All that glitters is not gold – there’s plenty of sparkle and shine in silver.
That was the story for Comox Valley talent at the 2015 FIS World Freestyle Ski & Snowboard Championships in Kreischberg, Austria this past week.
Leading the way were the Sharpe siblings, Cassie and Darcy, of Comox. Cassie hit the podium first, winning 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 Sharpe, 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 the 22-year-old Sharpe. “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.”
“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.”
Meanwhile, Darcy earned silver on Saturday in the Big Air snowboard competition, which concluded the world championships.
Darcy earned solid scores on both his jumps to finish with 169.50 points while Roope Tonteri of Finland was the winner at 173.75. Kyle Mack of the U.S. was third at 163.50. Sharpe stomped a switch backside 1260 and a frontside double 1280 nosegrab.
‘’It feels pretty good,’’ said Sharpe,19. ‘’I was happy to land my runs. Those were the best I can do right now after coming off some big injuries. It’s a big confidence boost.’’
Darcy just missed the podium on Wednesday, finishing fourth in an exciting snowboard slopestyle race. He was top three all the way up to the last rider, and it was the last rider Tonteri that bumped him to fourth.
Darcy finished with a score of 90.75 while Mack got bronze with 92.75.
Darcy now heads to the Burton European Open in Laax, Switzerland this week.
In the FIS snowboardcross competition on Jan. 16, Carle Brenneman of Comox placed 16th. Brenneman then flew to Aspen for the 2015 Winter X Games, where she qualified 11th, placed sixth in her semifinal and finished second in the SBX consolation event.
Also at the X Games was Spencer O’Brien of Courtenay, who finished fourth in women’s snowboard slopestyle but made history, if not the podium.
The 2014 Olympian stomped a huge backside 900 (four complete rotations in the air) on the last jump during her second run in finals on Sunday. She had planned to spin 720, but added the last rotation and set a new record in Aspen.
Cheryl Maas was the first lady to land a backside 9 in competition at Euro X Games in 2012, and O’Brien, 26, made X Games history for stomping this one on Jan. 25.