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Whistler riders top B.C. snowboard series

Snowboard club in training for provincial championships

The Whistler Valley Snowboard Club made the most of home field advantage to win the lion’s share of medals in the Ripzone Provincial Snowboard Series event in Whistler last weekend.

Although the turnout was low – few riders from the Interior made the trip, and snowboarders from the Lower Mainland haven’t been turning up for competitions with three out of four hills closed – the conditions were picture perfect for the halfpipe on Saturday and slopestyle event on Sunday.

The halfpipe competition took place in the world championship pipe near Base II. Because of the warm temperatures, the course softened up considerably through the day, slowing down some riders while giving others more confidence. Only the best of two results would count.

In the overall FIS results, Dustin O’Ferrall of Vernon, a member of the B.C. Team, won the men’s event with a score of 23.5 on his first run. He was followed closely by Dave Schettini of Kamloops, another member of the B.C. Team, with a 22.4. Roberto DiBari of Whistler was third with a 21.5.

In the women’s contest the B.C. Team’s Helen Schettini of Kamloops made top marks, finishing first with a 25.2. Katie Tsuyuki of Squamish, also a member of the provincial team, was second with a 23.7. Third went to Whistler’s Lisa Mason with a 13.9.

In the age categories, Whistler’s Brin Alexander won the men’s 12 and Under category with a 12.9. Calvin Chamberlain of Courtenay was second with an 11.0, while Steve Kopyt of Maple Ridge was third with a 10.0. Both Alexander and Kopyt, along with fourth place finisher Cody Wilson, are members of the Whistler Valley Snowboard Club.

Jed Anderson of Calgary won the Men’s 13-14 group with a 21.1, followed by North Vancouver’s Tamo Campos, another WVSC member, with a 19.5. Campos might not have won, but he pulled out the biggest air of the day with a huge method about 12 feet out of the pipe. Russell Shanahan of Calgary was third.

In the 15-16 group, Hajime Takemura of the WVSC was first with a 23.4, followed by Kiwi Chris Hutchings with a 20.9.

The 17-18 category went to Dustin O’Ferrall, followed by his teammate Tom Smale, also of Vernon. Max Ritchie of Kewowna was third, edging out the WVSC’s Francois Ligeti.

The 19 and Over category went to Andrew Jackson of Whistler with a 24.3. Dave Schettini was second with a 22.4, and Roberto DiBari third with a 21.5.

In the Women’s 16 and under category, Lauren Shanahan took the top spot with a 13.9, while Megan Chamberlain of Kamloops was second with a 11.6.

Helen Schettini won the 19 and Over group, followed by Katie Tsuyuki and Whistler's Lisa Mason.

The Whistler riders did even better the next day in the slopestyle with locals winning every category except the men’s 19 and Over.

In the women’s slopestyle, Sarah Kopinya blew the competition away with a score of 34.3, just 0.6 points back of the top men’s score. Helen Schettini was second with a 30.2 and Lauren Shanahan third with a 24.2.

In the Men’s 12 and Under group the top three were Steve Kopyt, Brin Alexander and Brian Bowles of the WVSC with scores of 23.9, 22.4 and 22.0 respectively.

The WVSC also swept the podium in the Men’s 13-14 group. Jeremy Wallace was first with a 28.4, Tamo Capos second with a 27.9 and Tylor MacMillan third with a 27.2.

Vincent Ligeti won the Men’s 15-16 category with a 31.6, followed by teammate Hajime Takemura with a 30.9. Jon Versteeg was third with a 26.5.

Francois Ligeti brought the family’s second gold medal home. Dustin O’Ferrall was second, and Max Ritchie of Kelowna third.

In the Men’s 19 and Over group, Jed Anderson of Calgary was first with a 34.9. Matt Poynter was second with a 33.2 and Andrew Jackson third with a 32.4.

Whistler Valley Snowboard Club manager Rob Picard was impressed by his kids.

"Other than local contests we weren’t competing that much outside of Whistler, and I was amazed by how well we did," said Picard. "The kids got a lot of medals, especially in the slopestyle, and now we’re getting excited about the competitions we have coming up."

The B.C. Provincial Championships take place in two weeks at Big White. The next provincial series competition takes place this coming weekend at Big White as well, but only a few Whistler riders will be able to make the trip.

After that, "we’ll have to see where we sit for the nationals," Picard added. Some of the club’s coaches and older members are also hoping to qualify for spots in the World Snowboard Invitational at the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

Some of the top halfpipe athletes from Whistler have been taking advantage of the night pipe at Base II, as the club has been running camps every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for its members. "The turnout hasn’t been that big for the night pipe, but the kids who are coming are into it, and they’re the ones that did the best in the competition," said Picard.