ASPEN, Colo. – Calgary’s Rosalind Groenewoud dedicated her win on the women’s superpipe at the Winter X Games to fellow Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke on Saturday.
Groenewoud won the event with a score of 93.66. Maddie Bowman of the U.S was second with 92.00 points, while fellow American Brita Sigourney was third with 90.66.
The 29-year-old Burke was favoured to win a fifth X Games gold medal in superpipe before landing awkwardly in training Jan. 10 in Park City, Utah. She died nine days later in a Salt Lake City hospital from her injuries.
Groenewoud, who had Burke’s name on her equipment, said she struggled with her emotions until the skiers at the competition participated in a tribute Thursday night.
“I showed up for Friday morning training with entirely new energy and brought that into today in letting all of that love uplift me,” Groenewoud said on a conference call. “I definitely felt her presence.”
Edmonton’s Keltie Hansen was sixth, while Dara Howell of Huntsville, Ont., was seventh and Calgary’s Megan Gunning finished eighth.
Gorenewoud wasn’t the only Canadian to take home gold on Saturday.
Dominique Maltais of Petite-Riviere-Saint-Francois, Que., won in women’s snowboardcross in a time of 1:31.614. Maelle Ricker of West Vancouver, B.C., took bronze in 1:33.642.
Bulgaria’s Alexandra Jekova was second in 1:33.336.
“I am really happy,” said Maltais in a statement. “I was really looking forward to winning this year. I have been racing really well on the World Cup circuit and I was being positive about this competition.
“I didn’t look back until the end of the race and I was really surprised when I saw that I was so far in front. I was really happy to win and it was a good race.”
In the men’s superpipe, Calgary’s Noah Bowman took silver with a score of 90.00. David Wise of the U.S. was first with 93.00 points, while compatriot Torin Yater-Wallace was third with 89.66.
Wise only found out he would be competing two hours before the event.
“It was kind of nice, I was just looking at this week as a good practice week,” Bowman said. “Having fun all week and no pressure thinking about the comp — that was good. Sadly a couple of guys got hurt but for me it was nice to be in and just making it to finals. I couldn’t believe I did that. Then putting down a good run today and being rewarded for it, it feels good.”
Bowman said Burke’s death has weighed on the entire freestyle skiing community.
“It’s been pretty tough. The ski world lost and icon and a wonderful person,” he said. “It’s amazing to see how many people truly cared about her and it was pretty uplifting.
“We were all skiing for Sarah.”
Burke was born in Barrie, Ont., grew up in nearby Midland and began attending summer ski camps in Whistler, B.C., as a teenager.
She was the first woman to land a 720, then a 900, then a 1080-degree spin in competition and took women’s freeskiing on her back, helped get it onto the X Games program, then lobbied successfully to have it added to the Olympic program starting in 2014.
Groenewoud said the sport’s growth will be part of Burke’s legacy.
“All the girls are really pushing themselves,” she said. “I think that we all realize that the best way to honour Sarah is for all of us to keep pushing ourselves and to progress women’s skiing and fight for more inclusion in events.”
Note: Canada’s Justin Dorey partially dislocated his left shoulder after falling in the men’s final. The Vernon, B.C., skier landed hard on the lip of the pipe, sliding down the side. He walked off the course holding his left arm gingerly. Mike Riddle of Sherwood Park, Alta., finished seventh.