Eight athletes from the Mount Washington Freestyle Club qualified for the Junior National Freestyle Championships at Apex Mountain last weekend.
Skiers from all over the country turned up to see how well they measured up in four different competitions: slopestyle, moguls, big air, and dual moguls.
Three athletes qualified for all four events: Teal Harle (Mount Washington), Mei Pond (Nanaimo) and Todd Heard (Duncan). Riley Heard (Duncan) and Peter Stubbs (Courtenay) qualified for the mogul events, and Layne Anvelt (Parksville), Erin Sketchley (Campbell River) and Hannah Benischek (Victoria) qualified for big air.
Podium of Life student Teal Harle, 16, stood on the podium a couple of times.
In the first event, slopestyle, Harle won a bronze medal amidst a strong field. His run, which included sick tricks on rails combined with three big jumps where he spun hard, was enough to sneak by fourth place into third. The second day of competition was moguls where Harle’s first run earned him ninth place, which was good as he wiped out on the second run.
The third day of competition was very exciting, as athletes threw huge tricks off a massive jump. Harle stomped his first hit, switch bio 9 grab. His second jump he over-spun a switch bio 1080. But his first jump was good enough to earn him a silver medal.
Pond, a 13 year old from Victoria, was at the top in all four events. Her slopestyle run impressed the judges enough to earn her a bronze medal. She skied her way to a silver medal in single mogul. In big air her 720 was good enough to earn her a fourth place finish. And in the final event, dual moguls, she raced against a number of other girls and finished with a bronze medal.
Sketchley, another Podium of Life student, hit the big air jump with a huge double spread and finished seventh, just behind teammate Hannah Benischek.
Anvelt finished in the top 20 in both the big air and slopestyle competitions. Stubbs narrowly missed out on a podium finish in moguls. His fantastic run earned him a high enough score to finish fourth.
Riley Heard finished in the top 10 in moguls. Unfortunately, Todd Heard, one of the most dominant B.C. skiers, watched as he nursed an injury.
These skiers are off to Silverstar next week to compete in the last of the B.C. Series races.
– Podium of Life Ski Academy