News » Whistler

Backstrom, Gaidet claim freeskiing titles

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"I had the choice coming into today between two lines, one easy and one harder. I chose the harder one. It wasn’t a big deal, but I had to think and I skied it not badly. It’s always a bit risky (dropping cliffs) but I did well because all the landings were good. I did a good job, and had a fun run."

Less than half a point behind McIntosh was Aurelien Ducroz of Chamonix, France, who started the day in ninth place and moved up six spots with a 50-foot drop and a huge double drop in an exposed section of the bowl.

Whistler’s Moss Patterson finished in fourth, winning the coveted Sick Bird award for the most daring run of the day. Estimates on the height of the cliff differ, but it was at least 50 feet from top to landing. Increasing the difficulty, Patterson crossed his skis and held a stylish grab most of the way down.

"I’m super stoked. Actually, this is my second time winning the Sick Bird. I won it three years ago at Snowbird in the U.S. Nationals, and was fifth place," said Patterson.

Although it would be nice to win, getting the Sick Bird trophy was a good consolation prize said Patterson.

"Winning a contest is great, although I’ve never done it before. The Sick Bird is something a bit different. It’s entertainment, and a big part of the future of the sport is making sure than it’s entertaining, and that we keep pushing it," he said.

Patterson doesn’t know how big the cliff was. "I have no idea," he said. "You just come off and see the bottom."

And the grab?

"I feel more comfortable grabbing off the large airs, you tweak back a little so you’re really stable, and when you release you come out of it in a solid position for the landing. If you get out of control a little on the bigger drops, it’s hard to come back out of them.

"You get used to it after a while. I’ve always done big drops, 50, 60 feet, and once you get more and more comfortable, it’s almost like second nature."

Although the conditions had some competitors second guessing themselves on the second day, Patterson said he made the decision to stick with his line.

"The conditions don’t really mean much because everyone is going to go hard," he said. "On the first day we saw a lot of injuries because people didn’t change their minds. I just stuck to my game plan, and things went as planned."

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