Skye Clarke has had plenty of slopestyle success in North America this season—now she's hoping to bring it to the world.
The 16-year-old Whistlerite has podiumed in two of her five NorAm Cup events this season, including a win at Waterville Valley Resort in January. That excellence helped her make the Canadian contingent getting set to represent Canada at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships in Klappen, Sweden next month.
"I never really expected it. I was just at school on my spare. I opened my email and there was an invite," she recalled, noting that she contacted close friend Josephine Howell to let her know they both made the team.
Clarke leaves for Europe on April 4, but will first head to Quebec for the week before for the final NorAm event of the season where she will look to lock down second place in the overall standings. Admittedly, it's been a whirlwind season for the rookie, who splits her training time between Whistler and Calgary.
"I didn't expect any of it to happen, to be honest. It was my first year on the NorAm circuit, so I wasn't expecting what happened," she said.
All told, Clarke said she was most proud of her showings at Waterville and the March 17 event at Mammoth Mountain, where she took second. As the season has gone on, Clarke has worked hard to up the difficulty of her runs and, hopefully, secure higher scores in the process.
"I definitely put down the hardest runs I've ever done in Mammoth, so I'm really excited about that," she said. "I just learned a switch (900), so I just added that into my run in Mammoth for the first time."
The Junior Worlds will be Clarke's first overseas competition, though she had her first across-the-pond training session in New Zealand earlier this season. Clarke is taking the new experiences in stride, attempting to soak in as much as possible and become a better skier.
"I've just gotten a little bit more confident with everything," she said. "I've learned two (900s), so that's really cool. I've just been skiing and learning."
Locals shine on national stages
Whistler athletes performed impressively in a plethora of recent national-level events.
Leading the charge was 14-year-old Chase Capicik, who placed fourth in moguls at the National Championships at Val-St-Come, Que. on March 23. Capicik missed the podium by less than two points. Teammates Brooke Armstrong and Malica Malherbe placed sixth and seventh, respectively.
On the men's side, Sam Cordell took a 10th-place finish in a packed field while teammates Josh Maga (14th) and Philip Kang (29th) also hit the top 30.
In the March 24 dual moguls, Jessica Linton was the top local in ninth while Capicik and Malherbe were 12th and 14th, respectively. Maga, meanwhile, took 26th among men.
Capicik was fresh off winning a silver in U16 dual moguls and bronze in moguls at the Canadian Junior Championships at Le Relais, Que. the weekend prior, while Leda Walker (U14 women's) and Mattheus Heslop (U14 men's) won bronze in their respective divisions. Emilia Oziewicz, meanwhile, came home with bronze in U14 women's aerials.
At the other half of the Canadian Junior Championships in Calgary earlier this month, Caoihme Heavey topped the U16 women's slopestyle event while taking a fourth in big air.
At the Canada Cup event at Mount St. Louis Moonstone, Ont. on March 16 and 17, locals boasted a pair of fourth-place finishes as Josephine Howell was just 2.60 points off the podium for halfpipe, while Ben Lynch was just 1.80 back in the men's competition. In slopestyle, Howell took another fourth-place showing, four points off the podium, while Lynch placed 14th.