Two golds in two days for local freeski teens at Aspen Open  

Feb 13, 2023

Two local up-and-coming teen snow sports athletes have made it a double gold for New Zealand at the Aspen Open.

Eighteen-year-old Luca Harrington, of Wānaka, finished top today in the Freeski Slopestyle, backing up yesterday's win by 14-year-old Luke Harrold, of Lake Hāwea, in the Halfpipe at the same event. 

The Aspen Open is part of the Revolution Tour, a series of North American Cups, the level directly below the top tier World Cup.  

Luke Harrold, left, 14, of Lake Hāwea, came first, and Ben Harrington, 21, of Wānaka, 3rd in the Aspen Open Freeski Halfpipe Competition (Image: Credit Snow Sports NZ).

Mr Harrington put down a "phenomenal" slopestyle run, a spokesperson for Snow Sports NZ says, finishing 10 points clear of his nearest competitor.

Being interviewed immediately after the competition, Mr Harrington says “It was a pretty insane level of competition; all of these guys are such great skiers, and it could have really been anyone on top today. I am just stoked to be the one that landed on top.” 

He says competing in this sort of setting is a dream. 

“It was so much fun, you dream of competing at X Games and you watch everyone do their runs there. It was awesome to use that world class course. I was really proud of the back-to-back right double 1440 and left double 1260 I landed on the shark fins.”  

Mr Harrington’s result today was the second gold medal and third medal for the Kiwi team in as many days in Aspen, the Snow Sports NZ spokesperson says.

Yesterday, Mr Harrold put down an "incredible" run the 22-foot super pipe to win the Aspen Freeski Halfpipe Open.

It was highly technical, with four different direction double cork rotations, including back-to-back switch alley oop double cork 900s at the top of his run.

"At just 14 years old, this is a run that would rival some of the best at the top level of halfpipe competition."

Mr Harrold says he "couldn't be happier" after landing the run, a personal best.

“It feels really good to take the win, the level of competition was really high."

Mr Harrington’s older brother 21-year-old Ben Harrington, also of Wānaka, finished in third place in the halfpipe.   

Mr (Ben) Harrington "laced together a solid run, oozing with his trademark style, to take third place on the podium", the spokesperson says.

At the same event 18-year-old Ruby Star Andrews, of Queenstown, qualified in top spot in the women’s freeski slopestyle, finishing in fourth place in the finals.  

Meanwhile, further north in Calgary, Canada, 23-year-old Tiarn Collins, of Queenstown, competed in the FIS Snowboard Slopestyle World Cup finals today, where he finished in 10th place.  

The majority of the Kiwi Park and Pipe team will now head to Europe for their final preparations before the Freeski and Snowboard Park and Pipe World Championships take place in Bakuriani, Georgia, with Kiwis in action from Friday, February 24. 

Main image (Snow Sports NZ): Aspen Open Freeski Slopestyle Podium, left to right, Jeremy Gagne in 2nd (Canada), Luca Harrington in 1st (New Zealand), Bruce Oldham in 3rd (Canada).

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