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Ski cross team sweeps podium at X Games

Vernon’s TJ Schiller lands 1620 spin

For years the X Games have been portrayed as the extreme Olympics, embracing sports that Olympic organizers won't even consider.

There is some overlap, however, like the ski and snowboard halfpipe competitions and ski and snowboard cross competitions.

The Canadians put on an astonishing performance at his year's ESPN Winter X Games 14 in Aspen, especially in the sport of ski cross. On the men's side three Canadians swept the podium, with Chris Del Bosco in front, followed by Dave Duncan and Brady Leman. Whistler's Davey Barr also made the final six (six racers per heat at X Games versus four per heat in FIS) and finished fifth. Stanley Hayer was bumped out of the final in the semi-final run, but came back to win the small final and place seventh for Canada. That's five athletes in the top seven.

"I am having fun with what I'm doing and that allows me to ski loose and relaxed," said Del Bosco of his performance, and second consecutive win. "Everything is clicking at the right time and it feels good."

On the women's side Canada placed three skiers in the top six with Whistler's Ashleigh McIvor second, Kelsey Serwa third and Aleisha Cline fifth. Danielle Poleschuk won the small final to place seventh.

McIvor was actually leading through most of the finals, but made a small error on a jump on the lower part of the course to open the door for World Cup leader Ophelie David of France.

"This was an awesome course, built with big features and great takeoffs and landings similar to what we'll see in Cypress," said McIvor. "I've got some serious confidence right now and I feel like I'm skiing better than I ever have.

"It's good to know that I'm competitive out of the start with the top women in the sport. Sure, I was a little disappointed I wasn't able to hold the lead in the final but if it's going to happen then let it be one of the best competitors in ski cross."

Overall, Canadians claimed five of six medals and accounted for nine of the top 14 men and women in the race. It wasn't a lightweight field either, with the top athletes in the world using the event to tune up for the Olympics.

Other notable results at X-Games include:

Vernon's Justin Dorey placed second in the superpipe High Air competition, boosting an astonishing 23 and three quarter feet out of the pipe. Mike Riddle was fourth with just over 23 feet.

No Canadians made the final in the snowboard cross competition, but Drew Neilson placed a solid eighth.

In the ski big air event, Vernon's T.J. Schiller placed second to American skier Bobby Brown, but made history as only the second skier to land a 1620 spin - that's four and a half spins, taking off backwards and landing forwards.