Athletes from across North America and further afield descended upon Kicking Horse for the resort’s annual big mountain ski and snowboard competition over the weekend.
Sunny conditions provided the athletes with some excellent visibility and some fairly soft snow as 87 athletes competed across four categories, men’s and women’s ski and men’s and women’s snowboard.
A pair of locals were among the talent that was showcased over the weekend, including last year’s snowboard champ Ave Perry and Kicking Horse ski patroller Alex Giesbrecht.
Unfortunately Perry failed to qualify for the finals after falling and posting an 18.37 score on Friday, but Giesbrecht did his mountain safety colleagues proud with a rock solid 31.43 qualifying run to put him in Saturday’s final.
“I felt pretty happy with Friday, it went well,” Giesbrecht said. “I ended up in 15th place and I stayed on my feet so I’m pretty happy about that.”
On Saturday the Calgary native had a sizeable group of fans watching him from CPR ridge and he nailed the top of his final run before slipping up towards the end.
“I hit the bottom air a little off balance and I couldn’t hold on to her,” he said.
Giesbrecht ended up with a small cut.
“It was just a couple of stitches, nothing big,” he said.
The judges gave him an 8.80, which was good enough for a two day total of 40.23, placing him 25th out of 44 total skiers.
American Martin Lentz was the top male skier with a two day total of 68.67. Audrey Hebert won the women’s snowboarding competition while Jonathan Penfield posted the top score among the men. Kyle Sivell earned the women’s ski title.
Giesbrecht says it was a fun experience despite the minor injury he sustained in his second run.
“The top athletes take it pretty seriously and are definitely dialed in to what it takes to ski well in these types of competitions. For me it was more just something to have fun and represent mountain safety.
“It’s good to show that ski patrollers aren’t just there to close things and to enforce rules. We obviously love to shred as well.”