ABM steps up to the top in Sp’akwus Ski Invitation alongside Switzerland’s Sarah Hoefflin
WHISTLER, B.C. April 13, 2019 – The skies may have been grey over Whistler today, but the vibes were sunny as 15 of the world’s top freestyle skiers gathered to give it their all in the Sp’akwus Ski Invitational at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF).
Taking the wins in the spring contest, Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (CAN) and Sarah Hoefflin (SUI).
For ABM, who won bronze in Slopestyle in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, today’s win is his first at this level, and marks the end of a busy competition season.
“I’m so happy, for sure,” said the Quebec City native. “So stoked on my season. So glad to not have any injuries. It’s been full-throttle. I’m happy to end it on a win. The first win on the pro tour in my life. I’ve had a second, a third. So happy to finally get a win.”
Solidifying the win today were two 1090’s, a trick ABM hadn’t done before in competition. The Monster athlete landed every single one of his jumps, going big ‘til the end. His final jump was one of his best, earning him a 92.25 and boosting his overall score to 186.50. He threw it down with conviction, raising his hands in the air and spraying snow through the finish corral as he came to a stop. His calm confidence at the end of the day belied the highs and lows of the days leading up to the moment.
“First day of practice I really didn’t like the jump. We didn’t have much speed, so I just barely practiced,” said the 25-year-old. “I thought, it’s just not worth it to try my tricks in bad conditions. I just didn’t want to get injured. Today we had some rain, but apart from the rain the jump was running really nicely and everything was firm for a legit contest, so I’m super happy that it worked out.”
Behind ABM, fellow Quebecois Phillips Langevin (CAN) with 176.50. Third place went to Campbell River’s Teal Harle (CAN), who came in hot on Langevin’s heels with 170.
On the women’s side, the winner echoed the relief at Mother Nature’s cooperation today, with the rain falling only lightly, giving way to sun at the end.
“I was really nervous the whole week because they said it was going to rain the whole day and we struggled with the speed in training, but it worked out today,” said Hoefflin. “The speed was great and the guys working on the jump did such a good job.”
The 28-year-old Swiss rider’s final score of 170, the sum total of her two best tricks, included the 92.5 she earned from a switch dub 10. Like ABM, she went full gas all the way to the end, throwing down her second highest scoring trick of the day on her final run. Similarly, last year’s winner Elena Gaskell (CAN) pushed hard on her final jump, pushing her way up into second place with a final score of 149.75. Third place went to local favourite, Whistler’s Yuki Tsubota (CAN) who ended her day with 144.75.
The winners walk away with $20,000 each for their efforts in the Big Air contest.
The Sp’akwus Ski Invitational was renamed in 2019. “Sp’akwus” means “Eagle,” weaving in tradition from the Squamish First Nation.
The WSSF’s Big Air competitions are proudly supported by the Resort Municipality of Whistler, in partnership with funding from the Province of British Columbia.
Tomorrow, WSSF 2019 goes out with a BANG.
The 20+ person band/performer extravaganza that is MarchFourth will wrap the WSSF Outdoor Concert Series at 3 p.m. in Skiers Plaza with their signature brassy funk, rock, jazz and good times vibe. The party will then march on over to the Whistler Conference Centre for the final party of the week. The ART+Sold! Festival Wrap Party will be the place to be from 4-7 p.m. to get your afternoon dance/drink on, soak up the final dose of WSSF good times, and pick up that unique piece of art you’ve been eyeing all week.
The time is now (and running out): Soak it in. Go all out. Make it count.
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About the World Ski & Snowboard Festival
The World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) is North America’s largest festival of snow sports, music, arts and mountain culture, April 10-14, 2019. Get fired up for progression, speed and excitement as the Ski and Snowboard Big Air competitions, the steepest ski race in the world, and finals of the Monster Energy Boarderstyle World Championships launch from Whistler. Soak in the best of mountain culture at art, film, photography, and speaker events. Get loud alongside musicians and DJs at the WSSF Outdoor Concert Series. Then keep the party going through elevated après sessions at Whistler’s renowned restaurants and bars.
This is the après of your season.
Soak it in. Go all out. Make it count.
WSSF was born in 1996, created by event producer Doug Perry. It is currently produced but the Crankworx Events Inc. team in Whistler, B.C.