Canadian Halfpipe Ski Team on Top at World Championships

Canadian Halfpipe Ski Team at Park City. Photo: Trennon Payntor

Canadian Halfpipe Ski Team at Park City. Photo: Trennon Payntor

By Trennon Payntor
Coach, Canadian Halfpipe Ski Team
Published: February 6, 2011

Park City, UTAH — It’s official, Canadian Halfpipe Team skiers have won both the women’s and men’s Ski Halfpipe World Championships.

A serious storm blew in this morning, with gale force winds that temporarily threatened to shut down the event. Despite the typhoon-like conditions, our athletes stepped up to the wintery conditions like proud citizens of the Great White North, and showed the rest of the world what Canadian athletes are made of.

In the women’s final, we had Roz Groenewoud, Keltie Hansen, and Sarah Burke representing for Canada. Sarah nailed what was arguably the best trick in women’s event with a huge inverted 900 on her second hit. Things were looking good for Sarah until lower down in here run she landed sideways on one of her flares, losing some speed. She did a great job of finishing the run, but the mistake definitely affected her score.

Keltie skied a great run with big spins both ways and a really composed position in the air, making difficult tricks look easy. She was rewarded by the judges and held onto second place for almost the entire final.

Roz G stepped up her game bigtime today and nailed an awesome run with a 900, right and left side 540s, and a great switch 540 at the end. Her score had her holding the lead as the other skiers dropped in.

With only one competitor (Defending World Champion Jen Hudak of the USA) left to go, Roz, Keltie, and Sarah were holding first, second, and third place. The chance of a Canadian podium sweep was right there in our grasp, but the American skier put down a really solid run of her own, and all we could do was wait to hear the score…. When it was announced, Jen moved into second place, disrupting our stranglehold on the podium and bumping Sarah into fourth. While it was not quite perfect for us, it sure was close! Getting the win, and all three of our girls in the top four, was such a thrill for the team and all of the Canadian fans in attendance!

Next up were the men, and our first skier to drop was Alberta’s Noah Bowman. Noah skied a very clean, but somewhat conservative first run, and then went for it on his second run, going for a double cork 900 on his first hit. He needed just a little more airtime to complete the rotation, and came up a bit short. Still his first run score was enough to hold onto

Then it was Justin Dorey’s turn, who did not hold back at all, sending a huge doublecork 1260 on his opening hit. Unfortunately he was blasted by wind gusts on both runs, and couldn’t quite get the trick back into the pipe, clipping the deck and going down both times.

This left it all up to Mike Riddle, who won the qualifying round yesterday which meant he was the last man to run in finals. He wasted no time, stomping a near perfect first run with his own double cork 1260, and a super technical combination including all four 900s (left and right, switch and forward).

Mike moved well into the lead after his first run. Because he was the last man to go, he had the advantage of knowing where he stood on the second run. As competitor after competitor dropped in, Mike’s score remained untouchable, and when the final skier before him finished their run, the score came in and it still was not enough to unseat him! This gave Mike a chance for a victory lap, as he was assured the victory and the World Championship title! Considering the emotion he must have been feeling at the time, it was a pretty sweet victory lap too, punctuated by a great twister spread on his last hit.

We can hardly express how happy the team is right now, to capture both the men’s and women’s titles! Thank you to everyone who supports us and an extra special thank you to our tireless ski tech Kenny, who was putting in all-nighters this week to ensure that we had the best preparation and fastest skis possible.

Now, celebration time!

World Championships Ski Halfpipe final results (top 10)
1. Rosalind Groenewoud (CAN)
2. Jen Hudak (USA)
3. Keltie Hansen (CAN)
4. Sarah Burke (CAN)
5. Devin Logan (USA)
6. Brita Sigourney (USA)
7. Mirjam Jager (SUI)
8. Katrien Aerts (BEL)
9. Emi Matsuura (JPN)
10. Manami Mitsubishi (JPN)
1. Mike Riddle (CAN)
2. Kevin Rolland (FRA)
3. Simon Dumont (USA)
4. David Wise (USA)
5. Byron Wells (NZL)
6. Xavier Bertoni (FRA)
7. Tucker Perkins (USA)
8. Benoit Valentin (FRA)
9. Jossi Wells (NZL)
10. Nils Lauper (SUI)