VIDEO: Smart claims first NorAm win 

Slopestyler tops Calgary podium in season debut

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - SMARTLY DONE Luke Smart (centre) tops the NorAm Cup slopestyle podium in Calgary on Feb. 22.
  • Photo submitted
  • SMARTLY DONE Luke Smart (centre) tops the NorAm Cup slopestyle podium in Calgary on Feb. 22.

So far in the 2019-20 season, Luke Smart had been focused more on his studies at UBC's Sauder School of Business than freestyle competition.

So when the Whistler slopestyler lined up for his first NorAm Cup event of the season in Calgary on Feb. 22, he wasn't entirely sure what to expect.

Everything went swimmingly, though, as the 20-year-old scored an 81.33 to top the field, knocking off American Hunter Henderson (79.00) and Canadian Bruce Oldham (77.16) for his first-ever victory at that level.

"It was pretty surprising, but I was super happy to end up winning," he said. "I've just been living in Whistler, working and doing some school work, so this was the first comp for me this year."

Despite going up against competition that had been busier than he had this year, Smart tapped into his gameday fire and made up that ground.

"I got into it pretty quickly," he said.

Smart's first run, which featured three doubles, proved to be the winner for him.

"It was a good first for me to get three doubles in a run, which I was excited about," he said. "That allowed me to do well.

"I wasn't expecting to win at all. I was just happy to do a run that I'd planned out."

Conditions wreaked some havoc on the event, as the slopestyle competition was bumped back a day, and even then, wasn't run in ideal conditions.

"There was inconsistent wind, which threw some people off, and it was challenging for me as well," he said. "Speed was the issue, but it all worked out.

"You just try to go as fast as possible."

Smart noted that he took this semester off, but has generally been trying to balance skiing and his post-secondary education. He'll continue competing on the NorAm Cup circuit in Park City and Quebec to round out the season.

Fellow Freestyle Whistler grads in the slopestyle competition included Chase Ujejski in seventh, Kai Smart in 18th, Steven Kahnert in 32nd, Stephen Lindsay-Ross in 40th and Aidan Mulvihill in 42nd.

Smart narrowly missed a second podium appearance in big air on Feb. 23 as his 91.50 tally was 6.66 points back of winner Henderson and 4.33 points out of third.

Lindsay-Ross took 10th as part of his first-ever NorAm event, while Ujejski was 32nd, Kai Smart took 42nd, Kahnert was 43rd and Mulvihill was 48th.

Meanwhile, in the halfpipe on Feb. 21, Kahnert scored an 11th-place finish.

In the women's events, Skye Clarke was sixth in slopestyle while Caoimhe Heavey was ninth, and Clarke took a seventh-place finish in big air while Heavey was 10th. Heavey also threw down in the halfpipe, placing 13th.

Calgary also welcomed moguls competition, which saw Mackenzie Schwinghammer take a fifth-place finish in single moguls on Feb. 22 while Emma Bosco (representing Australia) was ninth, Maya Mikkelsen took 12th, Chase Capicik was 18th, Malica Malherbe (representing South Africa) was 23rd and Jessica Linton took 27th.

In men's action, Sam Cordell took 34th while Josh Maga was 41st.

In dual moguls on Feb. 23, Bosco took 11th, Capicik was 18th, Mikkelsen placed 19th, Malherbe ended up 26th, Linton was 27th and Schwinghammer rounded out the group in 29th.

On the men's side, Cordell placed 28th while Maga finished 34th.


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