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Turski on top at Euro X Games slopestyle

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Montreal's Kaya Turski successfully defended her European X Games slopestyle title for the fourth consecutive year on Thursday, March 21, holding off a Norwegian skier and teammate Dara Howell in the best-of-three final competition.

The athletes appealed to the organizers to delay the start of the event to let the fog and snow clear, and were rewarded with blue skies for the main event.

"Huge props to the organizers listening to us on this," said Turski. "I think it's a huge step in the right direction to recognize and acknowledge the safety issues on the course... that plays into and helps the progression of the sport, because the more comfortable and the more fun we're having on course, the more athletes are going to shine and show their best."

Turski won the FIS World Championships this year, but placed second in the X Games at Aspen. "I really wanted to come back and prove myself and get that top spot at X Games," she said. "I feel like I came here wanting to prove that I still have my spot in the sport, especially among all these new young girls with so much talent."

Turski's run included a new trick that she calls her "Turkey Roll" and the smoothest rail slides of any competitor. Meanwhile Howell picked up the bronze medal with a run that included a corked 720 — one of the best in the sport right now.

Pemberton's Yuki Tsubota breakout season continued with a fifth place result, further improving her chances of qualifying to represent Canada at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

In the men's competition, Alex Bealieu-Marchand placed fifth while Noah Morrison was eighth. Both skiers are young, 19 and 18 respectively at Euro X Games.

In halfpipe, Canada was shut off the podium. Roz Groenewoud placed fourth in the women's competition after battling flu all week. Her final score, an 84.3, was decent but not what she would usually see.

"I didn't get as much training as I would have liked, but I skied really well," she said. "My left five (540 spin) was quite a bit smaller than some of my other hits, so by comparison it was pretty small even if it was maybe the same height as some of the other girls."

Groenewoud has been on four major podiums, but wasn't her usual golden self this season. Instead of doing her stock run she's been working to add new tricks and increase her air time.

"I think I made some big progress and worked on a few bad habits," she said. "I took some steps back to fix some basics and I'm glad I did it because I have noticed that a lot of other girls are making the same mistakes I was and they're going to have to go back and fix those basics at some point. Obviously I still need to get even better at them but I feel like there have been big improvements with a lot of my takeoffs."

Keltie Hansen was sixth for Canada. French skiers Marie Martinod-Routin and Anais Caradeux were first and second with scores of 86.33 and 85.33, and Maddie Bownman of the U.S. was third with an 85.0.

On the men's side, Mike Riddle placed fourth with a score of 90, behind American's Torin Yater-Wallace (93.66) and David Wise (92.33), and French skier Kevin Rolland (91.66). Matt Margetts placed eighth after making the eight-skier final, while Noah Bowman just missed the finals in ninth place.

Immediately after the action at Tignes, France, Riddle was on his way to the World Cup finals at Sierra Nevada, Spain. Riddle and Groenewoud both won their categories, while Noah Bowman earned a bronze medal. Matt Margetts finished just off the podium in fourth place.

As well, Mike Riddle was presented with the FIS Crystal Globe as the overall halfpipe champion for the season.

"It's such a cool trophy," he said of his globe. "I started out as a mogul skier, so I've wanted a globe since well before I got into halfpipe. I can't really believe I have one of my own now."

While Riddle spends a lot of his time competing on the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) world tour, he said the FIS trophy was significant for him.

"Up to this point I've never really been able to show that kind of consistency and do well for a whole season."

Riddle's crystal globe is the third for the freestyle team. Mikael Kingsbury won the overall freestyle crystal globe and the globe for men's moguls.

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