ASPEN, COLORADO (January 26, 2013) – Canada’s women added two more medals to their 2013 X Games cache today as Kaya Turski and Dara Howell picked up silver and bronze in a challenging women’s slopestyle event.
“I’m so excited about the silver medal … and relieved,” said Turski who didn’t get the X Games four-peat, but did pull off one of the most brilliant comebacks of her freeski career to day to get on the podium.
Turski was sitting in last place when she dropped for her final run in the best-of-three format, after having problems with the second feature on the course.
“You know, the second rail kind of messed with me, it’s so silly, I feel like it’s often the features you don’t even think twice about that give you a hard time and today they did,” said the Montreal-native who won the previous three X Games and who is known for her prowess on the rails.
To add to the excruciating pressure, while Turski was waiting to drop the rider before her, Ashley Battersby from the US, crashed on her final jump and injured her leg. The course was held for almost an hour while medics attended to Ashley and Turski waited in the start gate.
This was the second serious injury and course hold of the day for the women, as Rose Battersby (no relation) of New Zealand was taken to hospital following a serious fall in training. Rose’s condition is not known at this time.
“It was for sure a little bit of a mind game and the course changes a little over that time too,” explained Turski. But despite the circumstances, she rallied with an excellent run to catapult her onto the podium with a score of 90.00. Tirill Sjastad Christiansen of Norway was the winner at 92.33.
The silver medal was only part of the celebration for Turski, who achieved a personal milestone by competing an off-axis trick in today’s competition. The trick is called a rodeo 540 and she performed it flawlessly off the second jump in the three rail, four jump course.
When she was uncharacteristically kept out of the medals earlier in the month at the Copper Grand Prix, she said she knew it was time to pull out something different, “The Grand Prix kicked me in the butt a little bit and kind of woke me up. I knew I needed to bring to competition some of the off-axis stuff I have been working on and this was the time. Here I had my awesome coaching staff around and all those guys gave me the confidence I needed, and I knew I had to pull it out, so I did and I’m really proud of myself for doing it.
“It’s great to have my limits pushed. It’s obviously a challenge, but that’s why I ski — to push the limits of women’s freeski and to push myself. I feel so honored and excited to be part of such a fast-growing and cool sport that’s going to blow up. These girls, my friends, they keep me on my toes and it really keeps the edge going. I’m a competitive girl and I think the year ahead of me is going to be really good.
Teammate Dara Howell is one of the only other women in the world who performs a rodeo 540. The trick helped her score 89.33 in her second run, enough to match her bronze position from Euro X in 2012.
“I’m really happy to be on the podium and I landed the run from Dew Tour that I fell on so that’s great, but I did make a few mistakes here,” said Howell who was fifth at December’s Dew Cup. “I missed my grabs a little bit, but I’m happy to be on the podium. I definitely want to keep progressing, progression is huge for me, I want to keep pushing the sport and pushing myself and today was a run I knew I could put down and I just have to get those grabs better for next time.”
Yuki Tsubota gave a solid rookie performance. The Pemberton, B.C. native landed in sixth with a score of 87.66.
On Friday, Canada’s women’s halfpipe skiers Rosalind Groenewoud and Megan Gunning also earned silver and gold at their X Games event, bringing Canada’s total here to four medals.
The winner of today’s men’s event was Nick Goepper of the US who scored 94.00 on his final run. Henrick Harlaut of Sweden was second at 92.66 and Great Britain’s James Woods scored 92.00 for the bronze.
Canada’s only entry into finals, Alex Bellemare, threw down and impressive third run, but just missed the podium with a score of 90.66, for fourth place.
The 19-year-old from Shawinigan, Que. had a clean run and performed one of the coolest rail tricks in the competition, a misty 450 off the gap rail — essentially he came off the rail sideways and performed a loop to land backwards, but it just wasn’t enough to sneak onto the podium.
Noah Morrison of Vernon, B.C. and Alex Beaulieu-Marchand of Quebec City finished 13th and 15th, respectively, in the elimination round.