WHISTLER, BRITISH COLUMBIA (APRIL 22, 2012) – Mike Riddle closed the 2012 competitive season by laying claim to a slushy superpipe on Blackcomb Mountain at the World Skiing Invitational today. The 25-year-old National Halfpipe Team member from Sherwood Park, Alta. earned a best-of-two run top score of 92.6 to best Thomas Krief of France, who scored 87.0 and Joss Christensen of the US who was third at 85.6. AFP 2012 halfpipe points leader Torin Yater-Wallace of the US was fourth with 85.2.
Wiping tears of joy from his face, Riddle credited a new pair of skis and a home field advantage with his turn in fortune. “I’ve had a rough season so to finally put down a good run feels so good. “I didn’t have any major results this year, and I was really struggling mentally. I think its been a tough year for the whole ski community with losing Sarah, so I’m just happy to end the season on a good note and look forward to the next one,” said Riddle referring to the death of teammate Sarah Burke earlier in the season.
Riddle, who lives in Vancouver and trains at Blackcomb primarily, felt his main competition in the pipe today was teammate Justin Dorey, “I knew if Dorey put it together he could have beaten me,” he said. Dorey, who hails from Vernon, qualified first this morning in the elimination round, but fell on both his final round runs and ended the day in 12th.
Riddle said he would have been happy to share the podium with Dorey, or any of his Canadian teammates, adding that the challenges of the season has brought them closer than ever. “The camaraderie within the team is probably the strongest it’s ever been. We’re a tight-knit group and we love travelling together and skiing together.”
Other Canadians in finals included Hunter Visser of Penticton who was eighth at 72.2 Canadian Freestyle Rookie of the Year Noah Bowman of Calgary who finished 10th at 68.2; Matt Margetts of Penticton who was 11th at 62.6.
On the women’s side, Rosalind Groenewoud capped of her amazing double-X Game gold season with a bronze medal here, and the 2012 AFP women’s halfpipe crown. Maggie Bowman of the US took the gold at 93.2, Anais Caradeux of France was second at 85.0. Groenewoud scored 83.6. Groenewoud said she struggled with the warm conditions today.
“It’s crazy slushy, the pipe was falling apart in the afternoon despite the event team’s best efforts to keep it together. As a result, I definitely didn’t get my highest hits.” Nevertheless, after falling on her first run, Groenewoud said,
“I was definitely happy to land my second run, it wasn’t the run I was going for I messed up and had to ‘freestyle it’ pull it out and make up a whole different run. So I was a little disappointed not to compete the run I’ve been training and that I felt really confident with. But, I am happy to win the overall AFP title for pipe. I’ve had a really good season.”
Other Canadian women in the final were Megan Gunning of Calgary who was fifth at 66.8 and Dara Howell of Huntsville, Ont. who was seventh at 62.4. Riddle and Groenewoud’s medals made a total of four for Canada at the 2012 WSI, adding to those of Victoriaville, Que.’s Vincent Gagnier’s second place in last night’s big air competition and Pemberton’s Yuki Tsubota bronze in women’s slopestyle on Friday.