Air Force lands on podium 

The Canadian Air Force showed its flying skills are as strong as ever, landing two podiums in the Suzuki FIS Freestyle World Cup Aerials event on Blackcomb Saturday, Dec. 2.

Diedra Dionne, an 18-year-old competitor from Red Deer, Alberta, made two near perfect jumps and landings to finish second overall with 167.1 points.

"The soft landing gave a few jumpers some problems, but I actually prefer a soft ramp," said Dionne, who won her first ever World Cup medal, a bronze, at Blackcomb last season.

"You try to worry about your own jump first, but it was a tight race out there. I concentrated hard on landing that second jump. I came around at exactly the right time, right where I wanted to.

"You never know where you’re going to finish, but I’m really happy with my jumps today," Dionne said. "The next big thing is the world championships here in January and I’m really excited about that. Blackcomb has always been good to me."

Alla Tsuper of Belarus won her first ever World Cup with a huge second jump and a flawless landing. Her previous best was a bronze at Livigno, Italy, last season.

Jacqui Cooper, the reigning aerials champion and current point leader, went bigger than the other competitors, but had some trouble with her landings. The Australian finished third overall.

Veronika Bauer finished seventh, but retained second place in the overall standings.

In the men’s event, the U.S. aerialists continued to dominate with Joe Pack and Eric Bergoust finishing first and second on the day. Vancouver’s Andy Capicik was leading after the first jump but had a slight problem with his landing on the second.

"I was rotating too fast, and ended up at a bit of an angle on the landing," he said. "I’m disappointed now, but in a couple of hours I’ll start to feel pretty good about finishing fourth. It’s a long season. I wanted to hear O Canada pretty bad."

Steve Omischl of North Bay, Ontario, finished third, but thought he could have done better.

"It’s good to have a podium result here, but I still feel that I could have jumped better," said the 22-year-old. "I won a silver medal on this site last year so I can’t say I’m satisfied with bronze. It’s a great jump site, and I’m looking forward to the world championship’s here… but I intend to win."

Ottawa’s Jeff Bean finished fifth, giving Canada three out of the top five positions. Omischl is currently ranked second in the world, and Capicik is third.

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