This week, the Dew Tour hosted the world’s best halfpipe skiers in Breckenridge, Colorado. The Canadian athletes in attendance were coming off a productive weekend at the FIS World Cup in Copper Mountain, where Noah Bowman and Simon d’Artois both saw podium finishes.
This time, it was Cassie Sharpe’s turn to shine as she took her first title at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, a popular event on the AFP circuit. The victory brings the skier closer to her ticket to the Olympic Games. Sharpe had also won the FIS World Cup in Cardrona, New Zealand at the start of the season.
The Comox, B.C. athlete had already made her intentions clear by winning the qualifying round on Wednesday with a score of 88.33. “The qualifying round is always the most stressful,” she said. “It’s worse than the final! I was happy to land my run on Wednesday and then relax a bit.” She was, in fact, able to sustain the momentum by going into the final round with the same clear focus she showed days earlier, albeit with a tiny error that she was able to quickly correct. And Sharpe wasn’t quite done yet. On her second run, the Canadian skier improved her performance and impressed the judges with a combination of beautifully executed tricks that earned her a score of 93.66, putting her ahead of the leader, French skier and World Cup champion Marie Martinod. “I knew that I could do better after my first run and I just needed to clean up the run that I already had to bump myself up and that’s what I did. And it worked, which was a relief,” said Sharpe, whose run incorporated a right 9 at the top of the halfpipe, followed by a left flare, right 3, switch 3 with mute grab, truck driver straight air, followed by a cork 9 with tail grab and finishing with a right flare with a grab.
To seal her spot on the top podium step, and with her win already in the bag, Sharpe was able to enjoy a celebratory run. It was a great way to celebrate a first Dew Tour victory. This was her third time attending the event, where she’d finished second in 2015.
For the men’s team, Noah Bowman got the best Canadian ranking of the day with a fifth-place finish in the final and points of 90.33 on his first run. Mike Riddle also made the finals, finishing seventh.
The halfpipe contest was back in Breckenridge for this edition of the Dew Tour after being cancelled last year for lack of snow. The situation was very different this time around, with Mother Nature bestowing the ideal combination of snow and cold weather on the athletes all week.
This platinum stop on the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) circuit is a favourite with freeski athletes, who love the high level of competition and diversity of contests, which have all the hallmarks of a spectacle, to the great enjoyment of the crowds and athletes alike.
Roz Groenewoud and Brendan Mackay were both injured in training and could not take part in the competition.
The team now enjoys a two-week break before heading to Winsport, Calgary in early January for a training camp.
Results for Canadian athletes:
Men: Noah Bowman (5), Mike Riddle (7), Simon d’Artois (13)
Ladies: Cassie Sharpe (1), Rachael Karker (12), Keltie Hansen (13), Megan Warrener (21)