Final Results
Canadian Freeskiing Championships
Whistler, British Columbia

  • Quals: Competition is Underway
  • Day 1: Gnarly is the Word, Ashton, Knouse and Rollins Lead
  • Day 2: Linda Peterson and Jeff Holden Win It
  • Audio Interviews

    Jeff Holden
    Jeff Holden, Men's Winner
    January 7, 1999: Finals
    Jeff Holden from Fernie, BC and Linda Peterson from Sandy, UT led a group of outstanding skiers in Diamond Bowl on Blackcomb Mountain to win the 1999 Canadian Freeskiing Championships.

    The venue, which lies in Garibaldi National Park on the fringe of Blackcomb, is a huge bowl with everything from extremely steep, technical cliff sections, wide open areas and practically endless opportunities for big air and steep landings. Each skier leaves the start gate and picks his or her way down, staying in tune with the challenging terrain and the limits of his or her ability. And they often push it beyond, relying on guts and commitment.

    Linda Peterson
    Linda Peterson, Women's Winner
    The question of the day was: which air will each competitor hit? How big will they go? Firm conditions mean that most jumps (with multiple drops or long 50-80 footers) aren't soft landings. The competitors have to know what's below and stick it, or lose points to judges who don't want to encourage unwise decisions. It's a huckfest... but it isn't. That's just one factor that makes these skiers the best in the world, and for each competitor, their run is a self expression piece. If you ask most of them, the most important thing is that they're having fun.

    Peterson skied aggressively to take the women's title, choosing a challenging jump on her way down and nailing a beautiful landing, and though she left the venue in a sled with a blown ACL, she's stoked. "Big-Air" Barb Peters, from Crested Butte, CO came in second with a solid run and of course, big air. Shamai Mushen, also from Crested Butte, took a technical line through rocks and ended with an awesome launch for 3rd.

    Pete Sowar
    Pete Sowar
    2nd Place Men's
    Whistler local, Wendy Brookbank, who has skied for Warren Miller and is in this year's all-girl ski film, "No Man's Land," took 4th place with a solid run but decided not to take the big air she checked out. "I'm incognito today... I wore this different jacket from yesterday so the judges wouldn't recognize me," said Brookbank.

    Two of the women competitors suffered knee injuries today: the winner, Linda Peterson, and 9th place Sarah Newman from Whistler.

    Barb Peters
    Barb Peters
    2nd Place Women's
    Holden, who landed the biggest air on the second day of last year's event, once again laid it all out, flirting with exposure and nailing huge air and enormous speed without hesitation. "The adrenaline is pumping so hard that you just try and slow yourself down," said Holden. "I think about the flow, keeping it smooth, breathing, keeping your eyes wide open, making sure you're hitting your landmarks so you don't end up in a bad way."

    Pete Sowar from Crested Butte, CO took second place for the men, skiing a line through the mince meat section (because that's what the rocks look like from below) and landing solid air off a buttress-type rock. In third place was former World Cup skier Jim Moran from Park City, UT. Whistler local, Rob Alford and Robbie Rollins of Girdwood, AK tied for 4th.

    Jim Moran
    Jim Moran
    3rd Place Men's
    Moran's freestyle experience has made him ready and psyched to compete in freeskiing comps. We asked him how freestyle prepared him for this type of skiing.

    "I tell you what it did, I'm not nervous at all in the gate," said Moran. "I'm looking around at these guys and they're all just freaking out up there, and they should, because this is crazy shit. But you know I feel really comfortable in the gate and I think all the comps I competed in, almost 90 World Cup competitions, and just the time in the gate is just key as far as and making sure that you're mentally prepared and you have the right attitude for your run."

    Shamai Mushen
    Shamai Mushen, 3rd Place for the Women
    Todd Windle from Paihia, New Zealand was the first to launch off of Lobotomy Rock, a 100 foot-high double drop air with a ledge half-way down. Windle made it look easy. But the leader from the semi-finals, Andy Knouse, cost himself the contest when he took a huge fall off the ledge with a nasty landing. Miraculously, he was not injured and still had some vertical left to redeem himself, finishing 22nd.

    Robbie Rollins, who tied for first in the semi-finals, skied a smooth, fluid run through mince meat ending with a big air. Though it was not enough to keep the lead, he tied again on the final day for 4th.

    World Extreme Skiing Champion Chris Davenport, who won 24 Hours of Aspen a few weeks ago, hit everything from one of the most technical top sections to Lobotomy Rock but lost a ski on what would have been a perfect landing to finish 15th.

    Frenchman Arnaud Adam, the 1998 World Extreme skiing champion, took an aggressive line hitting three separate sections of cliffs to make his way down, moving up to 12th place from 29th in the semi-finals.

    "Yesterday I was very disappointed with my run, and today I had fun," said Adam. "During my ski [run] I was laughing. I love it— especially the last part with the ice, because it was very steep and the landing was flat so you have the compression so strong. It was very fast."

    Other notable competitors during this week's contest were 1998 French Freeskiing Champion Sebastian Michaud, 1998 World Champion Francine Moreillon, Canadian team member John Smart, 1998 US Extreme Champion Rex Wehrman and veteran stuntman John Eaves.

    Check out photos of: Andy Knouse, Pete Sowar, Jennifer Ashton, , Jennifer Berg, Hugo Harrison, Chris Kent, Shamai Mushen, Jim Moran, Doug Ward, Dawn McShinsky, Justin Glick, Tina Fraccola and Chris Eby.

    The next stop on the Freeskiing World Tour is Snowbird, UT, January 25-28. Check out The Mountain Zone for complete coverage.

    — Michelle Quigley, holding it all day for The Mountain Zone

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