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Cameron adds to season with podium finish

FWT rookie off to Alaska this week for contest in Haines



Whistler's Lauren Cameron slipped in under the wire.

And now, she's in a position to truly show what she can do.

With a third-place showing at Fieberbrunn Kitzbuheler, Austria, the 23-year-old Freeride World Tour rookie claimed the seventh and final slot to attend the penultimate contest of the year in Haines, Alaska.

At the March 9 event, which was delayed three days because of heavy snowfall and low visibility, Cameron's score of 78.33 held off Austria's Lorraine Huber, who notched a 77.66.

After her third-ever event on the tour, Cameron said she's starting to settle in.

"I was feeling pretty good," she said. "I was excited for my lines. What I saw, I was excited to ski, so that made me not so nervous. It was a weird mindset. I was nervous, but I was excited to go ski it and see what I could do with it.

"There was this channel drop to the chute I saw during inspection and instantly, my eyes were drawn to it. I thought 'I want to hit that.' It was just me working my line and looking forward to hitting the air," she said.

Cameron has improved each time out, starting with an 11th-place result in Vallnord, Andorra before posting a seventh-place finish in Chamonix, France. She said the most recent contest was the most confidence she's enjoyed all season.

"I was in the right headspace, for sure, and I was ready to ski how I normally ski," she said. "In my first (event), I skied not like me, very weak and (I) just didn't do anything how I wanted to ski and in Chamonix, it felt better. Once I was in Austria, I felt a lot more confident on my skis."

Cameron said there's been some adjustment jumping up from the junior ranks. In addition to facing off with veteran competitors and former champions, there's also more pomp and circumstance and distractions that have been difficult to get used to.

"It's just getting used to everything because with the tour, you've got helicopters and cameras and everything going on. In the first event, there was so much going on... In the next one, I was a little more used to it, but I was a little more worried about the snow," she said. "It's still an ongoing process. I'm more used to it and I can handle it better, but it still shocks me that who I'm up against is world champions and (skiers) who have been competing for years, so that plays in my head, too."

In qualifying for Alaska with her 3,270 points to this juncture in the season, Cameron was excited not only to add to her season, but attempt to capture some magic on more familiar terrain that suits her aggressive style.

"I'm really excited for that one. I've always wanted to ski in Alaska so it's a good opportunity," she said. "It's more what I'm used to skiing — steeps and powder.

"I'm looking forward to heading up there and checking out what they have."

Cameron feels she can earn herself a podium step in Alaska when action kicks off. According to an FWT release, riders will compete some time between March 17 and 25 as there is "highly variable, extreme maritime weather" in the region, which is located in the remote Alaskan backcountry roughly 31 kilometres southwest of Skagway.

"I'd like to be in the top five or even hit the podium again," she said. "I would like to be up there with those top girls. And stay on my feet."

Pembertonian Logan Pehota also qualified for Haines after strong results in his first two events of the year elevated him to first place, though he's coming off a 13th-place finish in Austria. Even with the lower result, he's still tied for second with 4,000 points, 700 back of France's Loic Collomb-Patton.


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