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Freestyle club in the medals


Mogul skiers breaking new ground with aerial manoeuvres

The Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club landed on top of the heap last weekend as the B.C. Freestyle Ski Association’s provincial series wrapped up with foggy contests at Revelstoke.

Langley’s Eddie Hicks, a member of the BFSC, won gold in both the single and dual moguls among the juvenile boys with fast skiing and huge airs. His runs included a 360 and a back flip, which he just qualified the previous weekend on the Blackcomb aerials site. In both contests Hicks beat the rest of the competition by more than one point.

Vancouver’s Zach Glanzberg was solid in the aerials, taking the gold with a perfect back layout. He also performed well in the moguls competitions, landing a Lincoln loop and a back flip in the airs, but losing a ski.

Whistler’s Dana Jensen, 13, won a silver in the dual moguls youth women’s division, which is her best finish this year.

Keltie Hicks, Eddie’s younger sister, was second in the youth moguls.

Now that the provincial series has wrapped up, the athletes will be focusing on the upcoming junior freestyle nationals at Vernon, from March 12 to 14. Some of the athletes will also be competing in an upcoming Canadian series event at Cypress Bowl from March 5 to 7.

"The (skiers) have been training hard, and just put a bunch of cool jumps under their belt at our aerials site, and qualified a lot of flips," said head coach Marc McDonell.

To be allowed to flip in competitions, freestyle athletes first have to qualify their flips on the water ramp during the summer. At a recent training session at the aerials site behind the Glacier Lodge on Blackcomb, many of the athletes qualified their jumps on snow as well, including moves likes backflips and twisting flips that are only starting to be seen on the World Cup moguls circuit.

"It’s all pretty new," said McDonell. "Some of the kids, their airs are on par with the guys on the World Cup, which is pretty cool. A couple of our guys are on their way to the national team in the next few years."

Despite the club’s success and the growing resurgence of freestyle skiing – there are more World Cup events on the calendar this year than ever, as well as World Cup skier cross, halfpipe and big air events – the Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club has seen its membership drop this season.

The BFSC believes that will turn around when kids and parents realize that freestyle is more than moguls and aerials, and that the club is embracing freeskiing as well as current Olympic disciplines.

"We want to get people aware that we’re up there skiing in the terrain park with our coaches. We’re doing moguls, and providing safe places to train for table tops, like the aerials site which has a soft landing," said McDonell.

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