The 2017/2018 freeski World Cup season ended today with the 10th edition of the Big Air event at Îlot Fleurie, in Quebec City’s Lower Town district. It was the first Big Air competition for a number of skiers, as the discipline wasn’t part of the 2018 Olympic program. Therefore, athletes had chosen to focus on their slopestyle preparation for the Games.
Yet, Big Air is a highly popular competition for the freeski community and could very well become an official Olympic discipline for the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing. A number of Canadian-team Olympians, including Dara Howell, Kim Lamarre, Alex Bellemare, Teal Harle and Evan McEachran accepted the organizing committee’s invitation for today’s Jamboree to finish the season flying high off the 40-metre-high, 91-metre-long ramp build between the Dufferin-Montmorency highway access roads.
On the women’s side, only four Canadians were part of the big final as Kim Lamarre and Elena Gaskell both got injured in training. Lamarre, from Lac Beauport, unfortunately sustained a collarbone fracture in training only minutes before the final. And Gaskell hurt her knee and it was decided that it was best for her not to risk the competition. The win went to Sochi Games champion, Dara Howell. “It means everything to me to end the season with a win. Just to come out here and have no pressure for the Big Air and walk away with the win means everything to me. This is my first Big Air event and I hope there is more of these events in the future for me. I think it’s really good for the sport. There are so many people out here today watching. It’s just awesome that there is a Big Air event in Canada!,” said Howell. Young Megan Cressey from Winsport Academy took third place.
On the men’s side, Teal Harle managed to grab third place with a well-executed third jump. The Campbell River, BC athlete had to land his third run to earn a podium spot. “I couldn’t land any of my tricks in practice and I didn’t have any other plan so I had to figure things out during the finals which is what I did,” explained Teal Harle, who particularly appreciates Big Air events. “It’s really cool to compete in this location, between the highways and so many people came out here today to watch us and the atmosphere was great!”
This event was the last one on the 2017-2018 FIS World Cup calendar. Only one competition remains for the freeski athletes, the Oslo X Games scheduled from May 16 to 20.