Maelle Ricker on missing starts 

Busy end to a busy season

B.C. born and bred Drew Neilson finished off his World Cup season in style. He added one more podium finish at the World Cup finals in Quebec to seal the overall title as the World Cup Tour Snowboardcross Champion. Just Drew it.

Drew’s World Cup season is something to be added to the record books, narrowly missing a perfect season.

After winning the first three World Cups, Drew went to Quebec City with the hope winning his fourth straight World Cup of the year, as well as keeping his yellow leader’s bib. His first time-trial run at Stoneham Mountain scared us all.

Then he got caught in a nasty wind gust that placed him out of the finals. Luckily his second run time secured him a spot in the afternoon racing.   Drew rode well all day, and it was looking like he was going to win all the World Cups of the season. Unfortunately in the final round Drew missed his start and ended up in third place.

Three out of four wins is nothing to lose sleep over, especially if the fourth result is still a podium finish. Mr. Neilson is now the proud owner of a crystal globe, the first one of his career.

I also missed my start at Stoneham in the semi-finals. After winning the time-trials in the morning, I was ready to take home another win on the World Cup circuit. After all, I wanted some redemption from my performance the week before in Lake Placid.

After my lapse in the semi-finals I had to fight it out in the small finals to end up in fifth place, the best I could hope for. This also dropped my overall ranking for the season from second to third.

My other Canadian teammates finished off their season well. Sarah Conrad was fourth in the halfpipe the next day. Brendan Davis was going huge and landed some massive frontside 900s to put him into third place. Brad Martin finished sixth at the World Cup finals, the same result he got the day before at the U.S. Open. Mercedes Nicoll also placed sixth down at Stratton Mountain in Vermont.

Most of the pipe team went to the U.S. Open. They competed all week in pre-qualifiers, qualifiers, semi-finals, and finished off with the finals on Saturday afternoon. That evening Justin, Brad, Jeff, Mercedes, Sarah, and Dominique packed up the vans and drove north to Quebec City where they competed on Sunday at Stoneham. March is always busy with contests, but this week was particularly crazy for the halfpipe team.

Our alpine team didn’t have the results they were looking for at Stoneham. After a great season of podiums at almost every World Cup stop after Christmas, the team wanted to perform well in front of their hometown crowd. Nothing seemed to go their way and no one made it to the afternoon finals. Kimi Zakreski was the closest of the bunch, but was on the bubble with a 17 th place.

After Stoneham, we all packed up our bags and headed west to Alberta last week for the national championships. The SBX and Alpine teams went to Banff to race at Sunshine Village, while the pipe crew stayed in Calgary to compete at Olympic Park. All the volunteers and both mountains did such an amazing job at giving the riders the best possible venues to compete on.

The snowboardcross course was perfect. Our juniors proved they were a force to be reckoned with, with Christelle Doyon winning by a landslide in the junior women’s event. The seniors’ race was equally as entertaining. Rob Fagan, Tom Velisek, Jasey-Jay Anderson, and Derek Winterman put on a great show in the men’s final, and Rob came out on top with Tom right on his tails. The PGS and PSL were won both by Jasey-Jay.

While we were up in Sunshine racing, the contest was going off back in Calgary in the new 22-foot halfpipe. Brad Martin edged out Justin Lamoureux and Jeff Bachelor on the men’s side of things. Mercedes Nicoll topped the girl’s side, with Sarah Conrad in second and Dominique Vallee in third.

These girls arrived in Calgary via another crazy travel schedule, flying right from Quebec to Park City, Utah for the Roxy Chicken Jam. They then hopped on a plane to Calgary to show up the night before nationals to compete the next day… and still killed it at COP!

The contest season is wrapping up. The SBX team has one more stop at Cypress this weekend for the NorAm finals. The halfpipers will be in Whistler for the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival, and our young Canadians still have Junior World Championships in Austria.

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