From a broken ski boot to a hometown triumph, plenty of drama surrounded podium winners of the slope-style ski event Wednesday at the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Team Alberta collected two silver medals — including one for Red Deer-area skier Megan Cressey, who was thrilled to take the podium at Canyon Ski Resort, where she’d first practiced skiing as a kid.
Cressey executed a solid run, earning 78.00 points in front of about 30 cheering friends and relatives.
The other Alberta silver medalist was Calgary skier Jake Sandstrom, who claimed the second spot in the men’s event with 85.20 points.
Quebec’s Edouard Therriault won the gold medal for men’s slope style — with a taped-up boot and a score of 88.00, while B.C.’s Skye Clarke won gold for the women’s event (84.60).
The bronze medal winners were Jesse Gross of Ontario (82.80) for the men’s event and Marilou Bouthiette of Quebec (71.20) for the women’s.
Therriault admits he was “stressing so bad” when one of his ski boots broke during his first run of the finals. Luckily somebody with a roll of duct tape came to his rescue, taping up the broken boot. Therriault was able to smoothly finish his second run of jumps and rails, earning the top score of the competition.
“I just forgot about it … I focused on my run, doing it exactly how I did in practice,” said the young skier from Lorrain, Que.
“It’s awesome! I didn’t think I would win this,” Therriault admitted, but he’s pleased a broken boot didn’t get in the way.
Clarke, of Vancouver, called skiing to a gold medal “a cool experience … I’m pretty excited.”
While she felt she didn’t get a great start during training, she’s glad “it all came together” in her final two runs.
Cressey, who lives on an acreage in Red Deer County, was happy to get the silver medal at her hometown ski venue.
“This is definitely a bucket list thing. It’s the most similar event to the Olympics … and I got to do it in my hometown.”
She had a good starting jump and was able to overcome a bit of difficulty on the rails for a strong finish.
Sandstrom was also happy to have made the podium. The Albertan said he didn’t have enough speed to execute as big a jump off the rails as he had planned, “but I did my best, and I can’t complain at all.”