Vernon’s Noah Morrison has joined slopestyle skiing’s upper echelon.
Morrison earned the final qualifying spot for Winter X Games by winning the North Face Park and Pipe Open last week in Whistler.
Only 16 riders make the cut for X Games, which started Thursday in Aspen, Colo. It is an Olympic qualifier for the national team.
Morrison skied against childhood idol, and now friend and national teammate, TJ Schiller, in Whistler. He qualified first overall on day one and made the 12-man final the next day.
Skiers went in reverse order, so Morrison dropped in last. He crashed on the last jump of his first go, but laid down a world-class run to secure his X Games ticket.
Morrison is ranked eighth on the AFP world tour list.
The North Face event will be aired on CBC Sports on Thursday, Feb. 7.
Meanwhile, Vernon’s Justin Dorey was forced to withdraw from the X Games halfpipe ski competition as he will undergo surgery to repair damaged ligaments in his left shoulder. He will not compete for the rest of the season.
The 24-year-old suffers from recurrent shoulder dislocation, which began last year when he crashed during his final run at X Games. A fall in training last week in Breckenridge, Colo. was the deciding factor for surgery.
“When I fell training in Breck I did more damage than the other dislocations and I tore more ligaments, so I need to get it taken care of now,” said a disappointed Dorey.
Dorey is expected to make a full recovery following the surgery and could be able to return to halfpipe training in three to four months.
n After placing third in her qualifying run, Vernon Ski Club racer Mallory Stewart went all out to claim gold in the 10-11 Girls division at the Canadian Junior Open Free Skiing Championships last weekend at Rossland’s Red Mountain.
The event was held on a steep, challenging run, and the toughest line chosen by the skiers is the most important factor in this judged event. Technique, speed, control and energy are the other components evaluated to get a total score.
“Mallory chose a very difficult line, and along with her strong technical skiing, put her two points ahead of her competitors in that run, to get first overall,” said coach Tom Stewart.
Stewart’s brother, Jackson, a rookie in the 15-18 Boys class, skied a hard line with excellent control to advance to the finals. After another solid technical run, Jackson earned 31st out of 53 competitors.
Jacob Tooke, a Silver Star Freestyle Club member, took 16th out of 40 competitors in the 12-14 Boys group.