Canada's Sebastien Toutant tucked another big win into his belt on Friday, Mar. 9 with a slopestyle win at the 30th Burton US Open in Stratton, Vermont.
Like other riders Toutant struggled with the changing conditions and intermittent snow squalls, but came through in his third and final run to take the overall win and a cheque for $25,000.
"I've gotten second and third in the past but I've never won and winning here means so much," said Toutant. "It's one of the biggest events of the season. I had no idea I was in the running for the 2012 (Burton Global Open Series) and TTR Slopestyle titles as well, so that's a huge bonus for sure."
The Burton Global Open Series was worth another $25,000.
Toutant's run include a Cab Hardway 270 off the rail, a Cab Double Cork 1260 with a melon grab, a Frontside Double Cork 1080 with a mute grab, a Frontside Wallride with a 270 out and a 50-50 slide to a backside rodeo. The video is on YouTube under "TTR Tricks — Sebastient Toutant winning run at TTR Burton US Open 2012."
Toutant was followed by Ulrik Badertscher of Norway and Seppe Smits of Belgium, while other Canadians were Maxence Parrot 10th, Robby Balharry 12th and Antoine Truchon 15th.
Jamie Anderson of the U.S. won the women's slopestyle, followed by Kjersti Oestgaard Buass of Norway and Enni Rukajarvi of Finland. Canada's Spencer O'Brien was eighth.
In halfpipe it was an all-American contest with Shaun White first, Louie Vito second and Benji Farrow third in the men's contest and Elena Hight first, Kelly Clark second and Ellery Hollingsworth third for the women. No Canadians were in the final for either event.
Telus/AFP halfpipe cancelled
Heavy snow over the weekend forced the cancellation of the final Telus Park Rider Sessions of the season on Sunday, Mar. 11. No word yet on whether the event — which was sanctioned as a Bronze level competition by the Association of Freeskiing Professionals — will be rescheduled for a later date.
Longboard festival details announced... now with biathlon
The Whistler Longboard Festival, July 12 to 15, is going to be a much bigger deal this year with additional events planned, including a five-kilometre distance event at Whistler Olympic Park that will be open to amateurs and recreational riders and a junior category in the very intense downhill competition at Whistler Sliding Centre.
A beer garden has been confirmed for the downhill, hosted by the Gibbons Hospitality Group.
A new "Skate and Shoot" biathlon event has also been confirmed for Whistler Olympic Park on July 12 with a 20km course, which is exactly what it sounds like. As well, that morning the organizers are looking to host a full Longboard Marathon race with a 40km course for long distance pushers.
The other big news is the involvement of Unkle as a title sponsor. They are putting up $10,000 in prize money for the Whistler Longboard Festival from July 12 to 15. Visit www.whistlerlongboard.com.
Luge on-snow event on Saturday
Before the days of refrigerated concrete tracks, luge was an on-snow event, with courses sculpted out of the frozen ground. There still is a purist streak in the sport and the International Luge Federation (FIL) even runs a separate tour for "natural" luge events.
On Saturday, Mar. 17, BC Luge is hosting a special on-snow luge event at Whistler Olympic Park, letting members of the public pilot special sleds down a hand-made course.
All you need to participate is a helmet, goggles and good gloves, and all other equipment will be provided including a luge-style sled for some serious tobogganing. The cost is just $15 per person, running 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more, visit www.bcluge.com.
For the record
In last week's Pique we said halfpipe athlete Mercedes Nicoll was 29 when in fact she's still 28 — our apologies for the error.