Tsubota wins slopestyle crown 

Bobby Brown wins on men's side

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ERIC THOMPSON - Bobby Brown takes a run on Blackcomb Mountain during World Skiing Invitational competition on Saturday.
  • Photo by Eric Thompson
  • Bobby Brown takes a run on Blackcomb Mountain during World Skiing Invitational competition on Saturday.

She was delayed a day, but Yuki Tsubota took home the slopestyle crown at the World Skiing Invitational on Blackcomb on Saturday.

With both finals delayed after uncooperative weather on Friday, the 21-year-old went up and stomped an admittedly safe run to take the title. The sixth-ranked slopestyle skier on the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) sat third after scoring 72.33 in her first attempt, but was the only competitor to crack 80 with a score of 80.50 in turn two. It was her third slopestyle podium in a row and fourth overall.

"I was able to lock in a grab for all my tricks and I think the judges were looking for that," she said. "I took it pretty easy. (I did) something I knew I was going to get. I had a bit of trouble the last training day going into the second-jump switch, so I took that out. We only got four training runs this morning, too, so I wasn't going to throw that in there.

"I just wanted to go out and have fun."

Katie Summerhayes of Great Britain was second with a score of 78.33 and Montreal's Kim Lamarre was third with an even 74.00. Whistler resident Cassie Sharpe placed ninth with a 42.50.

The women's finals were set well in advance of Saturday's showdown, but the men had only six of 16 total competitors locked in. Those 10 spots were determined on Friday, but not without some consternation in Tsubota's observation.

"We all went up there yesterday, but I was pretty confident we weren't going to ski," the 2014 Winter Olympian said. "The weather was so bad. Watching the boys try to finish the qualifier runs, they were coming up short on the jumps.

"We could easily tell that we weren't going to compete."

She said conditions were much improved for the rescheduled finals, noting "the sun came out" and competitors were pleasantly surprised Saturday morning even with a little wind.

The Pemberton resident appreciated the opportunity to cap the year on her home hill.

"This is my favourite event of the year. It's nice to be home," she said. "It's the last contest of the year and it's not a whole lot of pressure.

"I love being able to ski in front of all my friends, and my family comes out and watches, so it's fun."

On the men's side, legendary competitor Bobby Brown of Breckenridge, Colo. captured the men's title with a score of 88.67, edging fellow American McRae Williams of Park City, Utah, who tallied 87.92. Antoine Adelisse of France was third with a score of 86.25.

In terms of the local contingent, Teal Harle was the highest finisher, placing fifth with an 83.08. Taylor Wilson and Simon d'Artois were 12th and 13th, respectively.



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