Competing against the top NorAm mogul skiers around the world proved to be a good challenge for those representing the Apex Freestyle Club (AFC).
Apex Mountain Resort hosted more than 100 high-calibre mogul freestyle skiers from Canada, including B.C. athletes, as well as the U.S., Australia, Japan, Germany and Bermuda.
Representing AFC were Penticton’s Koleton Phipps, Josh and Jordan Kober, and Noah Spence. As well, there was Kassidy Todd from Keremeos, West Kelowna’s Mason Barzilay and Mackenzie Schwinghamer and Port Moody’s Madison Parker and Kyle Parker.
Barzilay had the best result of AFC alumni on the women’s side for moguls finishing 38th after scoring 54.42 on Saturday. She was hoping for a top 20 finish on the course, which was soft and a bit slushy, just how she likes it.
“Everyone had a pretty good day today. There is a very vast field of competitors,” said Barzilay. “I’m skiing against some of the best in the world. It was just great to be out here.”
To get into the top 20, Barzilay said is just a matter of putting down an excellent run.
“It has to be perfect,” she said, adding that she also has to be fast and very aggressive.
The United States swept the podium, starting with Morgan Schild claiming gold by scoring 79.84, silver went to Nessa Dziemian, scoring 78.58, and third went to Ali Kariotis, who scored 78.37.
Parker was behind Barzilay at 41, scoring 51.16. Todd was 42nd among the 49 women and was happy with her performance in what is one of the biggest events she gets to compete in.
“It’s pretty awesome to just have a clean run,” said Todd, who scored 50.50.
Last year in her first NorAm, Todd admitted to feeling more nervous.
“This year I kind of knew the girls better, so it was easier,” she said.
Todd said the talent of skiers, which includes those from national teams, was about the same as last year and that it’s awesome to see them perform.
“They are amazing,” she said.
Todd has seen improvements in herself.
“My skiing has gotten a lot better,” she said. “Last year was my first year flipping, it wasn’t very pretty. This year is a lot better.”
Schwinghamer finished 48th with a score of 31.55.
Among the men, Jordan Kober of the Canadian national development team earned his second final appearance on NorAm. He was happy with his runs Saturday as they were clean, though he had some challenges on his bottom air.
“It’s super tough out here,” said Kober, adding that he was competing against older skiers. “I just wanted to keep skiing consistently. “I’m really happy with myself right now.”
Canadians took two of three podium spots starting with Luke Ulsifer taking gold with a score of 83.01, silver went to Rohan Chapman-Davies, scoring 82.27, and bronze to Canadian Laurent Dumais, scoring 82.02. Kober had advanced to the round of 16, and then the top six. He fell short of a bronze medal by a .05 score at 81.95.
Kober’s father, Rob, head coach of the Canadian men’s mogul team, said expectations for Saturday and Sunday were mixed.
“At this level we’re mostly concerned with the process and making sure the guys are delivering on their technical goals,” he said. “Continue to progress on the path we have planned out for them. At the same time we’re here to win. We compete to win.”
Kober’s brother Joshua finished 19th in moguls, while Phipps finished 36th with a score of 61.11, Parker was 41st with 55.30 and Spence was 43rd at 38.87
In men’s dual moguls, it was a battle of Americans. Ryan Dyer defeated Hunter Bailey for gold. Jordan Kober advanced as far as the round of 32, while his brother finished 36th in the round of 64. In the same round, Parker finished 42nd and Phipps was 49th. On the women’s side, Schild struck gold again, defeating American teammate Dziemian. Alex-Anne Gagnon of Canada won the small final, taking bronze. Schwinghamer made it to the round of 64, finishing 40th, Parker was 43rd, while Barzilay was 44th.