Words & photos by Jeff Schmuck

This past weekend saw the second and final half of the Canadian Freeskiing Open Championships go down with the Junior division, and for the 108 hungry young competitors and their supportive flock of parents, coaches and myself, it was truly a memorable one.

Rather than making the cross-continent, freeskiing-wide pilgrimage to the land of maple syrup for the second stop of the Winter Dew Tour, I opted to return to the comfortable confines of my charming hometown of Rossland, BC to support an event held on the town’s ever watchful and faithful guardian, Red Mountain…and I wasn’t disappointed.

Rossland, BC

The annual Junior big mountain event at Red, partially due to its enticing status as one of a few of its kind in the Western Hemisphere and partially because the mountain it’s held on is so damn badass, is a much revered one, and all available registration spots selling out in a mere 22 minutes is a testament to that and then some.

With mini-shredders small and tall ranging from ages 7 to 18 and hailing everywhere from a snowball’s throw to the lifts to as far as New York (props to Lucas Zelnick for making the trek) charging the intimidating and locally iconic Link’s Line beneath the Motherlode chair, the vibe was one of pure nostalgia for me, as it became difficult to evade flashbacks of myself and my childhood friends skiing the very same run over and over again during our youth, albeit it not as aggressively as this weekend’s impressive contingent of names to watch out for.

Link's Line

The inaugural day of competition took place on Friday with qualifiers, where head judge Jeff Holden and his cohorts tag teamed with the truly awesome Red Mountain staff to nurse a finely tuned and slickly run event. All 108 skiers were given just one run for their shot at glory and a spot in the following day’s finals, and against all odds, including time constraints, Loch Ness-style fog and howling winds, each and every single kid gave it their all with a positive attitude in tow, and put on quite the show in the process…

Coach Dylan Strelioff and Mackenzie Flood

The 7-11 year old category gets ready to strut their stuff...

10-year-old Nevan Fuller

Jacob Flood

Owen Smith

Michael Brush

Jordy Kidner

On Saturday, in stark contrast to Mother Nature’s acrimony during qualifiers, there was not a wisp of cloud to be seen amidst the ocean blue skies, as one of the frequently occurring inversions that Red is so famous for helped put wide smiles on the faces of the competitors while cloaking the nearby smelter plant of Cominco in a vale of cloud.

The 7-11 year old girls were up first, where Jemma Capel of Canada’s Rocky Mountain wonderland of Banff prevailed, followed by the 7-11 year old boys category, which despite the crowd screaming their lungs out for local prodigy and recent Ski Magazine cover boy Simon Hillis (who placed 4th), was taken by Montana’s Parkin Costain.

Simon Hillis

In the 12-15 girls category, Rossland’s very own Mackenzie Flood skied an uber-fluid line to score top honors in the division, while Montana’s Erin Kempt and local favorite and last year’s winner Sally Steves (who took a much different and more technical line than the rest of the girls but unfortunately lost a ski near the bottom of her run) rounded out the podium.

Victoria Slegers, Sally Steves, Robyn Sansom, Lauren Turcot and Georgia Turcot

Sally Steves...

The heartiest category of them all, the 12-15 year old boys, was up next, where the large and impressive field of 48 was trimmed down to 35 for finals. Following a solid hour and a half of billy goating shenanigans on the upper and lower cliff bands, including a ballsy 360 and subsequent blow up courtesy of local ladies man Deremie Bell on one of the largest airs of the day up top, Xander Sterpin, yet another Rossland skier, emerged victorious, while Calgary's head turning Aaron MacKay took second and Sterpin’s fellow Rosslander Kelley Humpherys skied rock solidly into third.

Nick Ruggiero

Will Burridge

Jack Nichols

Patrick Hughes

The 16-18 year old girls only saw three competitors move on from qualifiers to finals, guaranteeing a podium spot for each of them, and in the end it was Rossland’s Dayna Mortimer on the third wooden step, and the Washington-based duo of Claire Mason and Alex Bachmeier on the second and first.

Alex Bachmeier

And last but certainly not least, the 16-18 year old boys (or more accurately, young men) unquestionably laid claim to the wildest antics of the day and in turn received the loudest cheers and jeers from the chairlift gallery for their lightning speed runs and serious lack of hesitation on any and all potential airs that stood in their path.

Dylan Siggers

Todd Loukras

The clear winner was Littleton, Colorado’s George Rodney, who ferociously hit a drop in the hipster-tight trees of Paleface just to the left of Link’s Line with speed, and then pointed it straight towards the large cliff band below. And while the majority of the day’s competitors opted to creatively pick their way down it, Rodney aired over the whole damn thing, and stomped his landing with a thump so audible you could almost hear it echo off of the surrounding peaks.

George Rodney, airing his way onto the top of the podium.

Just behind him in second was Banff, Alberta’s Keegan Capel, who laid down a creative path of his own through the rock quarry, while the well-rounded winner of last year’s event Michael Brush took a break from slaying terrain parks to bits to place third.

Michael Brush

Following the competition the athletes, coaches, parents, sponsors and media were treated to a delicious dinner and photo slideshow from the event in the freshly renovated lodge at the base, followed by the awards.

Big thanks to all of the competitors, coaches and parents for making this weekend such a pleasure to partake in, and most of all to Jeff Holden and his team of judges and the entire hard working and always friendly staff at Red for putting on such a well-run event.


Final Results

Olivia Moseley (2nd), Jemma Capel (1st), Erin Flood (3rd)

Girls Age 7-11

1) Jemma Capel - 48.50

2) Olivia Moseley - 45.33

3) Erin Flood - 44.67

Sam Howard (2nd), Parkin Costain (1st), Jackson Phillips (3rd)

Males Age 7-11

1) Parkin Costain - 63.67

2) Sam Howard - 61.83

3) Jackson Phillips - 58.00

4) Simon Hillis - 54.13

5) Gavin Patterson - 53.43

6) Fritz Arnold - 53.17

7) Jacob Tooke - 50.70

8) Logan Tanguay - 50.67

9) Sandy Phillips - 50.00

10) Ladd Costain - 46.93

11) Sawyer Millward - 45.23

12) Swift Arnold Swift - 42.67

13) Nevan Fuller - 42.50

14) Mack Anderson - 32.83

Erin Kempt (2nd), Mackenzie Flood (1st), Sally Steves (3rd)

Girls Age 12-15

1) Mackenzie Flood - 49.83

2) Erin Kempt - 49.07

3) Sally Steves - 49.03

4) Liah Harvie - 47.40

5) Hannah Sterpin - 44.73

6) Robyn Sansom - 41.33

7) Georgia Turcot - 39.77

8) Victoria Slegers - 37.00

9) Lauren Turcot - 31.37

Aaron MacKay (2nd), Xander Sterpin (1st), Kelley Humpherys (3rd)

Males Age 12-15

1) Xander Sterpin - 61.67

2) Aaron MacKay - 59.67

3) Kelley Humpherys - 57.77

4) Patrick Hughes - 57.63

5) George Hogarth - 57.60

6) Garret Capel - 57.00

7) Austin Stromme - 56.33

8) Kevin Nichols - 55.13

9) Jordy Kidner - 53.67

10) Sam Poarch - 53.33

11) Jakob Vanhouten - 53.00

12) Mathieu L'Esperance - 52.93

13) Connor Streadwick - 52.77

14) Jack Nichols - 51.97

15) Erik Hilb - 51.53

16) Grifen Moller - 51.50

17) Laim Fournier - 49.67

18) Sean Ennis - 49.47

19) Zach Moseley - 49.30

20) Will Burridge - 49.03

21) Jake Kidner - 46.00

22) Gabe Suszynski - 45.93

23) Nick Ruggiero - 45.90

24) Patrick Beighle - 45.47

25) Kevin Rossi - 44.80

26) Hunter Hoffman - 44.80

27) Owen Smith - 44.37

28) Deremie Bell - 43.10

29) Riley Tower - 42.63

30) Brennan Undseth - 42.60

31) Jacob Flood - 40.90

32) Jackson Stewart - 39.47

33) Lucas Zelnick - 38.63

34) Jeff Ashton - 36.70

35) Eric Poarch - 34.60

Claire Mason (2nd), Alex Bachmeier (1st), Dayna Mortimer (3rd)

Girls Age 16-18

1) Alex Bachmeier - 47.80

2) Claire Mason - 37.00

3) Dayna Mortimer - 33.17

Keegan Capel (2nd), George Rodney (1st), Michael Brush (3rd)

Males Age 16-18

1) George Rodney - 67.17

2) Keegan Capel - 64.40

3) Michael Brush - 61.47

4) Dylan Siggers - 61.30

5) Ben Evely - 59.03

6 ) Christian Nichols - 58.03

7) Jacob Boyd - 56.03

8) Edward Shepherd - 55.33

9) Vinzenz Keller - 53.63

10) Todd Loukras - 51.87

11) Noah Maisonet - 50.17

12) Shane Schorzman - 49.73

13) Jon Grierson - 48.57

14 ) Trevor Haley - 47.97

15) Graham Trenholm - 37.23

16) Jay Maloney - 25.57