Sharpe savours season-opening win 

Local skier stars at Cardrona, New Zealand

click to enlarge PHOTO BY IAIN MCGREGOR COURTESY OF WINTER GAMES NZ - First spray Cassie Sharpe, left, celebrates her season-opening halfpipe win at Cardrona, New Zealand on Sept. 1.
  • Photo by Iain McGregor courtesy of Winter Games NZ
  • First spray Cassie Sharpe, left, celebrates her season-opening halfpipe win at Cardrona, New Zealand on Sept. 1.

Cassie Sharpe and her fellow competitors were operating on standby in Cardrona, New Zealand, earlier this month.

Wacky weather had left the women wondering when they'd actually hit the course for the Sept. 1 FIS World Cup halfpipe competition, as they got delayed one day and thought they might be pushed back further. Sharpe, a Whistler resident via Comox, explained it was an odd day, all in all.

"It was a weird comp day, especially since we were supposed to go the day before and it never happened. The next day was supposed to be the same weather," she said. "The guys left early in the morning to go compete and we stayed home because if it got bad, there was no point to us being up there.

"They ran some of the guys, then the weather rolled in, then they ran a few more of the guys, and the weather rolled in, then finally we got the call that it's going to happen. We got ready and went. It was a quick one so you didn't have too much time to stress out about it."

Sharpe went out and put up a strong first run, good for second, but then went bigger on her second attempt as she sought to climb to the top slot, scoring a 91.00 to best Estonia's Kelly Sildaru by 0.8 points.

"It was awesome. Getting a result so early in the season of an Olympic year feels super good. It takes a lot of pressure off, too, so it was definitely a good feeling," she said. "It puts me at ease for the rest of the year."

Now with two wins under her belt in the last calendar year after she won in Tignes, France, in the spring, Sharpe should be in strong contention to represent Canada at the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, this winter.

While she tried to keep it out of her mind this offseason, Sharpe acknowledged it was impossible not to have the possibility pop up.

"You think of it a little bit. I tried not to, but there's obviously a little more pressure on this year," she said. "We did everything pretty similarly. We were always in the gym and we were out training, but I realize we did a little more of it all."

In addition to the off-hill training, Sharpe said she also had the chance to go to California's Mammoth Mountain to prepare for the season.

"We got to go there and train and ride, and we showed up to the event about a week and a bit early just to have some time in the halfpipe and get back to our tricks," she said. "There was a lot of time constraint going into that contest, but it definitely was nice to be down there a little early and training a little bit before it started."

As she gets set for the remainder of the season, Sharpe will head back to New Zealand next week for just over a month to continue to fine-tune her tricks,

"I'll learn some more tricks and perfect the ones that need perfecting. I'll put some more time into those tricks to go into the winter confident," she said.



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