After starting their seasons in New Zealand last August, the Canadian halfpipe team resumes World Cup competitions this weekend in Copper Mountain, Colorado.
Eager to build on the momentum of the August event, which resulted in a first-place showing for Cassie Sharpe and third place for Simon d’Artois, the team settled in Cadrona, NZ for a month from September to October. There, the athletes worked on refining their jumps, giving rise along the way to such firsts as the “switch dub 12” by the always-creative Noah Bowman.
The team finished training in Whistler, BC before heading to Colorado, where the 22-foot halfpipe ramp will be used by the sport’s top athletes. One of the most important seasons in ski halfpipe resumes on December 6 with the qualifying rounds and concludes with the finals on December 8.
With already one competition – and one win – into the 2017/2018 season, Cassie Sharpe’s goal is to do her best at the events leading up to the Olympics. “I’m going to do all the tricks I feel most confident about and try to land each run with the hope that I qualify for the finals in each event. I made a little mistake last year at Worlds, so my goal now is to be consistent and go into the World Cups with no pressure – just do what I love most,” said Sharpe, who ended her last season fourth in the general FIS rankings. Sharpe, with her wins at the FIS World Cups in Tignes and Cardrona, is in an excellent position to cement her spot on Team Canada and compete in her first Olympic Games. She looks ahead to that prospect with maturity. “As we get closer to the Games, I want a few podiums to strengthen my position. I want to make the most of the Olympics – to be there with Canada and with my family and friends and seize that occasion to show what I can do.”
On the men’s side, the veteran trio of Mike Riddle, Simon D’Artois, and Noah Bowman will certainly be one to watch early on this season as the Canadian squad faces teenage up-and-comers in a battle for a podium spot. There is no doubt, this will be an exciting time for Freestyle Canada athletes as they approach the high-point of the competition year : the Winter Olympic Games.