A Campbell River skier went big at Mt. Washington for the mountain’s Viewtour virtual slopestyle event this month, and he’s only ten years old.
Tyson Popove placed second in his category in the event. Contestants were to make a video of themselves doing a park run and submit it to the competition. Judging took place over the last week and results were announced on Feb. 22.
“I thought because of how much training I’ve been doing, I might stand a chance this year. I…was pretty excited when I saw all of my other friends were in it,” said Popove. “They announced the winners, and I found out that I got second…It was awesome.”
The competition was judged by some big names in the freestyle ski and snowboard world, including Olympic gold medalist Cassie Sharp, world champion skier Max Moffatt and Courtenay-based Canadian Freestyle Team member Dillan Glennie. Sharp happens to be one of Popove’s heroes, and he was particularly stoked to have her judging his run.
“I was pretty happy that they were judging me, because I look up to them in my skiing,” he said.
“Cassie Sharp has actually signed one of Tyson’s freestyle skis,” added Elaine Popove, Tyson’s mom. “He’s gonna hang it up on his wall because he really looks up to her.”
Tyson is a member of the Freestyle Club at Mt. Washington. He really enjoys skiing and is looking to do even bigger and more exciting tricks. One of his goals is to learn to do a backflip, which requires special training off-Island.
“They don’t let kids just go and do backflips. You have to go and get special training. It’s called Water Ramps,” Elaine said. “One of his big goals is to start saving up money. If he wants to learn to do a backflip, he needs to go and get his water ramp certification.”
His connection to the freestyle club also helped out with his filming. On the day of his run, the weather was so cold that the phone his family was using to film kept dying. They had to reach out to Mt. Washington staff to help film his run.
“(We) couldn’t keep up to him in order to record him properly. We tried, and since it was so cold that day, the phones kept dying,” Elaine said. “We reached out to Mt. Washington and they were nice enough to have some staff help record him. We just can’t keep up to him.”
Tyson said one of his goals is to someday ski in the Olympics, though he knows that is going to take a lot of hard work and dedication. In the meantime, he is happy to be getting out onto the mountain, hitting big jumps and skiing through powder.
“I really like catching air and going down steep stuff,” he said. “I love skiing the powder because it’s just spraying everywhere.”
Tyson thanked his coaches Cam Bailey and Peter Stubbs for all their support, and Ski Tak Hut in Courtenay for keeping his gear tuned and ready to go.
“We’re just really thankful that the mountain is open during COVID, and (Tyson) can’t imagine not having skiing as an outlet this winter,” Elaine added.
For other kids who are interested in improving their skills and learning how to ride freestyle, Tyson says “just keep trying and don’t give up when it’s hard.”