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Zurek takes second silver in a row

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Whistler’s Lipscomb posts career best finish; Anderson wins bronze

Vancouver’s Natasza Zurek re-established her position as one of the top snowboarders in the world last weekend with back-to-back silver medals in a World Cup halfpipe contests in Sapporo Makomanai, Japan.

Zurek, 24, won her first silver on Saturday, March 1, with a score of 36.4 – 1.4 points back of Lesley McKenna of Great Britain, and more than two points ahead of Lara Manuela Pesko of Switzerland in third.

Although Zurek is no stranger to World Cup podiums, this was her first appearance in an FIS contest since the 2002 Olympics last February.

While only the top six women get to compete in the final, her teammates also netted some strong results.

Vancouver’s Maëlle Ricker, who is on the comeback trail this season after undergoing knee surgery, finished 10 th . Whistler’s Dominique Vallee was 17 th .

In the next halfpipe on March 3, Zurek was once again in top form, breezing through the qualifiers and into the finals, which turned into a North American sweep. Although Hannah Teter of the U.S. was untouchable with a score of 43.2, Zurek managed to win the silver with a 38.1, 0.6 points ahead of Teter’s teammate Tricia Byrnes.

"Natasza augmented the difficulty in her routine to try and get the gold, but everyone else in the final did much better today as well," said Canadian coach Tom Hutchinson.

Ricker finished the second day in 16 th , and Vallee was 18 th .

As for the men’s team, day one of the competition went to Magnus Sterner of Sweden, followed by Tommy Czeschin of the U.S. and Domu Narita of Japan.

The top Canadian was Whistler’s Crispin Lipscomb in 13 th place. Neil Connolly and Justin Lamoureux were 26 th and 30 th respectively.

In the second halfpipe, Lipscomb moved up seven positions to finish in sixth overall – a career-best for the national team rookie.

Lamoureux also improved, jumping in 11 th place and just missing a berth in the finals. Connolly was 26 th .

In the parallel giant slalom, Aimee Newton of Calgary, 23, finished in sixth place – a career best for her, and one of the team’s overall top results in a women’s alpine snowboarding competition.

Whistler’s Alexa Loo finished 20 th .

The gold went to Sara Fischer of Sweden over Heidi Renoth of Germany. In the small final, Heidi Krings of Austria edged out Aprilia Hagglof of Sweden.

In the men’s PGS, reigning world champion Jasey-Jay Anderson of Mont Tremblant, Quebec, landed his seventh podium of the season, finishing third after pulling ahead of Markus Ebner of Germany in the small final.

With only weeks remaining in the season, Anderson currently sits on top of the overall World Cup snowboarding points standing with 806, and is seeded seventh in PGS and second in snowboardcross. Ebner is a distant second with 601.

If Anderson can hold on, he will be crowned as the overall World Cup champion for an unprecedented third year in a row.

The PGS gold medal went to Mathieu Bozzetto of France, followed by Dejan Kosir of Slovenia.

The women’s parallel slalom final went to Doresia Krings of Austria, who nudged out teammate Manuela Riegler to claim the gold. Marion Posch beat out her Italian teammate Lidia Trettel in the small final.

Aimee Newton was the top Canadian in 24 th . Whistler’s Alexa Loo was 28 th .

In the men’s parallel slalom, Bozzetto once again took the gold medal. Daniel Biveson of Sweden was second, and Felix Stadler of Austria edged out Andre Gruetter of Switzerland to win bronze in the small final.

Anderson finished in ninth spot.

World Cup snowboarding continues this weekend with a halfpipe, PGS and parallel slalom at Serre Chevalier, France.

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