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Freeriders in the medals at Lake Louise

Interest growing in sport



By Andrew Mitchell

While the freeskiing World Tour for adults may be in a state of flux these days, big mountain events for kids are taking off in Western Canada.

The Whistler Freeride Club has been an active participant, sending a group of skiers to Rossland earlier in the year, and to Lake Louise this past weekend for the Smith Optics Junior Freeride Contest. All told there were 97 kids in the contest, nine of them representing Whistler.

The Whistler kids held their own, with four podiums on the weekend.

In the Girls 16-17 group, Ariana Stufano placed first overall, while Lonnie Wake was third.

In Boys 14-15, Jordan Ling was third, Frazer Mcgaw fifth, Alex Prochazka 18 th and Jack Czarnecki 24 th .

In Boys 16-17 Ryan Sullivan was third.

“The crew was spinning off all the cliffs in the venue, and were backflipping most of them too in practice but inverts were banned on comp day,” according to Derek Foose, a founder and coach for the WFC.

“Ariana dominated the girls’ category with strong skiing and terrain management, winning the qualifying day by almost 10 points. Ryan threw three 360’s in the finals including a 360 with a double Japan grab over a 20 foot rock gap, and was very happy with third considering that he only turned 16 two weeks before this event and the guys that were first and second were almost 18.

“Jordan and Fraser threw down two of the biggest, most cleanly stomped airs of the day over cliffs that caused many competitors to explode out of both skies and sent one skier to the clinic with a concussion.

“It was a great trip and I’m really proud of how the kids skied.”

Every year the WFC hosts its own in-house big mountain contest during the spring, inviting parents to come out and watch. Details will be announced as they become available.”

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