Mike Riddle solidified his spot at the Olympics and Whistler's Simon d'Artois put together one of the best performances of his career during men's halfpipe ski competition at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships.
Riddle, who skis on the Whistler-based national halfpipe team, just missed the podium during the finals on Saturday, Dec. 14 from Breckenridge, Colo., finishing fourth but locking up his berth to the Sochi Games this February. Meanwhile, d'Artois finished seventh for the next-best Canadian result.
Riddle qualified in fourth position during qualifiers the day before and wound up in the same position once the finals concluded, which was enough to cement his status as an Olympian. The national team member needed just one top-12 finish in early-season events this winter to guarantee his spot, and he did just that by earning an 85.2 score from judges on his second run.
"I just wanted to lay down a safe run in order to solidify my place for Sochi," Riddle said in a release. "From here on, it's my Olympic run — which I think is a winner — and making sure it's dialed in."
The 21-year-old d'Artois was the first alternate for this year's Dew Tour stop and took full advantage of his place on the start list, making it out of the qualifier by finishing in the 16th and final spot. He sat in fourth place after the first of two finals runs with an 81.4, but fell back to seventh when he was unable to improve his score on a second trip down the pipe.
"This is a real confidence booster," said d'Artois. "Especially since it's the first competition of the season. I know there is still so much more in my run, starting with going bigger on my switch hit."
Calgary's Noah Bowman finished 10th and Whistler resident Justin Dorey placed 14th in Saturday's final. B.C. skier Matt Margetts finished 25th in the Friday qualifier.
No Canadian women qualified for the eight-skier women's final held Friday. National team members Megan Gunning and Rosalind Groenewoud placed ninth and 10th, respectively, in qualification. Groenewoud also needed just one top-12 finish to complete her Olympic qualification requirements, so she'll also be skiing in Sochi later this winter.
SHARPE WINS STREETSTYLE
Whistler's Darcy Sharpe was the undisputed champ in the Nike Snowboard Streetstyle competition from the Dew Tour event, taking down both the overall title and the Best Trick honours on Friday.
Sharpe pocketed $6,000 for winning both, beating out a field full of heavy hitters, including defending champ Eric Beauchemin, Haldor Helgason, Germund Bratten and Jamie Nichols.
"Streetstyle is cool," Sharpe said in a release. "I like to see people just hucking themselves. It's sick to have street competitions, it always shows the style involved in snowboarding."
Sharpe and 17 other riders took part in a 30-minute jam on the street course set up in downtown Breckenridge, which featured jib-able objects like cars and dumpsters and even a fire-pit gap to clear. Sharpe went with a frontside bluntslide on the dumpster with a 450 out to win Best Trick while also taking top spot on the judges' overall impression.
Sharpe will stay in Colorado for the coming weekend to compete in the World Cup slopestyle at Copper Mountain.
MCMORRIS LEADS CANADIANS ON PODIUM
Mark McMorris's snowboard slopestyle win on Sunday, Dec. 15 highlighted a dominating performance from the Canadian men at Breckenridge, as he defended his title from 2012 while sharing the podium with fellow Canuck and third-place finisher Maxence Parrot. Sébastien Toutant placed fourth, while Sweden's Sven Thorgren broke up a Canadian podium sweep by finishing second.
Canadians also captured silver medals in both the men's and women's ski slopestyle finals, with Alex Beaulieu-Marchand placing as the runner-up in men's competition and Kim Lamarre finishing second in the women's event.
Lamarre, who is no longer on the national team roster, was sandwiched on the podium by winner Devin Logan and fellow U.S. skier Maggie Voisin. Canada's Dara Howell finished sixth in the final, while Pemberton's Yuki Tsubota placed 13th in qualifying but did not advance to the eight-skier final.
American athlete Nick Goepper edged Beaulieu-Marchand for top spot in the men's final, while Australia's Russ Henshaw took bronze.