Hinton skier finishes ‘great year’ at Alberta championships



The Jasper Freeride season has wrapped and one Hinton skier is planning to train with the provincial team.


Julian Kapronczai finished the freestyle skiing season on Marmot Basin with two bronze finishes in the Alberta Championships April 5 and 6. The 15-year-old Harry Collinge High School student competed in both the moguls and dual moguls events. Jasper Freeride coach Nicholas Bazin was impressed with the Hintonite’s performance this year.


“He’s one of my top athletes,” Bazin said.


Kapronczai competed in the freestyle Canadian National Championships at Apex Mountain Resort in Penticton, B.C. March 27 to 30. He placed an impressive 26th overall, competing against Olympians like Alexandre Bilodeau and Mikaël Kingsbury.


“It’s a pretty good rank,” said Bazin.


The Alberta Championship series was held at Mt. Norquay in Banff in January, with the second competition at Castle Mountain near Pincher Creek in February, and the final event at Marmot Basin this month. It’s the second year in a row the final has been hosted at the Jasper ski resort. Jasper Freeride had 10 athletes competing.


In the single moguls event Kapronczai finished third overall with a best time of 26.27 seconds. For the dual moguls, where athletes compete against each other to advance, he made it as far as the semi-finals before losing to Ryan Portello of Team Alberta. The Hinton freestyler then won the bronze medal bracket.


“I’m very happy with how everything panned out, it was a great year all in all,” said Kapronczai. “I accomplished what I needed to. The goal for this season was to make it to the Alberta team, and I’ve done all in my power to do that.”


A highlight for Kapronczai was meeting the Olympic gold medallist Alex Bilodeau and silver medallist Mikaël Kingsbury at the national championships. Bilodeau and Kingsbury came first and second overall for the men’s moguls event at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia in February. Kingsbury is also the reigning world champion in moguls.


Kapronczai’s ultimate aim is Team Canada and to become an Olympian himself.


“The idea is within four years I’ll hopefully make the national team, get on the A team and go to the Olympics,” he said. He’s hoping to qualify for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.


Coach Bazin continues to train the Jasper Freeride team throughout the summer months.


“June, July, August and September we train on a water ramp, which is like a big ramp where we land in the pool,” said Bazin. Local freestyle skiers head to Grande Prairie and Red Deer for the facilities to train. Trampolines are also used to practice jumps.


“Not much [of a] break for the top-end athletes for Jasper Freeride,” said the coach. They’ll be taking part in a two-week camp in Whistler, B.C. in July. Competition begins again in December.

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