For Kyran Allen, it’s go big or go home. One of six Team Yukon freestyle skiers, Allen placed a remarkable 4th for the second consecutive Canada Games in the Big Air competition this week at Canyon Ski Resort in Red Deer.
Remarkable? Allen, 20, is a true freestyle skier who’s training consists mostly of playing on ski hills when he isn’t at college studying business management. He had enough skill to place fourth by a slim 1.6-point margin on Thursday, just stumbling out of his last trick that likely cost Yukon its first medal of the Games.
Allen started skiing when he was two at Mount Sima in Whitehorse, a hill where daylight is in short supply and frigid temperatures are not. He joined the Yukon freestyle team at 14 competed at Canada Games in Prince George then left the team at 18 when he started college in Kelowna B.C. He only signed up to represent his territory again late last year.
“I’ve been doing my own thing, not really working with coaches,” he says. “It is a very free sport. You have a lot of freedom to choose what you do, but it’s all up to you to put in the effort to make you consistent to land your tricks and go big on jumps.”
Many of the top-ranked Canada Games skiers have been skiing many competitions over the past year leading up to Red Deer. Not Allen. He stays fit in the outdoors, fishing, hunting and landing tricks on the ski hill.
“The other athletes do train a lot more than I do — probably for most of the year and through summer — which I don’t,” he says. “I’m kind of cool with just doing my own thing – I’ve got to focus on my schooling. I don’t really see myself on a career path with freestyle.”
That he is talented is not in doubt. He loves to be on the ski hill, but his goals lie elsewhere. “I came to put in my best effort and bring the best results to Team Yukon,” he says. “I think we have a great program up north. We have a great park and a great hill. It makes me pretty proud of where I’m from.”
Teammate Niko Rodden, 20, has known Allen since kindergarten.
“It was great to have him here with him being in school. Being able to get together for the Games was great. It was a throwback to the last Games,” says Rodden. “It’s our last national competition we’ll go to. Being with fellow athletes and giving it all we got one last time.”
Instagram: @KyranAllen, @nikorodden
Photography by Stephen Lindsay