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Ricker takes X-Games snowboardcross

Gold in Colorado

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While the Olympics dominate the winter sports world every four years, in any other year the biggest event is the EXPN Winter X Games.

This year’s competition took place in Aspen, Colorado, and as usual featured a field of the top skiers and snowboarders from around the world – including some of the top Canadian competitors.

In the snowboardcross, with racers competing in heats of six athletes, Whistler’s Maëlle Ricker won the women’s event, beating five other girls in the final heat to claim the gold medal. Joanie Anderson of the U.S. was second, followed by Claudia Haeusermann and Sandra Frei of Switzerland, Marni Yamada of the U.S. and West Vancouver’s Erin Simmons.

In the men’s competition, Drew Neilson finished fifth for Canada, behind three of the top American riders and a member of the Swiss team. Nate Holland was first, Marco Huser of Switzerland second, Jayson Hale third and Seth Wescott fourth.

Vernon’s Tom Velisek didn’t make the finals but won the consolation round to finish seventh overall.

Canadians also took part in other events.

Natasza Zurek was sixth in the women’s slopestyle, followed by fellow Canadians Priscilla Levac and Marie-France Roy.

Whistler’s Mercedes Nicoll finished seventh in the women’s superpipe, facing a strong international field that included Kelly Clark of the U.S., Torah Bright of Australia and Soko Yamaoka of Japan.

Vernon’s T.J. Schiller won the skier "Best Trick" contest, followed by Quebec’s Charles Gagne.

Blair Morgan won the Snocross snowmobile race for the fifth time in the last nine years.

Sarah Burke, who hails from Ontario, lived in Whistler and trains in Mammoth, finished second in the women’s ski superpipe.

For more results and video from the competitions, visit www.expn.com.

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