Overall it was a disappointing weekend for Canadians taking part in the ESPN Winter X Games, with a few notable exceptions — Stanley Hayer in ski cross, Sarah Burke in Superpipe, Charles Gagnier in skier big air, and Spencer O’Brien in slopestyle.
In the Men’s Ski SuperPipe Final, Mike Riddle and Matt Hayward were the only Canadians to make the final, placing sixth and ninth respectively. Jossi Wells, a New Zealander who lives and trains in Whistler, was fifth.
In the Women’s Ski SuperPipe Final, Whistler skier Sarah Burke made up for a terrible first run with a solid second run that earned a score more than 10 points higher than Swiss skier Mirjam Jaeger, and Utah’s Jen Hudak. Burke earned the gold with a run that included a 900 spin up top, an alley-oop 540 and grab, and a big 720 at the bottom.
In Women’s Snowboard Superpipe, Whistler’s Mercedes Nicoll placed 10 th in the qualifier, with only the top-six athletes moving on. The win went to Gretchen Bleiler of the U.S., followed by Australia’s Torah Bright. Kelly Clark of the U.S. was third.
In men’s Superpipe no Canadians made the top-10 in the qualifier. The win went to Shaun White of the U.S., followed by Ryoh Aono of Japan, and Kevin Pearce of the U.S.
In the Skier Big Air, Quebec’s Charles Gagnier finished second to Sweden’s Jon Olsson.
Whistler’s Spencer O’Brien was third in the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle event, with Marie-France Roy and Leanne Pelosi placing fifth and 10 th respectively. The win went to Vermont’s Jamie Anderson, followed by Claudia Fliri of Austria.
In men’s Snowboarder Cross — which differs from World Cup events with six riders in the gate instead of four — the top Canadian was Whistler’s Derek Wintermans in sixth place. Nate Holland took the win.
On the women’s side, American rider Lindsay Jacobellis overcame her X Games curse to win the gold medal. Canada’s Dominique Maltais was fourth.
Whistler’s Maëlle Ricker, third in last year’s X-Games, was eliminated with a fall in the time trial — the second time that’s happened in recent weeks.
In the men’s ski slopestyle event, Jossi Wells placed second, while Charles Gagnier and J.F. Houle were fifth and sixth. Andreas Hatveit of Norway took the win.
In men’s ski cross, Canada’s Stanley Hayer placed second to World Cup racer Daron Rahlves, while Casey Puckett of the U.S. placed third. Chris Del Bosco and Davey Barr both made the semi-finals, but did not advance to the final round.
No Canadians made it to the women’s finals, with Julia Murray and Anik Demers-Wild being eliminated in the semi-final race.