Comox Valley athletes were frequent visitors to the podium at the BC Freestyle Ski Championships, held over spring break (March 30 to April 3) at Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler.
Events were held for Youth in the single and dual moguls, halfpipe and slopestyle, and moguls and slopestyle for Super Youth competitors. With a 30 degree slope and 240 metres in length, the Blackcomb mogul course is considered one of the most difficult on the World Cup circuit.
Cassandra Sharpe of Comox, a member of Team BC, got things off to a great start for the locals with a silver medal in the junior female (16-18 years) halfpipe on March 31. Mt. Washington Freestyle Club competitors kept it going the rest of the week.
In single moguls on April 1, Natasha Pegg won bronze in F3 juvenile (14-15 years) while Dean Robin won bronze in M2 junior, Peter Stubbs took bronze in M3 juvenile and Layne Anvelt won bronze in M4 youth (12-13 years).
In slopestyle on April 2, Marisa Benisky won silver and Emma Benischek bronze in F3 juvenile while Max Heard (also of Team BC) won gold in M2 junior.
In Super Youth slopestyle on April 1, Madison Heisterman of MWFC won silver in F6 (9-10 years), Todd Heard took silver in M5 (11-12 years) and Keaton Hesterman scooped gold in M7 (9 and under).
In Super Youth moguls on April 2, Mei Pond won gold in F5 , Madison Heisterman took silver in F6, Todd Heard won gold in M5 and Keaton Heisterman won silver in M7.
Combined Youth and Super Youth dual moguls on April 3 produced some tough competition. Emma Benischek won bronze in F2 junior, Hannah Benischek won bronze in F5-6&7 Super Youth (12 and under), Layne Anvelt took silver in M4 youth and Todd Heard won silver in M5 6&7 Super Youth.
At the dual moguls Sunday the athletes were treated to medal presentations by special guests Chelsea Henituk and Eddie Hicks. Special guests Sarah Burke and Mike Riddle of the Canadian National Team commentated for the halfpipe and slopestyle events on Friday and Saturday. At the banquet on Friday night the kids were treated to a visit from their Olympic hero Kristi Richards.
With the ski season winding down these athletes get a short break to catch up on school work then they will be back to dry-land training which includes water ramps in Whistler in the summer, yoga exercises, weight training, and lots of time on trampolines perfecting the execution of their tricks.
Skier halfpipe is being added as a medal event for the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia and snowboarders are waiting to hear if slopestyle will be included as well.