Freestyle Skiing

Gustavo Garcia - Tuesday Feb. 18, 2014 22:42 ET

Snowy conditions cloud ski halfpipe event: Day 11 Newsmaker

Bad weather makes it difficult for skiers to perform tricks

Mike Riddle of Canada competes during the freestyle skiing men's halfpipe on February 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
Mike Riddle of Canada competes during the freestyle skiing men's halfpipe on February 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
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The halfpipe skiing event is one of those shows you can’t keep your eyes off of.

The sport, which made its Olympic debut in Sochi, combines speed, acrobatics and incredible combinations in the air.

And on Tuesday, the competitors were ready to put on a show at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

The halfpipe wasn’t.

A massive snowstorm hit the course throughout the finals and quickly became the highlight of the event, and our Newsmaker of Day 11.

Skiers had to switch to plan B and perform more cautious routines to avoid crashes due to the bad conditions on the course.

"It was really unfortunate," said American David Wise, who ended up with the gold medal around his neck. "I had all these crazy amazing runs that I wanted to do here at the Olympics but if you can't get the speed you can't do the tricks that you want to do.”

Wise and the rest of the contestants couldn’t show their repertoire to the world as the amount of snow on the pipe limited their speed and ability to reach the height necessary to perform their best tricks.

"Unfortunately, I had to change my run,” Wise said. “The run I completed was like plan C or D even but that's just the way it goes, you've got to adjust and do the best you can."

Edmonton’s Mike Riddle took silver and couldn’t contain the excitement of winning a medal in such bad conditions.

"It's unbelievable," Riddle said. "I put down a good run in what were difficult conditions. I knew I had a chance."

The gigantic snowflakes made it almost impossible to see the top of the halfpipe the bottom, which caused even more trouble since that’s the spot where the judges sit.

Calgary’s Justin Dorey, ranked number one in the world, was one of the victims of the sloppy weather and crashed in both of his runs.

A little bit of snow that made the ski halfpipe event a little bit more extreme. Because skiing at high speed while tackling a 22-foot halfpipe is definitely not dangerous enough.

(With files from Reuters)

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