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Canadians podium at AFP finals

Mike Riddle wins halfpipe; Groenewoud third in pipe, Gagnier second in slopestyle



A long season of travel and events came to a close this past weekend with the World Skiing Invitational/Association of Freeskiing Professional Championships dropping in for three days of contests.

The Canadian skiers did well in the competitions, even though Kaya Turski didn't compete and Rosalind Groenewoud finished third in her event they both walked away with overall AFP titles in slopestyle and superpipe respectively.

The World Skiing Invitational is one of the longest running freeski events in the world, dating back over a decade to the very first twin-tip skis. The 2012 edition could also be the last WSI for a little while, as Whistler waits to find out whether its bid to host an X Games Global event in 2013 is successful. Most of the athletes hope it will be.

"We're all waiting for the official announcement, and I'll probably throw a party when it happens," said superpipe athlete Mike Riddle on Sunday. "It would be so awesome to have such a high-calibre event come to Whistler, to our home turf. All of us would just go crazy. We would love it."

The word from X Games should arrive by the end of the month.

The AFP Championships including three disciplines. The slopestyle competition took place on Blackcomb on Friday, the big air was on Saturday night and the slopestyle took place on Sunday, also on Blackcomb. Athletes didn't get a lot of sun but spring conditions were in effect from start to finish with soft snow and soft landings.


On the women's side, Anna Segal of Australia took the top spot with a top score of 90.0 points, followed by Emilia Wint of Colorado with an 86.4. Third place went to Pemberton's Yuki Tsubota, a late addition to the women's invite list who bested some of the top skiers in the world with a score of 83.0.

Montreal's Kaya Turski did not attend the event, but still finished on top of the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) World Tour slopestyle standings with 5,300 points. Segal closed the gap with her Whistler win to finish second with 5,034. Devin Logan of the U.S. placed third.

On the men's side, Colorado's Gus Kenworthy was the clear winner with two double corked tricks in his run, including a 1260 spin with a mute grab and the biggest air of the day on the bottom quarterpipe — a once-common terrain feature that left some of the athletes scratching their heads.

Kenworthy finished with a 92.4, followed by James Woods with an 89.4 and Joss Christensen with an 88.8. The top Canadian was Noah Morrison in eighth.

"I worked as hard as I could putting together a run," he said. "Every feature on the course was big and super technical, and you really had to be on it."