Locals strong in Nike Series opener 

The Nike Snowboard Series, a stepping stone for amateur, intermediate, and pro riders, returned to Blackcomb on Jan. 6 with a sold-out halfpipe competition. More than 104 competitors took part in the event, scored by three judges in a "best of two runs" format.

Although the event regularly attracts skilled riders from the U.S. and overseas, the day belonged to a strong core of Whistler riders, many of whom compete with the Whistler Valley Snowboard Club.

In the Junior 12 and Under category, Vinny Liegeti (WVSC) was the top jibber by a wide margin, followed by Billy Hole (Vancouver), and Max King (WVSC).

In the Amateur Women 13 to 17 competition, Katelyn Scott and Sara Kopinya (WVSC) landed in first and third, while Judy Swens of Sechelt finished second.

In the Amateur Men 13 to 17, Tyler Massey, Francois Ligeti and Jeff Waters (all WVSC) took the top three spots out of 23 competitors.

Two Japan-Whistler transplants, Chiyoko Iwabuchi and Kyoko Nakano showed why Japanese women are making their mark on the World Cup circuit by finishing first and second in the Amateur Women 18 and up. Charlotte Dutton of the U.K. finished a close third.

The Amateur Men 18 and up category belonged to Ken Matsushima, Eric Hamel and Adrian Hembruch, all of Whistler.

Genvieve Halle of the WVSC was the top pro woman, beating out Canadian team rider and past-Olympian Lori Glazier, and defending U.S. Champion Kim Stacey.

The top pro man was Whistler’s Yves Martineau, followed by Dylan Butt of New Zealand and local Sebastien Desmarais.

The Nike Snowboard series runs until May and includes snowboard cross, halfpipe and slopestyle (also open to skiers) disciplines. The next event, another halfpipe, is scheduled for Jan. 20.

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