Canada's Turski takes gold, Howell bronze at Euro X Games

The Canadian Press

3/14/2012 2:19:04 PM

TIGNES, France -- Canadian freestyle skier Kaya Turski won the women's slopestyle event at the European X Games Wednesday, taking home the gold for a third straight year.

The Montreal native scored 92.66 to edge Australia's Anna Segal, who followed with 91.00.

Dara Howell of Huntsville, Ont., scored 89.66 to earn bronze, her first X Games medal.

Coming into her second run behind Segal, Turski used her prowess on the rails to move into the lead.

"Rails are definitely my forte and I definitely used them to my advantage at this event," said the 23-year-old.

The slopestyle course is approximately 490 metres long with six features and a vertical drop of 85 metres. Skiers attempt multiple tricks throughout their run on specially designed jumps, rails, boxes and other obstacles. Judging is based on creativity, trick competitions and style. The competitors are ranked based on the best score of their three runs.

The event will make its Olympic debut in Sochi in 2014.

Turski's three straight gold matched her X Games three-peat in Aspen, Colo., in January, but she is still working on improving her jumping skills. She tried a difficult switch 1080 -- when the skier hits a jump backwards, does three full rotations in the air, then lands backwards -- on the final run even though she knew she already had the win sewn up.

"I've had a good season for sure, but ironically that makes me feel like I have a lot of pressure on my shoulders," she said. "It's a positive, but it adds pressure, and I'm not going to get complacent. I'm going to keep pushing and trying to get better with harder tricks and adding unnaturals to my runs."

Turski also plans to go back to her roots by competing in in-line skating, in the Asian X Games in Shanghai at the end of April.

"Rollerblading, in general, is like skiing," said Turski. "It helps with balance and understanding transitions. And, it's great to go back to Rollerblading because there's not the pressure, not the expectations, that I have in skiing. It's just fun and I can link up with old friends."

Howell, who was only invited to join the national team in February, was pleased with her bronze.

"I'm really excited, I thought just being at X Games in January and coming sixth was a dream come true. Now having a podium is just awesome," she said.