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Smart, Kelly claim Canadian titles

Local freestyle skiers secure multiple medals at junior championships



The Whistler Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club has some national champions among its ranks after several skiers from the club put on impressive performances at the Canadian Junior Championships in Le Relais, Que., last week.

When the four-day event wrapped up on Sunday, March 16, Luke Smart had five medals in hand, including two gold, to lead the eight Whistler skiers in attendance at the event.

Competing at the Youth level, Smart opened the event by claiming a boys' slopestyle title on March 13. He followed that up by landing back on the podium each day, skiing to silver-medal finishes in big air, moguls and dual moguls.

Smart's results in big air and slopestyle were also enough for him to capture gold in the newly awarded combined category, which considers the results for skiers in the two disciplines.

"I am so stoked to have been able to do well in all four events," Smart said in a release. "I put down two of my best runs ever in slopestyle, landing a switch cork 1080, so that was a really great result for me."

Brenden Kelly also won a Canadian title at Le Relais at the Junior level, securing dual moguls gold in a battle with fellow B.C. skier Jordan Kober. Kelly, also a member of the Canadian Sport Institute team, finished with a bronze medal in the single moguls event.

Whistler's Sofiane Gagnon, who has spent most of her season competing on the Nor-Am Cup moguls circuit, also collected multiple medals during the event. The 14-year-old picked up silver medals in women's slopestyle, moguls and dual moguls in the Juvenile age group.

Five other Whistler skiers were part of the B.C. team that competed at nationals, many of whom had to leave for Quebec right after the last Timber Tour stop in Vernon.

Lucas Pelletier and Evan Lowe each recorded two top-10 finishes at the Canadian Championships at the Youth level. Pelletier placed fifth in big air and seventh in slopestyle, while Lowe finished eighth in both events. At the same age level, Sam Cordell skied to ninth place in moguls.

Juvenile skier Charlie Armstrong also broke through with a top-10 result, earning his best finish in slopestyle by placing eighth. Also at the Juvenile level, Whistler's Aidan McConnell earned a pair of top-15 finishes, his best coming in slopestyle, when he ended up 11th.

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