Karker, Sharpe finish 1-2 at Dew Tour 

Sports briefs: Thomsen hits top 10; Watts 22nd at Lake Placid

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JAMIE WALTER - Maple leaf forever Cassie Sharpe (left) and Rachael Karker celebrate their podium finishes in the women's modified superpipe at the Dew Tour on Dec. 14.
  • Photo by Jamie Walter
  • Maple leaf forever Cassie Sharpe (left) and Rachael Karker celebrate their podium finishes in the women's modified superpipe at the Dew Tour on Dec. 14.

Whistler resident Cassie Sharpe was the second-best Canadian in Dew Tour modified superpipe action in Breckenridge, Colo. on Dec. 14.

But she was also the second-best skier overall, placing behind only Ontario's Rachael Karker, who posted an 87.33 in her final attempt to earn the victory. Sharpe, similarly, also did her best on her third time through the halfpipe and slopestyle mash-up, posting an 84.67 to secure second. Devin Logan was a distant third with a score of 71.00.

"I told myself to go with what I know, go back to my basic stuff and I'm happy that it worked," Sharpe said in a release.

Karker, meanwhile, was pleased with her performance against a field that had numerous excellent challengers in her first-ever Dew Tour appearance.

"I didn't really have any expectations today, I just wanted to do well. It took me awhile to get used to this modified pipe and I'm happy to have been able to do two runs like those," Karker said in the release.

Canadians also starred on the slopestyle course, with Evan McEachran's 187.34 score edging out American Alex Hall's 184.00 and Swede Henrik Harlaut's 181.67. In an event that highlighted both jump and jib elements, McEachran excelled in both, highlighted by a 94.67 tally in the jib portion.

"Before the competition I thought I would score better in jumps rather than jib, but I guess they liked my choice of line," he said in a release.

Alex Beaulieu-Marchand took fourth and Whistler resident Teal Harle ended up ninth.

In the women's slopestyle event, Canadian Elena Gaskell was sixth, while in the men's modified superpipe, Whistler's Simon d'Artois ended up seventh.

Canadian snowboarders didn't fare quite as well. Spencer O'Brien earned a fifth-place finish in the women's slopestyle, while Whistler resident Darcy Sharpe ended up as the top Canuck in the men's event, placing sixth. Mikey Ciccarelli (seventh), Tyler Nicholson (ninth) and Sebastian Toutant (10th) also competed.

Whistler snowboarder John Leslie, meanwhile, placed seventh in the adaptive banked slalom event.

Thomsen hits top 10

Canadian Ben Thomsen led Canada's charge in Audi FIS World Cup action at Val Gardena/Groeden on Dec. 15.

The 31-year-old tied for 10th in the men's downhill, placing 1.31 seconds behind champion Aleksaner Aamodt Kilde of Norway. Austria's Max Franz and Switzerland's Beat Feuz were second and third, respectively.

In the Dec. 14 super-G, Thomsen was 21st, 1.43 seconds off the pace set by champion Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, while Italy's Christof Innerhofer was second and Norway's Kjetil Jansrud ended up third. Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnus James Crawford finished 48th while Dustin Cook took 56th.

In technical action, Trevor Philp led the Canadian crew at Alta Badia, Italy with a 19th-place finish in the giant slalom on Dec. 16, placing 4.16 seconds behind winner Marcel Hirscher of Austria. A pair of Frenchmen, Thomas Fanara and Alexis Pinturault, were second and third, respectively.

No Canadians made the parallel giant slalom final the next day, which Hirscher also won, with France's Thibaut Favrot and Pinturault rounding out the podium.

Meanwhile, the women were in action in Val Gardena/Groeden starting on Dec. 18 after the races were relocated from Val d'Isere, France. Roni Remme was the top Canadian in the downhill after taking 26th, 1.78 seconds behind champion Ilka Stuhec of Slovakia. Italy's Nicol Delago and Austria's Ramona Siebenhofer were second and third, respectively. Valerie Grenier was the only other Canadian, taking 31st.

Watts 22nd at Lake Placid

Whistler's Reid Watts again led Canada's men's charge at the Viessmann Luge World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y. on Dec. 15.

The lone Canadian to make the final, Watts ended up 22nd, 1.432 seconds behind the winning pace set by Russia's Roman Repilov. Germany's Johannes Ludwig and Austria's Reinhard Egger hit the podium in second and third, respectively.

On the women's side, Kim McRae scored a seventh-place finish, finding herself 0.441 seconds behind Germany's Dajana Eitberger, who emerged victorious as part of a German sweep. Natalie Geisenberger ended up second while Julia Taubitz placed third.

The top Canadian result came in the doubles race, as Tristan Walker and Justin Snith notched a fifth-place showing, 0.866 seconds off the champion pace set by Germans Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken. Fellow Germans Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt took second and Austrians Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller were third.

The next generation of lugers, meanwhile, were in action on the Junior World Cup tour in Calgary.

Whistler's Trinity Ellis was second only to fellow Canadian Ava-Rose Luscombe in youth 'A' women's singles, finishing 0.023 seconds off the pace. Russia's Elizaveta Yurchenko took third while fellow Whistlerites Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless ended up in fifth and seventh, respectively.

Nash and Corless teamed up to win the doubles race, bested the Czech duo of Marketa Novakova and Anna Vejdelkova, who did not finish.

In the youth 'A' men's race, Whistler's Garrett Reid was the top Canadian, placing seventh, 0.765 seconds back of winner Marian Skupek of Slovakia. Skupek shared the podium with runner-up Gints Berzins of Latvia and third-place finisher Pavel Repilov of Russia.

In junior action, Whistler's Midori Holland placed 17th in the women's race. Austria's Hannah Prock bested two Germans, Anna Berrieter and Jessica Degenhardt, to score the victory.

Kingsbury's domination continues

Canadian moguls skier Mikaël Kingsbury continued his annihilation of the FIS World Cup tour in Thaiwoo, China over the weekend.

Kingsbury topped both the moguls and dual moguls events, besting Japan's Ikuma Horishima and Kazakhstan's Dmitriy Reikherd in the former and Sweden's Oskar Elofsson and France's Benjamin Cavet in the latter.

In the moguls competition, former Whistlerite Daichi Hara (representing Japan) placed fifth while Pemberton's Brenden Kelly took 10th for his first-ever top-10 World Cup result. Kelly's previous best was 11th in Calgary in January.

In the dual moguls event, Canadian Laurent Dumais placed 10th.

As for the women, Whistler's Sofiane Gagnon placed 18th in both the moguls and dual moguls competitions. American Jaelin Kauf captured the moguls win over Australia's Jakara Anthony and France's Perrine Lafont, while Canadian Chloe Dufour-Lapointe was fifth. Kauf also won the dual moguls event, besting Lafont and Kazakhstan's Yulia Galysheva while Dufour-Lapointe was the top Canadian in seventh.

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