Challenging conditions in Colorado didn’t bother the Canadian halfpipe ski team too much on the weekend, as Mike Riddle returned from injury to land on the World Cup podium at Breckenridge while Whistler’s Justin Dorey took home this season’s Crystal Globe.
Riddle, who missed the previous week’s event in Calgary with a bruised heel, skied through dumping snow to post a score of 85.20 on his opening run of Sunday’s (Jan. 12) final, finishing as the runner-up to U.S. star David Wise (89.00). France’s Kevin Rolland took third.
Meanwhile, Whistler’s Justin Dorey wound up in sixth place, which was enough for him to capture the Globe as the season’s overall World Cup champ. Fellow local Simon d’Artois had another strong outing as well, finishing seventh.
Since he qualified in the 16th and final position, Riddle ended up first on the start list Sunday and the early spot worked to his advantage.
“With the heavy snowfall, speed was a big factor,” said Riddle. “To be able to start with the course freshly groomed and with the help of our wax tech, Kenny, I was pretty much able to maintain my speed throughout my entire run which was critical to performance today.”
There were just four events on the World Cup schedule this year but Dorey placed in the top six three times, including last week’s win in Calgary. American skier Aaron Blunck finished second and Riddle wound up third in the overall standings. A Crystal Globe isn’t considered as big of an accomplishment in halfpipe skiing compared to other FIS disciplines, but Dorey was very pleased to be taking the hardware home.
“Something like the AFP overall is typically more significant for us, but the Crystal Globe is by far the coolest trophy I’ve ever seen, so I’m pretty stoked about it,” Dorey said Monday (Jan. 13). “It was kind of a nice surprise yesterday after the event, I didn’t even know I was in the running for it.
“Consistency has been a big goal of mine for this season and that Globe is a good representation of it.”
Meanwhile, d’Artois has been showing some consistency as well, having now recorded two seventh-place finishes in addition to his fifth-place showing in Calgary last week.
“The field was a lot bigger (than in Calgary) and with the Americans there that made it harder,” said d’Artois. “But I was only two positions back from where I ended up last week, so I’m pretty stoked.”
At this point, a podium finish appears to be the only thing standing between d’Artois and an Olympic berth. The team heads to Park City, Utah, this weekend, where a U.S. Grand Prix event will feature a pair of halfpipe events going Friday and Saturday (Jan. 17 and 18). They’re the last contests before the Canadian Olympic team’s freestyle ski squad is finalized, and a top-three finish there could be enough to send d’Artois to Sochi alongside Riddle and Dorey. Teammate Matt Margetts also still has a good chance of earning an invite to the Games.
“I just have to lay down a clean run and do my best,” said d’Artois. “(Park City) is an awesome venue… and I’m excited to check it out.”
Pemberton’s Yuki Tsubota finished fifth in the women’s slopestyle World Cup that also took place at Breckenridge this weekend. Finals were supposed to take place on Friday (Jan. 10), but the blustery conditions at the venue forced their cancellation and qualification scores stood up as the official results.
A back-to-back slopestyle competition will also take place at Park City this weekend, giving Tsubota two more opportunities to improve her chances of going to Sochi.