Ricker wins silver in halfpipe
All the wine and cheese in France couldnt slow the Canadian snowboard team down last weekend, as the World Cup season continued in Alpe dHuez.
The Canadians didnt have much luck in the parallel giant slalom, with only Quebecs Jaysey Jay Anderson cracking the top 15 with a 12 th place finish.
The halfpipe was a different story.
In the womens event, Whistler rider Maelle Ricker broke her halfpipe medal drought with a strong silver medal performance. She has missed most of the last two seasons with knee injuries sustained in snowboard cross events, but looks like shes got the old touch back combined with two fourth place finishes and two more top 10s this season, she is currently ranked third in the world.
"This is great," she said. "I havent been on the podium in halfpipe for such a long time. My riding is finally coming back together so I cant complain with second. The pipe had such a nice shape and it was steep and a bit soft so you could really be aggressive."
While she may be one of the top ranked women in the world, it came too late for the 23 year old to qualify for the Olympics. By the November FIS cut off, Natasza Zurek was the only Canadian to achieve two top 16 World Cup results and secure a berth for the Games.
As a result, there was only one spot in the halfpipe for the Canadian women out of a maximum of two. This year the Olympic halfpipe was open to just 20 riders, the fewest quota spots of any sport.
Also for Canada, Whistlers Lori Glazier finished in 11 th place, while Zurek was 15 th . Glazier currently sits ninth in the world, Zurek is 12 th and Dominique Vallee is 15 th .
First and third in the womens pipe went to French riders Alzina Cecile and Doriane Vidal.
In the mens halfpipe, no Canadians made the podium, but four riders made the top 20. Pembertons Mike Michalchuk was fifth, Brett Carpentier was sixth, Trevor Andrew 15 th and Daniel Migneault 18 th .
Guillaume Morisset is currently the top Canadian in the World Cup standings in fifth place. Migneault is sixth, Michalchuk is eighth, Andrew is 17 th , and Whistlers David Melancon is 18 th .
Team Canada will send four male snowboarders to the Salt Lake City halfpipe, with the men qualifying for all of their quota spots before the deadline. The FIS allowed 35 entries for the men, making snowboarding the only sport to allow more men than women into the Olympics.
It would appear that the controversy over the FISs management of World Cup and Olympic snowboarding continues, despite assurances otherwise.
Carpentier has already qualified for a spot on the team, and World Cup rankings as of this weekend will determine which three other Canadian riders will get to go that should mean Morisset, Michalchuk and Andrew.
The Alpe dHuez podium went to World Cup leader Heikki Sorsa of Finland. Halvor Lunn of Norway won silver, and Risto Mattila, another Finn, won bronze. Sorsa is currently on top of the World Cup rankings.