Comox Valley talent was very much on display at the 2015 FIS World Freestyle Ski & Snowboard Championships in Kreischberg, Austria this week.
Leading the way was Cassie Sharpe, who won silver Thursday in the ski halfpipe event. Despite having to delay her third and final run due to an injury to French skier Anais Caradeux, Sharpe impressed the judges enough to jump into second place.
She finished with a score of 81.00 while gold medallist Virginie Faivre of Switzerland had 83.80. Bronze went to Mirjam Jaeger of Switzerland with 79.80.
“This is crazy,” an ecstatic Sharpe said after the event. “I landed my first two runs, but the judges wanted me to grab my flares. So you give the judges what they want. I grabbed my flares (on the last run) and they rewarded me. I went big for the last run and brought all the pieces together that I’ve worked so hard for.
“We had a crazy training camp in Calgary before coming here and my coaches were amazing. They made me a better skier in a week and I owe my consistency to them.”
In the women’s qualifications on Jan. 21, Sharpe earned the second highest point total with a 75.40. It was a gratifying day for the native of Comox, who was one of the six women to qualify for the finals.
“I finally got my flares back-to-back again. I feel comfortable and confident. It’s probably some of the best riding I’ve ever done,” said Sharp. “I feel so amazing. I’m coming back from a broken collarbone. It’s only been three-and-a-half months. It’s a relief coming back to the pipe.”
Meanwhile, Cassie’s brother Darcy just missed the podium, finishing fourth in an exciting snowboard slopestyle event on Jan. 21. He was top three all the way up to the last rider, and it was the last rider Roope Tonteri that bumped him to fourth.
Darcy finished with a score of 90.75 while Kyle Mack of the USA got bronze with 92.75.
Darcy competes one more time in the Big Air on Saturday at 9 a.m. before heading to the Burton European Open in Laax, Switzerland next week.
“My sister did amazing,” Darcy said in a Canadian Freestyle Ski Association press release. “She put down several good runs and seemed like she was having fun out there. I’m really stoked. It’s been a good week. I wished her good luck before the race and gave her a hug. She did it all. I’m super happy for her.”
In the snowboardcross competition on Jan. 16, Carle Brenneman of Comox placed 16th. Brenneman is now off to Aspen for the 2015 X Games. She finished fifth in her event at last year’s Games.
Joining her at the X Games is Spencer O’Brien of Courtenay, who will be looking to better last year’s third-place finish in slopestyle.
In December, O’Brien (a 2014 Olympian) finished fourth at the Dew Tour Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado.