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Ashton first, Harrison second in freeski championships


The Canadian Freeskiing Championships went off this year – off cliffs, off cornices, off piste and completely off the beaten path. From the qualifier in Ruby Bowl, to day one on Chainsaw Ridge, to the grand finale in Diamond Bowl, the world’s best big mountain skiers put their skills and their guts to the test last week on Blackcomb.

Whistler’s Jennifer Ashton, Hugo Harrison and Pierre Yves-Leblanc landed in the medal rounds.

Ashton won the gold with the two highest scores of the competition, and a total score that would have put her in the top 10 of the men’s competition.

Harrison, the reigning world champion, finished second after making a slight speed check on a skied out ledge.

Harrison was in first place on day one after taking a set of cliffs and pillows at full speed. Then Philou Troubat of Les Arcs, France pulled out a backflip over a cliff and the two were tied going into the second day of competition. Troubat pulled ahead the next day when Harrison was forced to hold up on a cliff that had been cleared of snow by other competitors. The gap lost the incumbent champion some fluidity points and dropped him into second.

Yves-Leblanc laid down two solid runs to earn third place overall.

From Whistler, the freeski tour moves on to Snowbird, Utah for the U.S. Nationals Freeskiing World Tour from Jan. 20 to 26.