Quebec's Caroline Calvé kept her cool and made it to the finals of the women's World Cup parallel giant slalom in Carezza, Italy last week where she defeated Amelie Kober of Germany in two runs of the course to take her first career gold medal — and the first gold medal ever won by a Canadian female athlete in the sport of alpine snowboarding.
"I took it one race at a time today and never thought about winning," she said. I qualified 10th and was stoked to be in the finals.
"My focus this year has been on really charging each run. For me, racing is 95 per cent in the mind. It's all about having a strategy and working with my coaches to choose the right line and adapting our game plan for each run."
The racecourse deteriorated quickly with 32 head-to-head runs in the women's final alone, and twice as many runs in the men's competition.
Calvé said the conditions suited her riding style. "I have a carving style that is better in the bumps," she said. "I was able to take a rounder line from the start and as a result was able to improve with each run."
Marianne Kreiner of Austria defeated Julie Zogg of Switzerland in the small final to win the bronze medal.
In the men's PGS race, Roland Fischnaller of Italy placed first, followed by Benjamin Karl of Austria and Rok Flander of Slovenia. The top Canadian was Jasey-Jay Anderson in 10th, with Michael Lambert in 23rd and Matthew Morison in 28th.
The next day, Dec. 22, was a parallel slalom event, an event recently added to the Olympic calendar for 2014, which takes place on a shorter course with more gates.
In the women's event, Patrizia Kummer of Switzerland edged Isabella Laboeck of Germany in the final, while Anke Karstens of Germany defeated Julia Dummovits of Austria in the small final. The top Canadian was Ariane Lavigne in 23rd.
The Canadian men also had an off-day. Benjamin Karl of Austria defeated Simon Schoch of Switzerland for the win, and Siegfried Grabner of Austria defeated Jernej Demsar of Slovenia for the bronze medal. The top Canuck was Matthew Morison in 16th, with Michael Lambert in 19th.