When Teal Harle struggled to land his first of three runs at the Big Air Jamboree in Quebec City on March 24, he knew he had to step up.
The 21-year-old's strategy was thrown off early on in the final FIS Freestyle World Cup event of the season, but "a miracle" came together and helped him score a two-run combined score of 180, good enough for third.
"That was the first time I landed those tricks all day," Harle said. "I had a really hard time landing the switch 720. That's what I was focusing on because that's the harder one. I'd done the dub 900 (switch left double 900 safety) a lot. I knew how to do it, so I just had to do it. I spent the whole morning trying to land the switch dub 7, but I couldn't do it all day until my last try in my run. I don't know what happened, I just landed it.
"The first run, I crashed on the dub 9, which I was supposed to land first try, and give myself two tries on the switch dub 7. But I crashed on the dub 9, so I went 'Uh oh, that's not good.'
"I was more stressed than I would have otherwise been.
"I was happy just to land it."
Harle said the conditions had been the same on comp day between practice and the live action, but some of the training provided different slopes, which made it somewhat difficult to adjust.
"I couldn't figure it out because they had salted the take-off, but not as much as the in-run," he recalled. "You just kept accelerating.
"It's only a fraction of difference, but it kept throwing me off."
Harle said while the field sizes were small—19 men and six women—he still greatly enjoyed his time in La Belle Province.
"It was nice. We didn't have to wait in lines at the top or the bottom or anything," he said.
Harle added the competition takes place in an easily accessible neighbourhood of Quebec City, just off the Dufferin-Montmorency access roads where spectators could get themselves a good look at the action.
Other Canadian athletes also excelled as Dara Howell won the women's event and Megan Cressey took third.
In snowboard, Olympic silver medallist Max Parrot won the men's event while Antoine Truchon placed third. On the women's side, Laurie Blouin scored a second-place finish while Whistler resident Gillian Andrewshenko placed eighth.
Harle plans to wrap his season officially with the World Ski and Snowboard big air event here in Whistler in April.