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Snow, wind play havoc with slopestyle

Gusting winds, low visibility, keep numbers down

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By Andrew Mitchell

Close to 30 centimetres of snow and a gusting cross-wind played havoc in Sunday’s slopestyle event, the second Whistler-Blackcomb Park Rider Session contest of the season.

Not only did the snow keep the numbers down to around 40 riders and skiers, the combination of snow and wind resulted in icy patches, deep drifts, and sometimes limited visibility. Athletes were blown sideways while airing over the tables, and stayed low to avoid being knocked off the rails by the winds. Still, the riding was nothing short of impressive.

In the Snowboard Open 13 and Under category, Brin Alexander took his second win of the season with a run that included the rainbow, a corked 720, a boardslide of the up-box, and a spinning slide on the new up-down-up box. Max Ripper was a close second, battling some of the strongest gusts of the day, while Zach Astle took third.

In the Ski Open 13 and Under group Jaewoo Choi took the win, followed by Max Horner and Daniel Marantz. Yuki Tsubota was the only skier in the Under 13 group, but took a few risks with her run anyway.

In Snowboard Girls 16 and under, Samatha Baron placed first followed by Ali Tracey.

Brennan Kurchak won Boys 14 to 16, followed by Brian Bowles and Jess Ballhousen.

Simon D’Artois won Ski Boys 14 to 16, followed by Jaques Mortimore and Connor Warnock.

Jon Gocer finished on top of Male Snowboard 17 and Over category, with Jimmy Takemura placing second and Renji Veno in third.

Christie Cunningworth won Female Snowboard 17 and Over uncontested.

Reed Lewis finished on top of the Male Ski 17 and Over category, which was probably the hardest to judge with riders taking off and landing switch, spinning on boxes, and generally putting on a show. Patrick Duvale and Leigh Rowis were second and third.

The next event on the calendar is the recreational Atomic Ski and Snowboardcross, scheduled for Jan. 20-21. The first day is a mandatory training and qualification day, with heats taking place the next day according to seeding. Helmets, mouthguards and armor are recommended, and skiers and snowboarders of all ages can take part.

The cost is $30 to register in advance at Whistler-Blackcomb Guest Relations, and day of race registration is $35 at the Rendezvous Lodge from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. Advance registration is recommended, as there are a limited number of entries for each age group.

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