The Abma-zing Atomic Pro-Am Halfpipe 

Oakley-Allen, Abma tie for top spot in pro contest

In fairness to the other skiers in the Atomic Pro-Am Halfpipe there was more Pro than Am in the field on Blackcomb last Sunday.

Although almost 30 centimetres of snow gave the groomers and events crew some extra work on the morning of the contest, the pipe was in great shape for the almost 50 competitors who took part.

It was a great day for Whistler’s Mark Abma, who won $1,000 in cash and a spot in the Garnier Fructis World Skiing Invitational. He even won a new pair of Atomic skis in the prize draw at the award ceremony.

Still, it was a close one. Abma and Oakley White-Allen both finished with scores of 32.9, but the edge went to Abma who posted the best individual score, a 9.1, and had the higher average score of the two runs.

The event was not exactly a first for either of the skiers. Abma, a Langley native and coach with the Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club, has already been featured in videos and magazines, and recently finished fifth in the U.S. Freeskiing Open slopestyle.

"This was awesome for me because I had a spot in the big air (at the World Ski Invitational) but wasn’t sure if I was going to get an invite to the halfpipe because I don’t have any halfpipe results this year," said Abma, who is sponsored by K2, Smith and Comor Sports.

Abma’s winning run started with a huge straight air, followed by a 540, an alley-oop, a flare (backflip with a 180), and an alley-oop flat spin 540.

Abma says he has been training for the World Ski Invitational one way or another for the entire season.

"It’s the biggest event in Canada, and it’s just tons of fun. We have the best pipe in Whistler, and the big air at night in the village is pretty cool," said Abma.

White-Allen has had his share of fame as well, coaches freeskiing, and has participated in several big name halfpipe, slopestyle and big air contests. There’s a good chance that he will be part of the World Ski Invitational even without the Atomic win.

The youngest competitor in the pro category was 10-year-old Sean Pettit, who competed along with his older brother Callum, 13. Both Pettit brothers were easily clearing their own height over the lip of the pipe, and Callum and Sean finished 12 th and 16 th respectively. Kye Peterson, who went as high as some of the men at the top of the pipe, finished 13 th .

Another interesting story was Angie O’Neil who won the amateur women’s category with a score high enough to win the pro division – she didn’t know which category she belonged in so she played it safe.

The other pair of Atomic skis in the draw went to Craig Faller.

The Atomic Pro-Am Halfpipe series continues on March 23 with a snowboard event. To enter, drop by any Whistler-Blackcomb Ski School Sales location, or call 1-800-766-0449. Day of event registration is available until 10 a.m. in the Rendezvous.

Results:

Women 16 and Over

1. Angie O’Neil, 21.6

2. Shuri Terada, 9.5

3. Kayo Shichita, 6.4

Women Pro

1. Kristi Richards, 16.6

2. Cat Smiley, 16.4

3. Victoria Beattie, 15.9

Men 15 and Under

1. Austin Ross, 34.2

2. Eddie Hicks, 30.7

3. Marshall Talbot, 24.7

Men 16 and Over

1. Tim Crosby, 21.4

2. Mitchell Chapin, 19.4

3. Chris Bouchard, 14.6

Men Pro

1. Mark Abma, 32.9

2. Oakley White-Allen, 32.9

3. Josh Bibby 30.2

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