Emma Whitman didn’t even hang around to see the scores, she was just happy to have landed two solid runs down the X Games Buttermilk slopestyle course. When her coach tapped her on the shoulder and told her that she’d won, she admits she came “unglued.”
“(It was) amazing, I was stunned for a number of days,” beamed Whitman. “I knew I’d skied a great run but I didn’t imagine that it would’ve landed me on top (of the leader board).”
The emerging freestyle skier and Sun Peaks local had just bagged her best achievement of her freestyle career so far — winning the slopestyle at the 2013 Aspen/Snowmass Open. She put the result down to a couple of things.
“The thing that really put me ahead of the other competitors was that I was able to carry lots of speed, getting lots of amplitude (sic) and I was landing further down the landings which is essentially going bigger than anyone else,” Whitman said of her runs.
Whitman competes in the slopestyle on the AFP World Tour. The AFP tour is a ranking system involving most big events around the world. Some events, like the X Games and Dew Tour, are weighted higher, awarding the winners more AFP ranking points. The higher weighted events generally draw better skiers. Since joining the tour in 2012, Whitman has competed in events like the X Games, Dew Tour and North Face open series.
Whitman’s win in Aspen is made all the more impressive given that she beat more experienced and higher ranked AFP tour skiers. She said her best achievement “by far” was the result of a lot of hard work.
“Since July (2012) I’ve been training with the B.C. Park and Pipe team. I owe a lot of my success to my coach, Jeremy Cooper,” said Whitman. “I’ve also gained a lot more competition experience. . . . It’s one thing to be a good skier, but a totally different battle to be a good competitor.” She added that she did a lot more strength training which also contributed to her success.
Whitman was 14th in the AFP tour slopestyle rankings in 2012 and in 2013 she’s jumped to seventh, showing that she now has the tricks to mix it with the best.
“Sochi is the fuel for my fire! I need to make the national team, which consists of the top three ranked Canadians and is also affected by coaches’ discretion. I’m currently ranked second of the Canadians, however Canada happens to have the most talented females in the industry.”
And Whitman is still modest about mixing it with the best slopestyle skiers in the world.
“When I was invited to my first Dew Tour last year it was very intimidating, I felt like I was in over my head. . . . Someone figures I deserve to be there skiing with the best so I better put my game face on and live up to that!” Whitman said.