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Nelson’s Leishman headed to world championships after Whitewater’s Junior Freeski Open

Whitewater athletes won 4 of 6 categories
A skier competes during the 11th annual Whitewater Junior Freeski Open, which ran Friday to Saturday. Photo courtesy Whitewater Ski Resort

The 11th annual SMITH Junior Freeski Open has wrapped. The best up-and-coming skiers from the region came out Friday to Sunday to take their shot at one of the premiere opportunities in North America to compete in big mountain freeskiing.

From sick jumps to killer tricks, these kids braved the elements, showed up, and showed out! Whitewater’s local athletes owned the podium and demonstrated why they’re leaders in their field.

After topping the 15-18 females podium at this competition, Nelson’s own Lucy Leishman is headed straight to the 2023 YETI Freeride Junior World Championships in Kappl, Austria, Jan. 23 to 26. Leishman had previously qualified for worlds by winning the North American championship in April 2022.

Congratulations to all of the amazing young athletes who rocked it this weekend. We’re already looking forward to next year’s competition!


U12 Females

1. Mia Novotna, IFSA Independent

2. Cayce Milan, RED Mountain Freeski Team

3. Ainsley Wilkinson, Whitewater Freeride Team

U12 Males

1. John Suda, Whistler Freeride Club

2. Kael Biollo, Revelstoke Ski Club Freeride Team

3. Oscar Galbraith, Silver Star Freeride Team

12-14 Females

1. Emily Horn, Whitewater Freeride Team

2. Elysha Keyserlingk, Whitewater Freeride Team

3. Nia Perrault, Silver Star Freeride Team

12-14 Males

1. Jordan Zdrazil, Whitewater Freeride Team

2. Samuel Hoad, Whistler Freeride Club

3. Charlie Beck, Whistler Freeride Club

15-18 Females

1. Lucy Leishman, Whitewater Freeride Team

2. Freya Keyserlingk, Whitewater Freeride Team

3. Aziza Rubenstein, Golden Alpine Rippers

15-18 Males

1. Dylan Moynes, Whitewater Freeride Team

2. Brodie Jensen, Whitewater Freeride Team

3. Kane Gascoigne, Whistler Freeride Club

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated Leishman’s win at Whitewater qualified her for the junior world championships. In fact she had already qualified with a previous victory.