Competition skiers are a hearty breed, and those in the big mountain world are as hearty as they come. Sure, every form of competition has it’s trials and tribulations, but when everything gets broken down, no genre of skiing puts a harder day to day toll on the mind and body than doing the big mountain circuit.

You would think someone who willingly hucks big cliffs, in variable conditions and visibility, onto what is guaranteed to be bombed out hardpack all winter long isn’t all there in the head. Contrary to what you might think of a big mountain competition skier, they are some of the friendliest, most supportive skiers our sport has. If you think about it though it makes sense, because let’s face it, the big mountain competition world isn’t exactly a spectators sport. These guys and gals are out there putting their physical and mental well being on the line in borderline horrible conditions on an almost daily basis. If they weren’t as tight knit of a group as they are, there would be nobody at the bottom of their run for a high five and a hug.

Canadian Open

Even when the fog is so thick, like it was on the qualifier day at Red Mountain, BC from Jan 12-15 2011, that the competitors couldn’t see their run while skiing it, they still wait and watch from the bottom of the course to cheer each other on as they finish their run. There is something special to be said about a group of people that will stare into the void of the fog for hours on end because of unquenchable stoke.

The weather just got worse for Day 2, with strong winds, warm temperatures, and even thicker fog. Both the skiers and judges decided to cancel the semi-finals, hoping the clouds would break for Day 3, which luckily for everyone involved, happened to be calm and clear. With only two runs, instead of the usual 3, everyone was hungry to put down the best run they could muster to try and come out victorious. A strong display of skiing from the whole field made for some tough judging and close scores. In the end though, CJ Wright skied fast and clean into 1st place with Alex Wall and Lars Chickering-Ayers rounding out the podium respectfully. On the ladies side of things Kasie Stroshin stood on top of the podium with Julie Thomas and Rachel Findler in 2nd and 3rd.

Females

1st: Kasie Stroshin

2nd: Julie Thomas

3rd: Rachel Findler

4th: Tatum Monod

5th: Leah Evans

Males

1st: CJ Wright

2nd: Alex Wall

3rd: Lars Chickering-Ayers

4th: Colson VB

5th: Michael Legare

The junior big mountain world in British Columbia has been giving the park scene a run for it’s money over the past couple years – and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Over the weekend of January 19th to 22nd, 115 competitors from the ages of 7 to 18 flocked to Red Mountain from as far away as New York and Vail to throw their name in the hat and see if they have what it takes to come out a winner. This says a lot, considering the seniors last week only managed to draw in 68 competitors, and rumors were afloat of it not happening in future years. While the senior side of things is seeing a lull in interest, the junior event sells out year after year, with huge support from everyone from parents to the industry.

Canadian Open

The competition was fierce, with everyone pushing themselves and each other, making for an exciting event to watch for everyone involved – which is saying something for the big mountain comp scene. The older skiers could even learn a thing or two from these groms, as some of them put down runs that rivaled those from skiers twice their age, guys and girls alike.

With the slow collapse of legit terrain parks and pipes and a decline in racing numbers, it is safe to say that the future of this sport lies with the kids doing the junior big mountain circuit, and from where I stand, the future looks bright.

 Canadian Open

Girls 7-11

1st: Jemma Capel

2nd: Olivia Moseley

3rd: Erin Flood

Males 7-11

1st: Parkin Costain

2nd: Sam Howard

3rd: Jackson Phillips

Girls 12-15

1st: Mackenzie Flood

2nd: Erin Kempt

3rd: Sally Steves

Males 12-15

1st: Xander Sterpin

2nd: Aaron Mackay

3rd: Kelley Humpherys

Girls 16-18

1st: Alex Bachmeier

2nd: Claire Mason

3rd: Dayna Mortimer

Males 16-18

1st: George Rodney

2nd: Keegan Capel

3rd: Michael Brush


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