By Tanya Reck-Petersen and Deb Hillary
A group of local freeskiers made a successful trip to Breckenridge, Colorado to compete in the X-Games Qualifier Jan. 9-12.
The X-Games Qualifier is an open event that invites skier throughout the ski world to come and stomp their best bag of tricks to win a spot in the ESPN X-Games. The competition had two disciplines: slopestyle, which had four positions open for the X-Games Jan. 24-29 in Aspen, and halfpipe, which had only three spots open for Aspen.
This X-Games is one of, if not the largest, Freeski competition world wide and carries much respect throughout the ski industry as well as a huge reputation with all new school freeskiers.
At Breckenridge there were a handful of skiers representing Canada and Whistler. Rex Thomas was competing, but had already pre-qualified for halfpipe; Mauro "Newspin" Nunez also competed, but did not qualify; Chris Turpin of Whistler had a wildcard for the X-Games slopestyle and he won the halfpipe qualifier final. Turpin skied one of his semi-final runs completely backwards, performing tricks and grabs all the way down the pipe.
Chris and the rest of the Whistlerites were suffering from the altitude and dehydration as we were trying to acclimatize to the 9600ft resort base elevation.
The Calgary boy Chris Biolo also qualified, taking positions in both the halfpipe and slopestyle at the X-Games. Watch out for this kid.
Rory Bushfield, also from Calgary, had been pre-qualified for the X-Games along with Phil Belangé, who soared out of the pipe with clean solid runs and the top score of the halfpipe finals.
The rest of the Whistler Crew had very respectable finishes, Kye Petersen was eighth in his slopestyle heat and two positions off making the semi-finals in the halfpipe.
Callum Pettit, competing in both in slopestyle and halfpipe, skied strong and smoothly, as did Sean Pettit, the 11-year-old kid with way too much style for someone so small. All representing Whistler-Blackcomb Mountains.
With such good early season conditions at most ski resorts across North America everyone has been skiing more powder than park, so they are off to train for the X-Games Jan. 24-28 and the US Open Jan. 29-Feb. 2 in Vail, Colorado.
The New School Freeskiing movement is continually becoming more popluar and recognized as a technical sport that demands focus, training, and discipline with much passion and desire. Keep the love of skiing alive.
Thank you to Freeze Magazine that supports and holds all these great professional competitions and all the people behind the athletes supporting the sport of skiing. Atomic, Axis, Comor, Circle, D.N.A, Electric, Leki, Stuntwax, Summit Ski, Oakley, Giro, K-Z, Rossignol, Line, and Orage.