The Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club returned from the 2004 Junior National Freestyle Championships at Silver Star with two national champions and a total of six medals against the top young skiers in Canada. The event ran from March 11 to 14 with moguls, dual moguls, halfpipe and big air contests.
Although the pitch for the moguls competition was fairly mellow, the awkward position of the jumps made the course challenging for jumpers. Still, the next generation of freestyle athletes made the most of it and landed airs that would make World Cup judges sit up and take notice. Many of the competitors, including a juvenile girl, were landing back flips with iron crosses off the top air and corked 720s off the bottom jump.
In the youth women’s category the BFSC’s Keltie Hicks won the gold medal in the single moguls with two fast and fluid runs, landing the single jumps that had been giving her problems all season.
Her score of 16.21 put her ahead of Frederique Bonnenfant of Quebec and Kiera Leung of the Vancouver Freestyle Club.
Keltie’s older brother Eddie Hicks was also successful, earning a silver medal in the juvenile men’s competition. Eddie was in the lead after the first run, just 0.3 points ahead of Robbie Winter of Jasper. It came down to the second run, where Winter laid down an almost perfect run to pull ahead of Eddie and take the gold.
Eddie Hicks’s teammate Zack Glanzberg also had a solid run to finish in sixth place out of 21 skiers. His turns were tight and nobody could beat his jumps, which included a Lincoln Loop off the top air and a back flip off the bottom, but he was penalized for a slow time.
Cameron Doyle also skied well in the junior men’s competition, finishing 15 th in a field of almost 30 skiers.
The sun came out for the big air competition the following day, softening the snow for jumpers.
Keltie Hicks was once again strong, landing double and triple manoeuvres to win the bronze medal among the juvenile women.
Glanzberg was the club’s star performer for the day with a bronze medal in the juvenile category against a strong field, landing a back lay and front tuck.
In the junior competition Cam Doyle had trouble with his landings, but finished 10 th in the junior men’s contest with a solid 720 on his last jump.
According to Brad Hicks, the president of the BFSC, the kids in the big air competitions are coming on strong with 13-year-olds landings 1440 spins, corked 900 spins, and switch 720s.
"You name it and we saw it," said Hicks. "The competition is heating up fast, these guys are good. Look for big moves from Canadian freestylers in the park, pipe, big air and the moguls over the next few years."
The halfpipe took place on Sunday. Keltie Hicks won yet another gold medal for her performance after tying a Silver Star skier for first place. The second-run score was used as a tie-breaker, and Hicks came out on top.
Drew Diggins and Shane Jensen were sixth and seventh among juvenile men in the halfpipe out of 15 competitors.
The halfpipe event was followed by a dual moguls contest. Dana Jensen was solid in the youth women’s category with a fifth place finish.
Keltie Hicks was strong once again, although a bobble on the bottom section of the course in the finals against cost her the gold medal. She settled for silver against Frederique Bonnenfant, who she beat earlier in the single moguls.
Glanzberg was on his way to the podium in the junior men’s competition until a botched landing of a Lincoln Loop cost him one of his heats. He settled for eighth overall.
The BFSC’s Eddie Hicks met with Jasper’s Robbie Winter again in the final round, and this time it was Eddie who finished on top after a photo finish.
The highlight of the day was when both Hicks and Winter hit the bottom air at the same time and performed almost identical back flips with iron crosses.
Although the competitive season is over for most athletes – 15-year-old Eddie Hicks was invited to compete at the senior nationals this year – the Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club will continue to train through the spring. Many of the athletes will be using the jump site behind the Glacier Creek Lodge to train for the World Skiing Invitational qualifier.
Other interested freeriders are invited to join the club in training. Call BFSC head coach Marc McDonell at 604-935-2711 to sign up.