Just days before her 17 th birthday, Whistler snowboarder Sarah Kopinya took the bronze halfpipe medal at the FIS Junior World Championships in Prato Nevoso, Italy.
A member of the national development team, Kopinya was already having a breakthrough season. On the World Cup circuit, she has two top-10 results to her credit with strong performances at Whistler and Stoneham. She was sixth in the national championships at Tremblant. She earned a bronze medal in a FIS event at Sun Peaks, and another bronze in a recent Nor-Am Cup at Mont Ste Anne while competing with an injured shoulder.
Now the Whistler Valley Snowboard Club alumnus has established herself as one of the top up-and-coming riders in the world. Stacked against the top riders coming out of the U.S., and the strength of the European programs, a bronze medal makes a statement.
"The calibre of the riders in this competition was a step up from previous years and the pipe itself was near perfection," observed Joe McAdoo, the head coach of the national development team and the National Snowboard Training Centre. "The Junior World Championships is the best place to gauge our programs against the world and once again we are on the podium."
Kopinya and the other members of the development team are back in Canada for the last two stops in the Honda Element Nor Am Cup, with events in Calgary from Feb. 22 to 23, and at Big White Ski Resort from Feb. 28 to March 2.