Noah Bowman opened the season with a silver medal and fellow Canadian Simon D’Artois earned bronze Friday at a World Cup ski halfpipe competition that counts as an Olympic qualifier.
Bowman, from Calgary, finished with 91 points, just behind defending Olympic champion David Wise of the United States (92.80).
Bowman told CBC Sports he was unsure of what to expect in terms of pipe conditions since it opened just two days before competition began. Usually pipes take about a week to prep and work out the flaws.
But Bowman said conditions were exceptional. So much so that he decided right before the competition to throw in a new jump, the switch dub 12, a trick he’d never put down in competition before.
The jump starts backward and includes three-and-a-half spins and two flips.
“I was feeling good and knew it would help my chances at a higher score,” said Bowman, from Calgary. “It was the best pipe I’d ever skied at Copper Mountain.”
D’Artois of Whistler, B.C., was third with 89.20 points.
“There’s room for improvement, in terms of cleaning things up, going bigger and adding variations,” D’Artois said. “But I felt good.”
While Edmonton’s Mike Riddle just missed the podium, finishing fourth with 88.20 points.
Olympic silver medallist Marie Martinod of France won the women’s competition, and was followed by American Devin Logan, who won Olympic silver in slopestyle four years ago but did not qualify on the halfpipe.
The U.S. freeski and snowboard teams will be chosen based on athletes’ two best results over five qualifiers, ending next month.
Snowboard halfpipe finals, featuring Shaun White, are Saturday at Copper Mountain and Big Air finals are Sunday.