Simon d’Artois posted a career-best result during back-to-back U.S. Grand Prix halfpipe events over the weekend, but it wasn’t quite enough to send the Whistler skier to the Olympics.
The 21-year-old had the top Canadian finish on Friday (Jan. 17) at Park City, Utah, when he placed fourth, working in two double corks, 900s each way and a switch 720 to earn a score of 89.00 from judges. France’s Kevin Rolland (94.40) won the event, while U.S. skiers Alex Ferreira (93.80) and Lyman Currier (91.00) earned the other podium spots.
Returning to action on Saturday (Jan. 18), d’Artois placed 15th, while Mike Riddle finished sixth for the best Canadian showing.
Although d’Artois has been one of the national halfpipe team’s most consistent skiers over the past several events, earning a two top-five finishes and two more seventh-place results in recent weeks, he ultimately fell short of making a very deep Canadian Olympic team, which was named Monday (Jan. 20) in Montreal.
Riddle, Whistler’s Justin Dorey, Penticton’s Matt Margetts and Calgary’s Noah Bowman all have podium finishes to their name over the past two seasons and were selected to the squad heading to Sochi. Canada could not send more than four men’s halfpipe skiers to the Olympics.
“I’m a little bit bummed, for sure, but it is what it is,” d’Artois said Monday from Aspen, Colo. “I’ve been skiing really well, so I’m excited about that part. There’s always another Olympics, I guess.”
The Canadian women’s team will feature past X Games and world champion Roz Groenewoud, plus Keltie Hansen and Megan Gunning.
D’Artois will now turn his attention to the X Games, where he’ll compete for the first time this week in Aspen.
“I’m feeling really confident coming into Aspen,” he said. “I just want to put down a run and hopefully I can place pretty high here. That would be awesome.
“I’m not too worried about it being the X Games or anything, I’m just excited to get back on snow.”
Hicks held off Sochi squad
Whistler’s Eddie Hicks will also be watching the Olympics from home, as he was not included on the Canadian men’s moguls roster released Monday.
“I’m pretty indifferent,” said Hicks. “Obviously, I’m not saying I don’t really want to go — if you gave me the choice I’d jump at it in a heartbeat. But realistically, getting injured last year gave me basically six results this year as my chance to qualify, which is pretty difficult.
“It was definitely a goal, but I didn’t have all my eggs in that basket.”
Defending Olympic champ Alex Bilodeau, reigning world champ Mikael Kingsbury and Marc-Antoine Gagnon will be on the Canadian squad in Russia next month. All three Dufour-Lapointe sisters — Maxime, Chloe and Justine — and Audrey Robichaud made the women’s squad.
Hicks said he was surprised that only three Canadian men are headed to the Games in his discipline.
“Shocked, really,” he said. “We have a lot of guys with podium potential. I mean, Phil (Marquis) was on the podium in Sochi last year… it was pretty crazy to see him fall one place short of qualifying. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be in his place.”
Hicks will return to World Cup competition in March but expects to ski at least one Nor-Am Cup competition in February.
Thompson, Duncan back on podium
Their places on the Olympic teams are already confirmed, but Whistler’s Marielle Thompson and Dave Duncan ended the Sochi qualifying period with a bang. Both finished on the podium at the ski cross World Cup in Val Thorens, France, on Friday and lead the World Cup standings with one event left before the Games.
Thompson skied to a victory, her second of the season, while Duncan earned a men’s bronze for his third podium finish in the last four races.
The ski cross circuit continues in Austria starting Friday (Jan. 24).