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Sharpe snags third win of the season

Sports briefs: Spring earns bronze in Switzerland

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After two victories early on in the 2017-18 season, Cassie Sharpe let it be known she fully intended to go to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.

After a third at Snowmass, Colo. on Jan. 12, it might be hard to argue the halfpipe skier isn't the frontrunner.

The 25-year-old was the lone competitor to crack the 90-point barrier, scoring a 93.2 to defeat American Brita Sigourney by four points and Japan's Ayana Onozuka by 6.2 points.

"I have been really committed to training and my mental state has been really good. I still get really nervous coming into contest but I came up with my own little mantra – 'do what you have already done.' So when I come into a final or a qualifier, I remind myself that I have already done all of these things and I just have to put them together the way that I know that I can," Sharpe said in a release.

Other Canadians finished well back as Rachael Karker took 10th, Keltie Hansen 20th and Megan Warrener 23rd.

On the men's side, Noah Bowman and Mike Riddle were just off the podium in fourth and fifth, respectively, while Whistler's Simon d'Artois was 11th and Brendan Mackay took 37th.

In slopestyle action, the best Canada could do was seventh as Alex Bellemare hit that benchmark on the men's side while Kim Lamarre did the same on the women's side.

Bellemare was 9.2 points off the pace set by Switzerland's Andri Ragettli, who won the event with an even 95, edging Norwegians Ferdinand Dahl and Oystein Braaten. Whistler's Teal Harle placed 15th while Noah Morrison and Philippe Langevin finished in the points in 19th and 25th, respectively.

Lamarre, meanwhile, saw Norway's Johanne Killi share the women's podium with American Maggie Voisin and Great Britain's Isabel Atkin. Whistler's Yuki Tsubota was 11th while Elena Gaskell placed 12th. Other Canadians in the points were Anouk Purnell-Faniel in 17th, Whistler's Sofia Tchernetsky in 19th and Nikki Blackall in 23rd.

In other freestyle news, Canadian moguls legend Mikael Kingsbury ran his winning streak to 13 after topping the podium twice in Deer Valley, Utah while also setting the all-time record for wins with 48.

In the Jan. 10 event, he knocked off Japan's Sho Endo and U.S.A.'s Bradley Wilson while on Jan. 11, he downed Kazakhstan's Dmitriy Reikhard and Australia's Matt Graham.

On the women's side, Penticton's Andi Naude made the top 10 twice with a sixth-place on Jan. 10 and fifth place on Jan. 11. In the latter, she was joined by Justine Dufour-Lapointe in eighth and Audrey Robichaud in 10th.

Spring takes third in Switzerland

Chris Spring and Co. came through on one of the world's toughest tracks on the weekend, conquering the St. Moritz gauntlet en route to IBSF BMW World Cup bronze on Jan. 14.

Spring earned his second podium finish in the four-man bobsleigh event this season, teaming up with Lascelles Brown, Bryan Barrett and Neville Wright to pop into the medals, finishing behind a pair of German sleds. Johannes Lochner's crew took the win, besting Francesco Friedrich's team by 0.14 seconds while Spring's vessel was 0.53 seconds off the pace.

"I have always had a good feeling on the track here, and I feel like I've been unlucky not to podium before so I'm happy to have medalled today on such a historic track," Spring said in a release. "It's special here every year. The mountains have this feeling for me of being just like Whistler, so I feel a bit at home here."

The other two Canadian sleds were well back as the Justin Kripps-helmed sled was 16th and Nick Poloniato's was 22nd.

In the two-man event, Kripps and Jesse Lumsden were just off the podium in fourth after a German medal rush with Nico Walther and Christian Poser taking gold, Friedrich and Thorsten Margis second, and Lochner and Christopher Weber in third.

Spring and Wright were seventh while Poloniato and Brown tied for eighth.

On the women's side, Alyssia Rissling and Heather Moyse were the top Canadians in fourth, placing 0.80 seconds back of Americans Elana Meyers Taylor and Lolo Jones, who took the win. Germans took the other two steps as Mariama Jamanka and Annika Drazek took second while Stephanie Schneider and Lisa Buckwitz took third.

Canadians also found medals on the skeleton as Elisabeth Vathje slid to third behind winner Janine Flock of Austria and Tina Hermann of Germany. Fellow Canadian Mirela Rahneva took fourth while North Vancouver's Jane Channell was 14th.

On the men's side, South Korea's Sungbin Yun won for the fifth time in seven outings, besting Germany's Axel Jungk and Latvia's Martins Dukurs. Canada's Kevin Boyer was the only Canuck to qualify for a second run, eventually taking 18th.

Sherret hits first World Cup podium

Ski-cross racer India Sherret took home her first World Cup hardware on Jan. 13.

The 21-year-old finished behind only Sweden's Sandra Naeslund and France's Marielle Berger Sabbatel at the race in Idre Fjall, Sweden. It was nearly an all-Canadian small final as Brittany Phelan, Kelsey Serwa and Georgia Simmerling took fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.The next day, Simmerling was the top Canadian in fourth while Serwa jumped to fifth, while Phelan and Sherret were seventh and 11th. Naeslund won again, besting Switzerland's Fanny Smith and Germany's Heidi Zacher.

As for the men, Brady Leman was the lone Canadian to make the top 10 on Jan. 13, placing 10th as Swiss racer Alex Fiva scored the win over countryman Marc Bischofberger and France's Jean Frederic Chapuis. Ian Deans was 14th while Kevin Drury and Whistler's Dave Duncan were in the points in 25th and 26th, respectively.

The next day, Chris Del Bosco was the top Canuck in eighth while Chapuis topped the podium over Fiva and France's Jonas Devouassoux. Leman snagged 13th while Deans and Duncan were back to back in 17th and 18th. Drury was 28th.

Gough top Canadian at Oberhof

Alex Gough put up the best Canadian effort at the FIL Viessmann World Cup race in Oberhof, Germany on the weekend.

Gough took seventh as Germany dominated the podium with Dajana Eitberger, Natalie Geisenberger and Tatjana Huefner pulling the sweep. Meanwhile, Kim McRae took 10th and Brooke Apshkrum was 20th.

In the men's race, Sam Edney took 18th while Whistler's Reid Watts was 25th and Mitchel Malyk was 29th. German Felix Loch scored the win while besting Russia's Semen Pavlichenko and countryman Andi Langerhan.

In doubles action, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith were 12th while Germans were again in the medal conversation with Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken taking the win and Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arit placing second. Austria's Peter Penz and Georg Fischer, meanwhile, took third.

Winterstoke returns for fourth year

Those looking to boost their backcountry knowledge can check out the fourth annual Winterstoke Festival this weekend.

Clinics ranging from glacier travel and advanced companion rescue to steep skiing and backcountry videography are planned from Friday, Jan. 19 to Sunday, Jan. 21. The festival helps support the Howe Sound Secondary Leadership School.

Some clinics were already sold out at press time. Visit www.winterstokefest.com to register or to get more information.

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