Canadians on the podium in every event at Vail 

With the best of the best at Vail for the U.S. Freeskiing Open, Canada’s top freeskiers came through to win medals in every discipline.

Things got underway on Friday with the men’s slopestyle.

Charles Gagnier, a 19 year old from Victoriaville, Quebec, took the gold medal with a first run worth 92 points that the rest of the field would spend the rest of the afternoon trying to beat. According to the Vail Daily, the gold medal run included a switch 270 onto the C rail, a slide down the kinked rail, a switch jump onto the rainbow rail, and back to back 720s, one switch, off the kickers. His final jump was a huge 1080.

Tanner Hall of Kalispell, Montana came closest with 88.2 points. Sweden’s Jon Olsson was third with an 84.2.

Hall’s run was also impressive, with slightly less difficulty on the rails but bigger jumps off the bottom airs. It led to a minor judging controversy, with the U.S. Freeskiing Open organizers opting to hire four judges from the International Judging Commission this year that have a background in snowboarding.

In the big air contest on Saturday, Vernon’s T.J. Schiller was the skier to beat. After failing to defend his title in the slopestyle, Schiller landed a huge switch 1080 to win the contest, which started with a qualifying round, then paired up skiers in a best of three elimination format.

Schiller, who is only 18, congratulated the second place finisher, 14-year-old Derek Spong of Seattle, who also landed a switch 1080. Third place went to Jacob Wester.

In the skiercross, Whistler’s Ashleigh McIvor took the win in the women’s event, as well as a cheque for $3,000. Although she has several wins and top-four results to her credit in international competition, this was one of her biggest results to date. Anik Demers, another Canadian, was a close second.

In the men’s competition, Lars Lewen of Sweden was unstoppable, followed by Enak Gavaggio of France and Tyler Shepard of the U.S.

The last event in the Open was the superpipe.

Tanner Hall – who questioned the judges in the slopestyle, was arrested the night before the big air for underage drinking, and didn’t make the podium in the big air – was determined not to let this one get away. He put down what he later said was the best run of his career, and that’s saying something.

Sean Field of Lake Tahoe was second, and Corey Vanular from Ontario was third, giving Canada a top-three result in every discipline.

That was reinforced in the women’s pipe, with Ontario’s Sarah Burke taking the top spot, edging out Kristi Leskinen and Jen Hudak.

Other Whistler locals taking part had mixed results. Chris Turpin, 10 th in the slopestyle, suffered a minor injury that kept him out of the superpipe.

Whistler’s young skiers also took part. Sean Pettit, 12, was 25 th in his halfpipe heat, while his brother Callum, 15, was 15 th . The brothers were also ninth and 10 th respectively in their slopestyle heats, just missing the finals.

Kye Petersen and Austin Ross were injured in the slopestyle, and weren’t able to participate in the halfpipe.

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