Vernon freestyle skiers Patrick Dew and Elena Gaskell made a big splash on the North American Freestyle Ski scene this season.
Both graduates of the Silver Star Freestyle Club, the pair will be training with the B.C. Park and Pipe Team. Gaskell and Dew competed across Canada and the United States this season.
Following double gold medals at the Canada Winter Games last season, Gaskell, 14, a Grade 9 VSS student, had her sights set high.
Starting off at a competition in Whistler at the Canadian Open Tour, Gaskell was able to display some new tricks she had worked on over the summer, linking together a cork 720 to misty 720 in her run, securing her the first win of the season.
From Whistler, she travelled to Calgary Olympic Park for her first time competing at a Nor-Am event. Not daunted by the increased competition, including an Olympian from the Sochi games, Gaskell focused on clean execution and big amplitude.
This proved to be the key to success in Calgary, landing her on top of the podium followed in second by B.C. teammate Dillan Glennie of Courtenay.
From Calgary, Gaskell earned two second place finishes in Ontario and then Quebec.
Things got bumpy for Gaskell in Pennsylvania as she travelled with the team to Seven Springs for the Nor-Am Finals.
After suffering a minor knee injury, Gaskell wasn’t able to compete to her full potential and placed seventh.
This result, combined with the her first and second place finishes earlier in the season. secured Gaskell the overall Nor-Am Cup Championship for the 2016 season, and her performances on the Canadian Open Tour also secured her second straight Canada Cup champions title.
“The season went pretty well, the Nor-Am Cup win was exciting,” said Gaskell, who plays rep and school soccer.“The knee injury affected me to the point I wasn’t really able to compete but it’s healed now.”
Supporting Gaskell are Silver Star Mountain Resort, K2 Skies, O’Neill Apparel, Smith Optics, Full Tilt Boots and Sun Valley Source for Sports.
Dew, 17, in Grade 12 at VSS, was a consistent performer on the Nor-Am Freestyle Ski Tour all season, showcasing new tricks including a left spinning double cork 1260 and an unnatural right spinning double cork 1080.
Highlights for Dew this season include a second place finish in Big Air at the prestigious Aspen Open in Colorado and a third place result at the AFP Gold Level Slopestyle event at Le Relais, Lac-Beauport Que.
Along with the two podium finishes, Dew also earned four more top-10 finishes at Nor-Am and Canadian Open Tour events.
“Everything went well this season,” said Dew. “I was in eight competitions, placed top-10 in six and top-five in three. I met all of the season goals I set myself.”
Dew is supported by local companies like Skevik Skis and Sun Valley Source for Sports, and also represents Smith Optics.
Both skiers will continue their training in various locations over the summer months.