Freeriding has exploded on the junior circuit in recent years and locally the sport’s popularity is paying dividends.
At Lake Louise Ski Resort, the North Face Jr. Big Mountain Challenge showcased some up-and-coming talent from local clubs Ullr Big Mountain, Lake Louise All Mountain, and Rocky Mountain Freeriders (RMF) on March 2-4.
Ullr coach Jordy Burks had nine athletes competing in the event, who all placed in the top five on at least one run.
“Which is great as a coach because that’s what you’re looking for,” Burks said.
Freeriding, also referred to as “big mountain,” is competitive skiing and snowboarding with no set courses or on groomed snow.
The sport’s point system rewards skill, tricks, jumps and clean riding, all in about a two-minute ride from top to bottom.
In the 7-11 girls category, Ullr’s Mary Huggill placed first, and in the boys category, Ullr’s Eddie Falkenberg finished third.
RMF’s Rae Tourigny took silver in the girls 12-14 division and RMF’s Jemma Capel won bronze in 15-18 girls.
Ullr’s Ashton Chilton had a second-place finish in 12-14 boys’ division and Ullr’s Jack Kolesch finished fourth.
Chilton’s solid placing earned him much needed points to stay in the running for the overall points title at the North American Jr. Championship later this season in Utah. He competes again this weekend at Castle Mountain and Burks suspects his star pupil will earn at least another top three finish to stay competitive.
“Ashton is in the running against some Whistler kids and Nelson kids, there are four of them that are going toe-to-toe,” said Burks.