Yes, Canadian Rosalind Groenewoud is the FIS World Freestyle halfpipe champion even though she doesn’t quite know what it means yet.
“Once the Olympic decision is made in May we’ll see what it means,” Roz said, “but hopefully what it means is that myself and the rest of the Canadian team will get good funding.”
The contest is the single most important event for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who is considering the skiing halfpipe event for 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.
The girls toughed it out in windy, flat-light conditions showing the IOC why women’s half pipe skiing deserves a spot in the Olympics.
Roz G – Photo Erik Seo
Roz G finished first with a score of 44.70 ahead of USA’s Jen Hudak (42.10) and Canada’s young gun 18-year-old Keltie Hansen (38.80) who made podium for the first time in a major competition.
Groenewoud did a huge straight air into her right 900, a trick she didn’t throw until her competition run because of a mental block she had from seriously hurting herself by doing the trick two years ago in the same competition.
“I knew I had to do (the 900) and that's what made a big difference,” she said.
Roz also threw both way 540s and finished her run with a 360 into a switch right 540.
Second place finisher “Who-Dat-Hudak,” upgraded her medal from last year and did a huge 900 on her first hit, into a 540 to alley- oop 540 and finished off her run with a 720.
“I think we did all we could this weekend,” Hudak said. “Hopefully we got the right peoples attention.”
Hansen placed third with her safety run that consisted of left and right 540s and a 720 at the end where she kept consistent high amplitude.
Hansen remarked, "I qualified 3rd and I just really wanted to hold that spot and podium."
Coming in 4th was the "Queen of Freeskiing" herself, Sarah Burke who was determined to throw an X Games worthy run. Burke did her huge coked 900 into back to back flairs and ended with a 540 on her first run.
“I could not be happier,” Burke said. “I feel like I should be a little bit more bummed but I’m stoked for my Canadian teammates.”
Finishing out the top-5 was the youngest women competitor and the only athlete to make finals in slope and pipe: 17-year-old Devin Logan. Logan’s run consisted of 540 tail grabs and a flair.
“You can’t put all your effort into one event,” Logan said. “You kind of have to take it mellow until comp day and then give it all you have. Two 5th place finishes is awesome in my book. I’m extremely stoked.”
Hansen, Groenewoud, Hudak – Photo Erik Seo
Missing from today’s competition was Canadian Dania Assaly and American Jess Cumming who both suffered injuries at the X Games. Frenchie Anaïs Caradeux didn’t compete because of an illness.
There has been some indication of inclusion of halfpipe skiing in the 2014 Sochi Games but the IOC won’t make their final decision until April. Some of the things the IOC will be investigating is whether or not there is a big media and spectator interest and how accurate the current judging process is said Sarah Lewis, a FIS representative.