By Maëlle Ricker
The Canadian Snowboard Team brought in five medals and 12 top-10 finishes at the world championships.
It could not have come at a better time either, as more government funding was announced for Canadian amateur sports hopefully for snowboarding as well.
Jasey-Jay Anderson grabbed a second gold medal in parallel slalom in the craziest weather conditions of the week. A bunch of the Canadian team members, including athletes and support staff, stood at the bottom of the slalom course soaked to the bone and cheered him on all the way through the finals. A little rain wasnt going to bother us! And it certainly didnt bother Jasey-Jay.
The weather didnt affect Justin Lamoureux either. Yep, more rain fell on Saturday for the halfpipe event.
Its not much fun for spectators, but halfpipe is fun to ride in the rain. In fact, I love riding in the rain. The snow becomes slick, fast, and forgiving.
Justin enjoys the rainy weather as much as I do, but thats not surprising, hell snowboard in any weather conditions.
Thousands of spectators came out to watch the night pipe finals. I was one of them. After a mediocre qualifying attempt earlier that day, I accepted my 12 th place finish, put on my raincoat, and headed back to the hill.
The guys put on a great show. Crispin Lipscomb had a sweet second run but fell on his last hit. Justin also fell on the last hit of his second run, but had a phenomenal first run that earned him a silver medal.
Finlands Antti Autti stole the show Saturday night. Not only did he win the Big Air the day before the pipe showdown, Antti was also crowned World Halfpipe Champion just a couple of points ahead of Lamoureux.
The night didnt end at Base Two. Everyone changed into their party getups and headed to the conference centre. K-OS put on an amazing show that sold out long before I even had a chance to buy some extra tickets for my friends. It was the perfect way to end the world championships.
The infamous X-Games was held this past weekend in Aspen, Colorado. A select few lucky Canadians got an invite to throw down at the big show. I was actually riding the Blackcomb halfpipe when I got the call to come down for the boardercross event.
With less than 24 hours to make it to qualifying and a ridiculously expensive airplane ticket, I decided to stay in Whistler and ride. Looking back on my decision, I think I should have pulled out my trusty Visa card and made the trek. Getting invited to the X-Games doesnt happen every day.
Erin Simmons and Dominique Maltais were already down there and ready to rock. Erin did just that. She took on world champ, Lindsay Jacobellis, on a boardercross course with huge airs and fast lines. Unfortunately Lindsay squeezed Erin out of the gold medal spot with less than 10 feet to go on the course.
Rob Fagan of Cranbrook competed in the mens boardercross field. He qualified third in time trials, but couldnt manage in finals and ended up outside the top 12.
Mercedes Nicoll was 10 th in the halfpipe at the worlds and 10 th again in the X-Games superpipe. She had a tall order to fill competing against X-Games champ Gretchen Bleiler, three-time world champ Dorian Vidal, and Olympic gold medallist Kelly Clark.
The racers are back in Europe on the World Cup tour. I am at Mt. Avilla in Quebec training in an icy pipe. The weather is beautiful and the coaching is great so I really cant complain about a halfpipe so frozen you can see fossilized cavemen stuck into the blue ice walls.
Dominique Vallee, Hugo Lemay, and I are training with Anne Marie Gauthier and Joel Boylan. We are desperately getting ready for the Olympic test event in Italy next weekend.
Anne Marie and Joel arent on the Senior National Team yet, but they are part of a brand new development program called Project 2010. Project 2010 is a group of up and coming riders across Canada who have been selected by the Canadian Snowboard Federation to be medal hopefuls at the Vancouver Olympics. This is a huge step in the right direction for competitive snowboarding in Canada.
Just to qualify at the last two Olympics, riders were madly scrambling to collect enough points at the World Cups the year prior to the Games. Hopefully all the new structuring in place will allow snowboarders to focus on progressing and medalling instead of barely qualifying and participating.
This years World Cup results weigh heavily in the qualification process for the Torino Olympics next year.
Travelling in the next couple of months will be very exciting with two new stops on the World Cup tour. Korea is holding a halfpipe and PGS in the middle of February. Spain is hosting a snowboardcross and PGS in the middle of March.
Bring on the jet lag, were ready for it!