SnowScene World Cup halfpipe, PGS events this weekend
A list of 300 snowboarders representing more than 20 nations will drop in on Whistler this weekend to compete in the annual Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup, which is part of the SnowScene festival.
The snowboardcross ran yesterday (Thursday), but theres still time to catch the parallel giant slalom on Friday and the halfpipe on Saturday.
Canada has solid contenders in every event, including boardercross and PGS racer Jasey Jay Anderson of Mont Tremblant, the overall World Cup champion for the last three years running. He will be joined by 24-year-old Jérome Sylvestre of Bromont, Quebec, an up and coming rider who was fast on the Nor Am circuit last season, and made the most out of every World Cup start.
Francois Boivin is another contender after dominating in the world junior championships in 2002. The 21-year-old had a strong rookie season last year, placing well in Europa and Nor Am Cup competitions, and landing in 10 th during a World Cup appearance.
The youngest member of the alpine team, Phillipe Berube of Pierrefonds, Quebec, is coming off a silver and bronze at the junior world championships last season, and a win in the Canadian junior nationals. He also did well in Nor Am competitions.
Other Canadians not on the national team that are hoping to be a factor today include Whistlers Ian Hadgkiss, Matt Horne, Mike Kwiatkowski, Adam McLeish, and Mike Robertson.
Their competition will be stiff with the top European racers in Whistler. Some of the top names include Mathieu Bozzetto of France, Walter Feichter of Italy, Lukas Gruner and Alex Maier of Austria, Chris Klug of the U.S., and Dejan Kosir of Slovenia.
The womens alpine team is starting to make inroads, with 31-year-old Alexa Loo of Richmond posting some consistent results on the World Cup circuit.
She will be joined by Aimee Newton of Calgary, who turned 24 on Thursday and will be looking for a good birthday present on Friday. Her top results last year were sixth and seventh place PGS finishes. She also won the Canadian national championships the last two years running.
Other Canadian women who are looking to make a splash include Megan Bishop, Constance Boisvert, Caroline Calve, Christelle Dovon, Kimiko Zakreski, and Ekaterina Zavialova.
The international competition includes Sara Fischer of Sweden, Rosey Fletcher and Lisa Kosglow of the U.S., Julie Pomagalski and Karine Ruby of France, and Marion Posch of Italy.
The parallel giant slalom gets underway on Friday at 9:30 a.m. with qualifying runs. The top athletes will return at 1 p.m. for the PGS finals.