Whistler halfpipe skier Simon d'Artois is entering the Christmas break with some brand-new hardware and threads after a recent trip to China.
The 26-year-old scored the victory in FIS World Cup action at the Secret Garden Ski Resort on Dec. 20, posting a 93.50 on his final run to best Nico Porteous of New Zealand (89.50) and Hunter Hess of the United States (85.50). It was an incredibly consistent final for d'Artois, who started with a 91.25 and progressed to an even 92 before landing his best run of all.
"I've been skiing consistently and I'm happy to have been able to put down three solid runs. I am really looking forward to the rest of the season," d'Artois said in a release.
After opening the season with a sixth-place finish in Copper Mountain, d'Artois is now the overall leader and currently has the yellow bib to prove it.
Fellow Canadians Brendan Mackay and Evan Marineau were fifth and 12th, respectively.
On the women's side, fresh off her Dew Tour win, Ontarian Rachael Karker put up a second-place finish behind only China's Kexin Zhang, who scored 87.75 to Karker's 85.75. Fanghui Li, also of China, was third.
"I am happy with how the event went. I took some pretty heavy falls in training and I was feeling a bit run down and exhausted from the past three weeks with all of the contests we have done and coming straight to China after Dew Tour. I am grateful to have been able to compete in the next Olympic venue pipe and able to stand on the podium here," Karker said in a release.
No Canadian snowboarders took part in either of the freestyle events held on Dec. 21. Switzerland's Jan Scherrer and China's Xuetong Cai won the men's and women's halfpipe competition, respectively, while Japan's Takero Otsuka and Miyabi Onitsuka won the men's and women's slopestyle, respectively.
Thompson Second in Innichen
In the second FIS World Cup race of the season, Whistler ski-cross star Marielle Thompson made the final but just missed the podium.
At the race in Innichen, Italy, Thompson placed fourth, with Switzerland's Fanny Smith taking her second consecutive win, sharing the podium with runner-up Sandra Naeslund of Sweden and third-place finisher Marielle Berger Sabbatel of France.
Abby McEwen and India Sherret made the small final, taking sixth and eighth, respectively, while Kelsey Serwa, Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnus Mikayla Martin, and Brittany Phelan ended up 12th, 16th and 17th, in order.
On the men's side, Brady Leman hit the podium, taking third, trailing only French brothers Jonathan and Bastien Midol, who took first and second, respectively.
"Racing here in Italy is always really tight. Every run is just a battle. There are places to pass the whole way down, and lots of guys are skiing really fast so it's important to be really clean," Leman said in a release. "It was a tough heat in the finals and I skied some of my best to get third."
Meanwhile, Chris Del Bosco took eighth, Kevin Drury was 10th and Reece Howden took 17th.
In the second World Cup of the weekend on Dec. 22, Thompson secured her second podium finish of the season, earning second place behind only Naeslund. Switzerland's Sanna Lueti, meanwhile, was third.
In the small final, Martin took a career-high sixth, while Serwa (10th), Sherret (11th), McEwen (14th) and Phelan (17th) rounded out the Canadian contingent.
As for the men, Reece Howden posted the top Canadian result, taking fifth ahead of Leman's sixth-place showing. Switzerland's Joos Berry earned the victory over Bastien and Jonathan Midol, in order. Drury took 16th while Zach Belczyk hit the top 30 in 27th.
Tommy top Canadian in Courchevel
Mikaela Tommy scored Canada's top result in Audi FIS World Cup women's giant slalom action in Courchevel, France, on Dec. 21, skiing to a 19th-place finish, 2.77 seconds back of winner Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States.
Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg and France's Tessa Worley rounded out the podium.
Tommy finished just ahead of teammate Valerie Grenier, who was 20th, and Marie-Michele Gagnon, who took 22nd.
In the Dec. 22 slalom, meanwhile, Erin Mielzynski cracked the top 10 with an eighth-place result, 2.06 seconds back of winner Shiffrin. Slovakia's Petra Vlhova and Sweden's Frida Hansdotter rounded out the podium. Roni Remme (17th), Laurence St-Germain (19th) and Amelia Smart (28th) all hit the top 30.
Earlier in the week, Canada's speed squad wrapped up a stop at Val Gardena/Groeden, Italy.
In the women's super-G on Dec. 19, Gagnon was the top Canadian in 15th, 0.83 seconds behind winner Ilka Stuhec of Slovakia. Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather and Austria's Nicole Schmidhofer took second and third, respectively.
Canada's men's team was in action at Saalbach-Hinterglimm, Austria, but no skiers completed two runs in either the giant slalom on Dec. 19 (won by Slovakia's Zan Kranjec) or the Dec. 20 slalom (won by Austria's Marcel Hirscher).
Seger brothers finish first, second in Panorama GS
Riley Seger got the best of his older brother in FIS giant slalom action at Panorama on Dec. 18.
Riley topped older brother Brodie by 0.18 seconds on a day where fellow Whistler Mountain Ski Club alums Asher Jordan, Cameron Alexander, Myles Kowalczyk and Kyle Alexander hit the top 30 in 12th, 24th, 28th and 30th, respectively.
The crew earned numerous other significant finishes over the course of the week.
Riley Seger took third in the Dec. 21 slalom and eighth in the Dec. 19 GS while Brodie was third in the Dec. 19 race, fourth in the Dec. 20 slalom and fifth in the Dec. 21 slalom. Jordan excelled in the slalom, taking second on Dec. 21 and third on Dec. 20 after a 10th-place showing in the GS on Dec. 19.
Cameron Alexander hit the top 10 with a seventh in the Dec. 21 slalom, after taking 17th on Dec. 20 and 22nd in the Dec. 19 GS, while Kyle Alexander steadily improved with a 25th in the Dec. 19 GS and 15th in the Dec. 20 slalom.
Kowalczyk, meanwhile, was 26th in the Dec. 19 GS, 12th in the Dec. 20 slalom and 22nd in the Dec. 21 slalom.
As well, Nathan Romanin took a 29th-place finish on Dec. 19 and 24th on Dec. 21, Konstantin Petkovic was 27th on Dec. 19, 22nd on Dec. 20 and 25th on Dec. 21, and Tait Jordan skied to a 23rd-place result on Dec. 20.
On the women's side, Ella Renzoni wrapped the week with two fifth-place finishes in the slalom after taking 13th in the Dec. 18 GS.
As well, Gigi Kranjc placed 23rd in the Dec. 20 slalom, while Julia Ross was 24th on Dec. 20 and 27th on Dec. 21. Maja Woolley, meanwhile, cracked the top 30 with a 28th-place showing on Dec. 20 and 30th-place result on Dec. 21. Gemma Bexton, meanwhile, placed 25th in the Dec. 19 GS and 27th in the Dec. 20 slalom.
Full results are available online at www.fis-ski.com.