Another podium for d'Artois 

Local halfpipe star takes third at Copper

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF FREESTYLE CANADA - ALL SMILES Halfpipe skier Simon d'Artois, right, celebrates with Noah Bowman, left, and David Wise, centre.
  • Photo courtesy of Freestyle Canada
  • ALL SMILES Halfpipe skier Simon d'Artois, right, celebrates with Noah Bowman, left, and David Wise, centre.

In a pivotal season, with the Olympics on the horizon, Simon d'Artois has risen to the occasion.

The 25-year-old took his second medal in as many tries this season, placing third at the FIS World Cup halfpipe event at Copper Mountain Resort on Dec. 8. He previously took third at the season-opening event at Cardrona, New Zealand on Sept. 1.

Recalling his Copper run, d'Artois said his combinations made a major difference to his score while a right-side double provided a boost as well.

"Also, (I was) maintaining amplitude to the bottom of the park," d'Artois added. "In the pipe, you can lose a bit of speed, so I try to maintain that and build as I go through my run."

Though he hit the podium, d'Artois wasn't even the highest-finishing Canadian as Noah Bowman edged him by 1.8 points for second. Bowman, meanwhile, was 1.8 points back of champion David Wise of the U.S. Mike Riddle, another Canuck, was a single point back of d'Artois for fourth.

In the women's event, Whistler's Cassie Sharpe was the top Canadian, taking ninth. France's Marie Martinod scored the win, besting American Devin Logan and China's Kexin Zhang.

Several of the same athletes will be back in action just to the east of Copper at the Dew Tour stop in Breckenridge. While d'Artois said there are differences in the pipes from one stop to the next, he's working on handling Breckenridge's intricacies like he did at the previous two competitions.

"It's definitely tough changing venues and pipes and that kind of thing. I'm just trying to eat well, maintain in the gym and just keep my body feeling good so I feel the best that I can going into the Dew Tour," d'Artois said. "There was definitely a lot of skiing, a lot of hard riding going on at Copper, so I'm still kind of recovering from that, but it's good."

And with the events presenting themselves back-to-back, d'Artois said his off-season training should pay off as he tries to push himself to the podium once again.

"I'll be trying to keep doing what I was doing and maintain this consistency. I'd like to put down solid runs," he said. "I just want to keep the good skiing going.

"Sometimes, you get a little tired and aren't able to perform as well, but that's a crucial part of maintaining (your) fitness."

With the 2018 Olympic Winter Games quickly approaching, d'Artois' early results have put him in a strong position to represent Canada in PyeongChang in February.

"I definitely say the sooner the better. I definitely don't want to wait until the last minute to make the team," he said. "I'm trying to get it done early."

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