MARTOCK, N.S. – Skiers flew down the course, grinding on rails and flipping through the air – really big air.
The Slopestyle competition on Feb. 3 at Ski Martock saw athletes, ranging from seven-years-old to 17 show off their skills on the terrain park.
Toby French, who lives in the Brooklyn area and is in the U16 category, has been with the Martock freestyle team for four years. Liam French, Toby’s brother, got him into the sport.
“It was definitely an exciting day for me, being able to be out here doing what I love,” French said after the competition wrapped up.
He’s hoping to keep with the sport, perhaps make it to the professional level.
“I see more racers wanting to test out the park these days and wanting to ski with the park crew,” he said, adding that he thinks freestyle skiing is catching on with young skiers.
Freestyle skiing is about putting together an orchestrated routine using different rails, jumps and tricks and the judges score on the overall impression of their run through the park.
It’s about skill and style.
Daniel Jurt, a U18 freestyle skier from Wolfville, said the conditions were ideal for the competition.
“I liked my first run, but my second one kind of fell apart,” Jurt said.
“For myself, this isn’t about competing against everyone else, it’s about seeing how far I can progress, watching myself get better.”
Andy MacLean, general manager of Ski Martock said they’re happy to host championships like this, even though one of the hills is temporarily shut down to the general public.
“You’ve gotta have good general skiing skills of course, but other than that you need really good air awareness, good body awareness and a really good sense of control,” he said. “And, you’ve gotta be pretty brave.”
MacLean said approximately 50 per cent of the athletes were from Martock, with the remainder coming from the Wentworth ski hill.
Kevin Marczak, chief of competition, makes sure everything runs smoothly.
“From the athlete’s point of view, it’s a very family-oriented sport, because there’s no pecking order,” Marczak said. “They all have respect for each other.”
The competition on Feb. 3 also kicked off the Atlantic Slopestyle Series, which is split between Martock, Wentworth and Crabbe Mountain in Fredericton.
Athletes range in age from under eight to under 18.
Reba McIver, head judge of the competition, has been competing in moguls since she was eight years old and has been judging for the last five years.
“It’s really neat to watch the progression from year to year,” she said. “I don’t see them training throughout the season, just the competitions, and growth year-to-year is astounding.”
“I’m always impressed when athletes have a pretty bad fall on their first run, but are able to get their thoughts back in order and lay down a really great second run,” she said.
Under 8 years of age:
Gold- Rylie Durning –Wentworth
Gold – Kaleigh Wilson –Wentworth
Silver – Marley Eisner – Martock
Bronze – Maya Teakles – Wentworth
Gold – Bella Farris – Wentworth
Silver – Lillian Blois – Martock
Gold- Anwyn Dittrich-Tillet – Wentworth
Silver – Renee Gauthier – Wentworth
Gold – Ben Woo – Martock
Gold- Ryker Durning – Wentworth
Silver – Griffin Cameron – Wentworth
Bronze- Jack Cameron – Martock
Gold – Tucker Doiron – Wentworth
Silver – Ryder Cameron – Wentworth
Bronze – Carter Noseworthy – Wentworth
Gold – Malcolm Farris – Wentworth
Silver – Rowan Durning – Wentworth
Bronze – Cole Mundle – Wentworth
Gold- Marcus MacDonald – Wentworth
Silver – Toby French – Martock
Bronze – William Batt – Martock
Gold – Thomas Davies – Wentworth
Silver – Hussain Hamrouch – Martock
Bronze – Daniel Jurt – Martock
Gold – Zachary Surette –Martock