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Skye Clarke, Aidan Mulvihill earn 2024-25 World Cup berths

Each Freestyle Whistler skier won an overall Nor-Am title

Skye Clarke and Aidan Mulvihill: welcome to the World Cup. 

Both Freestyle Whistler alumni vaulted themselves atop Nor-Am overall rankings with torrid seasons. Clarke won four out of five events outright in Copper Mountain, Aspen and Stoneham to go with a solid fifth-place result in Mammoth Mountain. Likewise, Mulvihill finished red-hot with two gold medals and a bronze. 

Each had high praise for the other. 

“We grew up skiing together,” said Clarke about Mulvihill. “I think [our performances] are a testament to the amount of freestyle talent in Whistler and the Sea to Sky. It’s really exciting that two skiers from this area won the Nor-Am circuit and will be at the World Cup next year.” 

Adds Mulvihill: “Oh my gosh, I’m so stoked for Skye. She’s been killing it all year and really deserved this. She's one of the most humble, amazing people I've met, and to see her on top is huge.” 

Surpassing expectations

Clarke has poured blood, sweat and tears into her competitive endeavours for as long as she can remember. She hasn’t had a full season since before COVID-19 due to a few untimely injuries, which makes her Nor-Am title that much more gratifying. 

“Definitely didn’t come into this season expecting that,” Clarke admitted. “I was just looking to be consistent and put down runs I was happy with, and I exceeded my expectations. Adversity makes you a stronger person, and therefore a stronger athlete.” 

The Vancouver native began her freestyle journey at age nine and trained in all three disciplines for about half a dozen years before focusing on slopestyle and big air. She thinks her moguls days helped her become that much better overall. 

"Strict" may not be the right word, but everything tends to be by-the-book in moguls. A majority of girls in Clarke’s generation got used to that—including former running mates Maia Schwinghammer, Jessie Linton and Maya Mikkelsen. Clarke herself discovered a level of precise execution she continues to aim for today.

That said, she loves the freedom slopestyle can bring.

“What really drew me to it was just how every course is different and how every skier sees the course in a different way,” Clarke explained. “I think slopestyle is the most creative discipline in the freestyle world and I just love trying to figure out new runs.” 

It’s been a breakout year for the first-time Canadian NextGen athlete, who’s thrilled to be bound for her grandest stage yet. Along the way, she hopes to inspire whoever might be paying attention. 

“There's not that many female role models in sport—particularly freestyle skiing—so the more girls we can have at the World Cup, I think the better,” said Clarke. “Representation matters so much.”

Steady progression

Mulvihill had to overcome an inauspicious start to his own campaign. 

Eleventh place at Copper Mountain was not the way he envisioned kicking things off. A disastrous 38th in Mammoth dealt an even stiffer blow to his Nor-Am title hopes. 

“I was really stressed out because I thought my comp season was basically over,” Mulvihill remembered. “So I put it all on the line, dropped everything at home and put all of my focus onto skiing for the next couple of months.” 

The 19-year-old essentially needed three medals in his final three events to have any hope of securing his spot on the World Cup. Victory in Aspen gave him a spark of hope, fanned into flame by a slopestyle gold in Stoneham. That meant it all came down to his last contest: big air, also in Stoneham. 

Three jumps lay before Mulvihill. 

He botched the first. The second he landed: a right double cork 1440 mute, but it wasn’t his cleanest. His concluding attempt would be a left double 1620 featuring a Japan grab, and it would need to be almost flawless. 

Mulvihill threw it down for bronze in the event and an overall championship. 

“I put a lot of work into just getting onto the Nor-Am circuit,” he said. “I never thought I would quite make it to the top because I saw these people doing 1800s in their slope runs…but I really tried to put my head down and work through it. 

“I learned that not looking at what other people are doing and just focusing on your own skills will help your progression the most.” 

Like Clarke, Mulvihill wants to use his platform to impact future generations. He’s off to a good start in that department, with several locals including newly-minted Nationals silver medallist Jude Oliver citing him as a role model. 

“It means the world that people like Jude look up to me because when I was a lot younger, I would look up to those who were higher up in the club like Luke Smart, Chase and Anders Ujejski,” said Mulvihill. “I just want to create the positive environment that I had for kids, and it really helps people progress as a skier.”