Whistler’s Justin Dorey led a Canadian sweep of the podium in Calgary on Friday (Jan. 3) as the men’s national halfpipe ski team built up some more momentum ahead of the sport’s Olympic debut.
Dorey earned the first World Cup victory of his career at the event, taking a score of 87.20 from judges to take top spot. He was flanked on the podium by fellow national team skiers Noah Bowman (84.40), who grabbed silver, and Matt Margetts (82.60).
Whistler’s Simon d’Artois also recorded a career-best World Cup result by finishing fifth to continue what’s been a strong start to his season.
“Winning today allows me to change my priorities for the rest of the season,” Dorey said in a release. “Now, it’s all about revving it up for my Sochi run … and winning this event, standing beside my best friends, is the best feeling ever.”
Dorey has missed parts of the last two seasons due to injury, and spent several months recovering from shoulder surgery in 2013. Now competing at full health, the Vernon native is getting back to the form that’s made him one of the world’s top competitors in the pipe.
“It’s been a long, challenging recovery from my shoulder surgery last year but I finally feel like I’m skiing like myself again,” Dorey said in an email to <i>The Question</i>. “Over the last year, I’ve been very fortunate that I have my friends, family and support staff at (the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association.) They’ve all been behind me 100 per cent.”
Dorey now joins Mike Riddle as a lock for the Canadian team at next month’s Olympics in Sochi. The 25-year-old said he’s been skiing a little more conservatively in early-season contests as he’s worked to secure his place at the Games.
“Now that I can stop worrying about trying to get my Olympic team spot I can focus on doing some more progressive runs,” said Dorey.
Riddle did not compete in Calgary as he rested a bruised heel. Rosalind Groenewoud, who will compete in the women’s halfpipe event for Canada at the Olympics, also missed last week’s World Cup as she recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery.
Megan Gunning was fourth for the top Canadian women’s result in Calgary, while Keltie Hansen finished eighth.
The American team that will also have several podium threats in Sochi didn’t send any skiers to the Calgary event, but that doesn’t mean Dorey can’t take any positives away from the victory.
“Although the field wasn’t as deep as it will be for the next few contests, I can use this win as positive momentum moving forward into the next three competitions,” he said.
d’Artois gets X Games invite
Local product d’Artois came away from Calgary very pleased with his performance and now has one other big contest on his schedule before the end of the month.
The 21-year-old fell on a double-cork attempt on the first finals run Friday but put together a clean trip through the pipe on the second run for a score 78.60. He finished just one-fifth of a point out of fourth place, held by Switzerland’s Yannic Lerjen.
“I was very excited,” d’Artois said Sunday (Jan. 5) before boarding a plane to Colorado. “It’s my best result at a World Cup and it gets me that much closer to potentially making the Olympic team, so that’s cool.”
“I know I have a run that can put me in finals, so now what I have to do is fine-tune it so that I can make it on top of the podium.”
Thanks in part to his seventh-place finish at the Dew Tour event in Colorado last month, d’Artois has now received an invite to the Winter X Games in Aspen that will take place at the end of January. It will be his first appearance at the X Games.
“That’s some pretty big news for me,” he said. “I’m so stoked to be able to compete there … X Games is the biggest comp of the year other than the Olympics this year, so it’s really exciting to know I’ll be in the event.”
The team now heads to Breckenridge for another World Cup contest. Finals are scheduled for Sunday (Jan. 12).