Although he didnt win any medals in the halfpipe at last years Ripzone Invitational, part of the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival, it became abundantly clear that Whistlers Crispin Lipscomb deserved to be counted among the best snowboarders in the world.
This season the 23-year-old Whistler resident was invited to join the Canadian Snowboard Federation as a member of the national development team.
With injuries plaguing the mens national team, Lipscomb and other development team members have been representing Canada at World Cup contests.
Lipscomb has been improving steadily in recent weeks, finishing 13 th and sixth in back-to-back halfpipe events in Japan at the beginning of March. Last weekend he finally broke through the ranks to win his first World Cup medal at Serre Chevalier, France.
Lipscomb scored a 37.4, which was good enough to finish third behind Xaver Hoffmann of Germany (39.5) and Gary Zebrowski of France (39.4).
"Im so excited, this is the biggest thing thats ever happened to me," said Lipscomb. "I had set these goals in the back of my mind, but now that its really happening, its changed my whole perspective on what I can do."
Last season Lipscomb was the head coach for the B.C. snowboard team, and he coaches the New Zealand junior national team in the off-season. He has coached for the better part of six seasons, and has competed mainly at the NorAm level.
"I never really pursued a career as a competitor seriously until this season," he said. "Our coach (Whistlers Tom Hutchinson) really convinced me to come back this season. It was a hard decision because I was having success with my coaching. Its hard to walk away from that. But now I plan to compete at the Olympics."
Following his bronze medal performance, Lipscomb is currently ranked ninth on the World Cup circuit, earning a berth at the World Cup finals at Arosa, Switzerland this weekend.
In the womens halfpipe, Whistlers Mercedes Nicoll finished 13 th . The gold went to Nicola Pederzolli of Austria, followed by Sophie Rodriguez of France and Paulina Ligocka of Poland.
Nicoll, who is just 19-years-old, won a bronze medal at home in Whistler this year, and is ranked 17 th overall in the halfpipe.