Five runs in, Evan McEachran (CAN) threw down his biggest run of the night when it counted the most, locking down the top step on the podium at the Ski Big Air at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) in Whistler with a final score of 188.75.
“I just went as fast as I possibly could. I grabbed both my grabs better and landed it a lot better,” said McEachran of the Switch Double Cork 12 Lead Tail to Double Japan he pulled out for run number six. The 21- year-old freeskier from Ontario said closing out his season with the WSSF win couldn’t get much sweeter.
“I had some troubles the past few years and would screw up a little bit in finals but this year it all came together and I got a couple podiums and got to go to the Olympics and experience that. So this has definitely been a dream year, and this is the best way to end it.”
McEachran was joined on the men’s podium but Max Moffatt (CAN), also from Ontario, who took second with 187.25, and Noah Morrison (CAN) of Vernon, who rounded out the top three with 185.50.
Morrison’s third-place finish was the second coup for Vernon, BC. 16-year-old Elena Gaskell (CAN) will be bringing home some gold hardware back to the North Okanagan city after taking the win on the women’s side with a commanding final score of 175.75.
“It was so awesome. I came in not to sure about things because it was raining, but the jump was great. Speed
was still there and I was having fun. Everyone was sending and it got me excited,” said Gaskell. “I tried a new trick. I tried to do a Switch 10 Mute, which I’ve never done before. I was just throwing some of my biggest tricks and having fun.”
Gaskell was joined on the podium by two-time Olympian and Whistler legend Yuki Tsubota (CAN), who owned the second step, scoring 161.25, while up-and-comer Sofia Tchernetsky (CAN), also from Whistler, took third with 122.75.
This first night of Big Air competition featured a stacked roster of 14 who sent it on the massive jump, measured at 65 feet from the takeoff to the edge of the knuckle, in front of a crowd estimated at over 2000 festival-goers under the lights, and rain, of Whistler village.
“It was such a good vibe,” said McEachran. “Everyone’s out here in the rain still. It’s awesome.”
Meanwhile, the snowboarders had their time in the spotlight earlier today. The Monster Energy Boarderstyle World Championships went through their timed runs in the Terrain Park Snowcross course on Blackcomb Mountain this afternoon, with finalists announced ahead of tomorrow’s finals at 1:30 p.m. The event is the final contest in a four-stop tour.
Tomorrow’s Boardercross action will be one of three major sporting events taking over Day Five of the WSSF action launches. It all kicks off from the top of the Saudan Couloir on Blackcomb Mountain, as racers line up to take one of the steepest ski races in the world, the Saudan Couloir Ski Race Extreme presented by Kokanee. Next on the docket will be the Boarderstyle finals, setting the stage the evening as the snowboarders take to the big stage for the second night of Big Air action at WSSF.