Canada’s Rachael Karker and Brendan MacKay soared to medals at the ski halfpipe World Cup on Friday at Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado.
Karker, 24, improved with all three of her runs, eventually securing silver with her top score of 90 points.
The Erin, Ont., native was competing for the first time since taking gold at a World Cup in Aspen, Colo., in March for her first career victory. She had also reached the World Cup podium six times prior, with four silvers and two bronze.
Canadian Cassie Sharpe, the reigning Olympic champion in the event, placed sixth with a top score of 83.25. Like Karker, the 29-year-old improved with each run.
WATCH | Canada’s Karker earns World Cup silver at Copper Mountain:
Sharpe returned to competition on Friday for the first time since suffering a pair of knee injuries and a fractured femur following a fall at the Winter X Games in January.
China’s Gu Ailing Eileen edged Karker for gold at 90.50, while Estonian Kelly Sildaru took bronze at 88.75.
Gu, who was born in San Francisco but will compete for her mother’s home country of China at the Beijing Games next year, is in the mix to become the first action-sports athlete to win three gold medals at the same games.
She won the big air contest in Steamboat last week, and is expected to compete in slopestyle at the Dew Tour next week.
WATCH | Teeing up Sharpe’s return to action, other Olympic sports to watch this weekend:
MacKay takes bronze
On the men’s side, MacKay used his second-run score of 91.50 to earn bronze, his third career World Cup podium appearance.
The 24-year-old Calgary native is eyeing his Olympic debut in Beijing.
American Alex Ferreira blasted to gold after putting down a 93.50 in his first run, while New Zealand’s Nico Porteous earned silver at 92.25.
“There was so much on the line and we’re all fighting for opportunities to get to Beijing,” Ferreira said. “It was a roller coaster of emotions this morning, but I’m super grateful to get here on the podium.”
Canadians Simon D’Artois, Noah Bowman and Dylan Marineau finished fifth, sixth and ninth, respectively.
Watch more freestyle skiing World Cup action on Saturday when the ski cross event begins on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem at 5:30 a.m. ET.