Big hits at big air 

Boarderstyle champs crowned at WSSF

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - GETTING AIR Whistler's Sofia Tchernetsky completes a jump during the World Ski and Snowboard big air competition on April 13.
  • Photo by Dan Falloon
  • GETTING AIR Whistler's Sofia Tchernetsky completes a jump during the World Ski and Snowboard big air competition on April 13.

On a night that turned rainy midway through the event, skiers Elena Gaskell and Evan McEachran held it together at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival's big air competition on April 13.

On the men's side, McEachran topped the field with a two-run score of 188.75 to edge Max Moffatt (187.25) and Noah Morrison (185.50).

"I'm really happy. It's definitely the best way I could end off my season," said McEachran, who was sixth in slopestyle at the recent Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. "I just came out to ski and have fun."

When all was said and done, there was only a six-point gap between McEachran and fifth-place finisher Teal Harle of Whistler, which speaks to the strength of the field. While he didn't know how everyone was being judged, McEachran was impressed with the level of skiing.

"It was fun to watch everybody shred. I couldn't see the scores during the contest but when I came down (after the sixth attempt) someone told me I had won, so I was pretty pumped on that," he said.

The rain that was present for most of the day stopped before the competition got underway, but returned later on. It didn't faze McEachran, who put down his biggest trick of the competition, a switch double cork 12 lead tail to double Japan, on his final run to clinch the win.

"(The rain) messed up my goggles a little bit so I took my goggles off at the end. Other than that, it was perfect," he said. "I was having fun and doing what I needed to do. (On the last run), I went faster, went to the bottom, grabbed my grab longer."

McEachran was thrilled to see the crowd stay strong even in the wetter conditions.

"Whistler being out here screaming made it so exciting," he said.

Gaskell, just 16, topped a field that included two-time Olympian Yuki Tsubota, who took second. Gaskell wrapped up the win with a score of 175.75, with Tsubota earning a 161.25 and 15-year-old Sofia Tchernetsky taking third with a 122.75.

"It was so much fun to compete tonight," said Gaskell, who hit the FIS World Cup top five twice this season. "The jumps were so fun and it was really well built. It was so awesome."

Like McEachran, Gaskell fed off the crowd and felt encouraged to pull a few extra tricks out of her bag to cap off her 2017-18 season with a $6,000 cheque.

"I was just sending it, watching everyone else kill it. It got me excited, so I tried a couple new tricks. I'd never done a switch 10 (mute), so I tried that and I'm pretty hyped about that," she said.

Tchernetsky, meanwhile, was thrilled to compete at home at the WSSF to cap her first season focused primarily on World Cup competition.

"I got to travel around the world and see all these beautiful places. I finally got home and rested and I wasn't really expecting anything to go down. But then I got an email asking 'Do you want to compete?' I'm like, 'Oh my God, that'd be dope,'" she said, noting it had been a goal of hers for many years.

Though she wasn't initially expecting the event to go off because of the weather, Tchernetsky was ready to go when she got set to drop.

"You have to be the best you can be. I tried to do my best with the weather, which was freezing and raining. I wanted to do some gnarlier and bigger tricks, but I only got around to what I was capable of doing (in the conditions)," she said.

In Saturday's snowboard event, Olympic slopestyle silver medallist Max Parrot proved himself worthy, earning a 187.75 and taking the win over Jack MacDougall (164.00) and Tyler Nicholson (155.50).

Parrot, who had won here in Whistler in 2013, secured the $6,000 top prize which he can put to immediate use.

"Last time I did the Big Air here I won as well, like three or four years ago. I'm super stoked to be back here and take the win for a second time," Parrot said in a release. "Plus I'm stoked to have landed two Triple14s today. I broke a board trying it in practice today ... it was actually the first time I landed that Triple during my run so I was happy to get that."

On the women's side, American Julia Marino edged Olympic slopestyle silver medallist Laurie Blouin by a 173.25 to 169.50 tally. Brooke Voigt's 130.00 was good for third. Marino said she and Blouin were neck and neck, but her cab nine double helped secure the win.

"Laurie and I are super good friends. We've been training together for a while, so every contest we go to we have similar tricks and we're constantly pushing each other," Marino said in a release. "She got out ahead with her Cab Nine Double and her Front Seven so that just pushed me to want to go bigger and higher too."

Earlier in the day, Voight took the Monster Energy Boarderstyle World Championships finals over Marino and Alex Duckworth. On the men's side, Charles Reid topped Phil Fournier and Kevin Hill.

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