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Steepest GS on earth gets harder

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Torn wins fourth Couloir Extreme

It was a slightly different course that awaited competitors in the Kokanee Couloir Extreme March 31, with low snow forcing organizers to shift the lower part of the course from Blowdown to Jersey Cream. The new course was slightly longer than the original, measuring more than 750 metres long with the same vertical drop of 695 metres.

About four centimetres of new snow fell the night before and racers had to contend with changing weather conditions and visibility that differed from run to run. Nevertheless, 117 out of 119 competitors managed to cross the finish line.

In the Male Pro category, 32 year old Roman Torn won the race and $1,500 after crossing the line of the challenging and tiring course in two minutes 14.80 seconds – more than 15 seconds shy of the record time of 1:59.60 he set the year before. Torn, an eight year veteran of the national ski team and a World Cup calibre downhiller, has won four Couloir races in total.

Mark Anderson won the silver and $900 with a time of 2:15.58 and Dana Williams, 25, finished a hundredth of a second back at 2:15.59 to win $600. Paul Boskovich was fourth at 2:16.75, winning $300, and Chris Kent claimed fifth and $200 at 2:18.27.

The female Pro race went to Corinne Kuhn with a 2:22.67 that was good enough for $1,000 in prize money. Kim McKnight, the reigning champion, finished in second place with a time of 2:25.65 and $500. Monica Meier was third at 2:29.04 and walked away with $250.

In the Snowboard Pro race, Ian Hadgkiss defeated defending champion and five-time Couloir winner Darren Chalmers by almost two seconds – 2:41.44 to Chalmers 2.43.63. Hadgkiss carted away $1,000 for his efforts, Chalmers $500, and third place finisher Greg Salmon, won $250 for his time of 2:55.62.

In the Telemark Open category, Mark Blyth startled everybody with a blistering time of 2:43.56. Last year’s champion Rob Neaga finished second in 3:11.70, and James Shaw was third in 3:36.93.

The top female 40-plus, with a repeat performance of the previous year, was Robyn Allan with a time of 3:29.59. She was followed by Magaly Bianchini (4:17.96) and Lucyle Dufour (4:49.24). The top 30 to 39 racer was Kana Okazaki (2:59.18), followed by Beatrice Menard (3:08.86) and Shauna Hardy (3:34.76). Christina Heisterman (3:07.59) was the top 19 to 29 racer, followed by Chrissy Jackson (3:44.61) and Adriana Silvestre (4:06.55)

The male 50-plus race went to Lou Fenniger (3:01.05), followed by Harvey Blackmore (3:07.12) and Joe Neal (3:36.78). In the 40 to 49 race, Dave Johnston took the top honours in 2:30.91. He was trailed by Nick Koppert (2:49.09) and Charles Hampson (2:51.18).

The 30 to 35 race went to reigning champion Tom Jackson with a time of 2:40.12. Drew Maxwell finished second with 3:02.05, and Barry Glynn was close behind at 3:02.29.

Jay Roberts (2.53.00) won the 30 to 34 division, followed by Scott Thompson (3:03.79) and Tim Verbanec (3:04.90).

In the 25 to 29, local Chad Hendren edged past Oliver Reuter 2:37.52 to 2:37.83. Christian Waser of Switzerland was third at 2:46.72.

Philipp Von Holzen, another Swiss visitor, who crossed the line in 2:30.25 to win the 19 to 24 race and post the 12 th fastest time overall. He was followed by Bobby Beaton (2:36.66) and Charles Fink (2:42.36) who skied with a broken foot.

The oldest competitors – 60 years old– were Lloyd Henderson, who finished 16 th in the pro class, and Alain Pacquet, who finished fourth in the 50-plus category.

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