Elena Gaskell (Freestyle Canada phot0)

Elena Gaskell (Freestyle Canada phot0)

Gaskell nearly reaches FIS World Cup event final

Vernon slopestyle skier Elena Gaskell finishes ninth at FIS World Cup in Austria

Vernon’s Elena Gaskell just missed making the finals in her third FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup event.

Gaskell finished ninth – the top Canadian woman – after two qualifying runs at the Stubai Zoo Snow Park in Austria. The top-eight make the final.

“Though I would have liked to make the finals, I was happy to land my runs and finish in the top 10,” said Gaskell, who has set her sights on improving her ranking with each competition and has thus far accomplished that.

“I’m getting to know the World Cup circuit and starting to feel more at ease on the courses, which are more difficult than those on the Nor-Am circuit. I am also watching the other athletes and learning what I need to do to be competitive.”

Gaskell finished one spot ahead of Quebec skier Kim Lamarre, who admitted she was somewhat disappointed with her 10th-place showing, but said she came away with the good elements she will capitalize on in the next competition.

“It’s not what I wanted, but it’s still a good result for my Olympic qualification. I’m in a better position than I was before the Stubai event,” she said. “I made a few mistakes in my runs; without those I would have made the final lineup. But I’m okay with the result and will build on it, because there were lots of positive elements this week.”

Gaskell was joined in Austria by fellow Vernonites Patrick Dew and Noah Morrison. The trio were part of five members of Freestyle Canada’s slopestyle NexGen team that competed at Stubai.

Dew was 29th in the men’s event, one spot ahead of Morrison.

Canada’s Evan McEachran of Oakville, Ont. distinguished himself from start to finish with an almost perfect score in the qualifying round that put him in second place and confirmed his spot in the finals. McEachran won the silver medal, his first World Cup podium finish.

The next FIS World Cup event is Dec. 23 in Font Romeu, France.