most of difficult lines get ‘skied-out.’
“You get to the top of a cliff and you see that it’s all skied out and you don’t want to hesitate but you have to,” announcers sympathised.
FWT Event Director Bryan Barlow thought that the competitors “made the best of the venue,” and mentioned that tomorrow’s venue in North Bowl is tougher and more challenging. It also has significantly more vertical.
35 athletes qualified today and will join the approximately 40 pre-qualified athletes competing tomorrow in Day One of the Canadian Freeskiing Championships.
You can find out all the local and quasi-local competitors did here: https://legacy.revelstokecurrent.com//2010/01/07/revelstoke-freeskiers-prove-themselves-as-they-contend-for-a-canadian-freeskiing-championship-spot/