By Nicole Briggs
Rossland’s MacKenzie Flood, Simon Hillis and Samantha Kuhn took top honours in the 16th annual North Face Canadian Open Freeskiing Championships (COFSC) at Red Mountain Resort Jan. 16-18.
Flood won the female 15-18-year-old category while Hillis fended off fellow Rosslander Bohdi Ellis-Kusy to win the male 7-11-year-old category. Ellis-Kusy finished second.
Kuhn took the top spot in the female 7-11-year-old category, but Rossland’s Erin Flood was close behind in second.
Sunny skies and packed powder greeted more than 136 competitors from all over North America for the three days at Red, with a reliable snowpack allowing for top-notch ski action as the best junior skiers attacked Granite Mountain.
The competition venue was located on the east side of Granite Mountain on Papoose Bowl and Link’s Line.
Both are black runs with jumps, cliffs and rocks to maneuver around or boost off.
Red Mountain Resort was the first National Stop in North America and one of only four national events in Canada on the International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association (IFSA) Junior Event Series.
The COFSC showcased some of the best junior freeskiers in North America. Freeski clubs were represented from as far as Winter Park, CO, Sparks, NV and Seattle, WA.
There was regional and local representation from Whistler, Calgary, Vernon, Nelson, Fernie and approximately one third of the field was from Rossland.
“The athletes displayed awesome athleticism amongst fast and chalky conditions,” said technical delegate and head judge Jeff Holden. “Excellent energy and camaraderie was felt amongst the community creating one of the most memorable junior events ever.”
Athletes were competing in this IFSA freeski event as part of a series of other events with the hope to be crowned North America’s Best Freeskier in their respective age and gender categories.
In addition, it brought together the freeriding competition community, emphasizing personal growth and development through healthy decision making and creative expression.
The IFSA, now the International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association, is working to enhance the sport of competitive big mountain freeriding by creating a uniform set of guidelines to ensure consistent and credible competition.
For more information on this event please go to: www.canadianopenfreeskiing.com.
The competitors were judged on five main criteria:
• line (difficulty of terrain chosen)
• control (the skiers ability to maintain control)
• fluidity (maintaining a constant flow)
• technique (a skiers quality of turns)
• style and energy (personal flare, energy and creativity with which a competitor attacks or descends his/her chosen line or route)