McMorris injured in backcountry 

Sports briefs: Fleckenstein at nationals; DC Hit & Run returning this weekend

click to flip through (2) CUTLINE CREDIT - McMorris injured Star snowboarder Mark McMorris was injured in the Whistler backcountry after a crash on March 25.
  • cutline credit
  • McMorris injured Star snowboarder Mark McMorris was injured in the Whistler backcountry after a crash on March 25.
 

Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris is recovering in Vancouver General Hospital after suffering several serious injuries in the backcountry on Saturday, March 25.

McMorris suffered a fractured jaw, fractured left arm, ruptured spleen, stable pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed left lung according to a Canada Snowboard release quoting team physician Dr. Rodney J. French.

McMorris underwent two successful surgeries, with a minimally invasive procedure to control bleeding from the spleen on March 25. On March 26, his jaw and arm fractures were surgically repaired.

"While both the mandible and humerus fractures were complicated injuries, the surgeries went very well and both fractures are now stabilized to heal in excellent position. It is too early to speculate on a timeline for Mark's recovery," Dr. French said in a release.

McMorris won Crystal Globes in big air and as the overall FIS Freestyle Snowboard champion in 2016-17.

Canada Snowboard executive director Patrick Jarvis expects McMorris to push for next year's Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, as he recovers.

"We fully support Mark and he is already under the incredible care of the staff of the Vancouver General Hospital," Jarvis said in a release. "Mark has shown incredible resilience and commitment to recovering from injury and we know that PyeongChang 2018 will be a strong motivation for his comeback.

Snowboard Canada spokesman Brendan Matthews said on March 28 that though there was no further medical update, McMorris was in good spirits and posting on Snapchat throughout the day.

"Speaking with some people that are close with him, he's in recovery and doing well," he said. "He's making the best of the situation and Mark being Mark, he's adding a little humour into it. The post that I saw had a Snapchat filter with a dog ears and nose on him and a scribbling that says 'I'm alive.'"

On March 28, McMorris and Max Parrot were provisionally named to Canada's Olympic snowboard team for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

"Talking to medical staff over the last couple of days, they're confident that he'll make a full recovery and for a guy as resilient as (Mark), it should be in short order," Matthews said, adding there's no exact timeline for recovery at this point. "From everything we've been told, we're quite confident that he will have no problem being ready to go for PyeongChang."

Matthews said McMorris and his friends were riding in the backcountry near Whistler doing some casual filming when the crash occurred.

"He was out there with (brother) Craig and a group of friends on Saturday and they were in the backcountry riding a jump, from what I've been told, in flat light. He must have made a bit of a miscalculation on takeoff on one of the jumps and ended up running into — I don't know if it was one or a group of trees — but there was certainly some shrubbery there that was the cause of the accident," Matthews said.

Those looking to support McMorris can do so on social media (@markmcmorris on Twitter and Instagram or Mark McMorris on Facebook).

Fleckenstein performs at nationals

Whistler Mountain Ski Club's Stefanie Fleckenstein scored some under-21 hardware and was nearly on the overall podium at the Sports Experts Nationals in Mont-Tremblant, Que. from March 25 to 28.

Fleckenstein was fourth overall and third among U21 skiers in the giant slalom on March 26. Valerie Grenier, Candace Crawford and Ali Nullmeyer were the top three. In the giant slalom on March 28, Fleckenstein placed sixth overall and second among U21s. Senior skiers Erin Mielzynski, Marie-Michele Gagnon and Laurence St-Germain were the podium toppers.

On the men's side, Americans AJ Ginnis and Michael Ankeny topped Canadian Phil Brown for the slalom podium, while Canadians Trevor Philp, Dustin Cook and Brown swept the giant slalom podium. Complete results are available at www.live-timing.com.

Melamed 26th at Giant Toa Enduro

Whistler's Jesse Melamed and the rest of the Enduro World Series racers helped kick off the Crankworx season in Rotorua, New Zealand on March 26.

With pouring rain, conditions quickly got muddy on the 60-kilometre course through the Whakarewarewa Forest and Melamed ultimately put up a 26th-place finish.

"Severe conditions on top of a big day was something... I feel like I rode well but (26th) just doesn't show that. Can't say that's what I wanted from this one but the conditions were against the top guys. Fair play to everyone who finished, and didn't finish, this race. It was a little much I think. And to those legends from our top group who finished in the top 10, you're my heroes!" Melamed posted on Instagram after the race.

On the women's side, Squamish's Miranda Miller was 12th while Whistler's Georgia Astle placed 26th.

Full results are online at www.enduroworldseries.com. The first of four Crankworx World Tour stops continues in New Zealand until April 2.

DC Hit & Run competition returning to wb this weekend

The DC Hit & Run Tour is coming back to Whistler Blackcomb this weekend.

The combined slopestyle and banked slalom snowboard course will hit the slopes on April 1 and 2.

"We are very excited to host the final stop of the DC Hit & Run Tour once again," said Whistler Blackcomb terrain parks manager Brian Finestone in a release. "We take pride in making our course the gnarliest on the tour, and this year's build will be even better. Riders can expect a more technical rail section, tighter banks and a few new elements."

There will be men's and women's pro divisions, as well as open (16-plus) and youth (15-and-under) men's events. There will be prizes of $1,500, $1,000 and $500 for the top pro men's times, and $1,000 for the top pro woman's time. There is also $500 for best trick.

For more information, visit www.whistlerblackcomb.com.

Winterhawks earn provincial bronze in Revelstoke

The Whistler Winterhawks bantam A1 squad came away with some hardware from Tier 4 provincials in Revelstoke last weekend.

The club finished with a 3-2 record en route to a third-place finish. Whistler opened with a 17-4 thrashing of Creston Valley before falling 7-3 to Vanderhoof. The Winterhawks then got past Clearwater 6-4, fell 4-1 to the eventual champions of Revelstoke and wrapped by edging Mission 3-2.

Freeskiers claim victories

Two Whistler Freeride Club skiers ended up taking gold at the Alpental Freeride Open in Snoqualmie, Wash.

Rhegan Williamson topped the female 15 to 18 division by edging Courtney Smith of the Olympic Freeride team and Anna Thompson of Northwest Freeride. Nate Wilson, meanwhile, eked out the win in the U12 ski male category over independent skier Abel Marx and Luka Kuharic of Northwest Freeride.

Freestyle skiers wrap season at Silverstar

Whistler Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club members ended up at the top of the province when the Timber Tour wrapped up at Silver Star on the weekend.

Kai Smart, Ben Lynch and Julien Chartrand swept the U16 men's slopestyle series in order, as did Josephine Howell, Jessica Linton and Skye Clarke on the women's U16 side. Linton also found herself on top of the U16 moguls division while teammates Ava Dunham and Raine Haziza placed second and third. Owen Ternoway, meanwhile, earned the U18 moguls win as part of another club sweep with Heejun Kim and Sam Cordell rounding out the podium.

Other best of series performers were Oscar Van Dongen and Philip Kang (second and third in U14 men's moguls), Maya Mikkelsen and Chase Capicik (first and third in U14 women's moguls), Kai Martin (second in U14 men's slopestyle), and Cassidy Butterworth and Capicik (second and third in U14 women's slopestyle).

At the competition itself, Mikkelsen (U14 women's) won the moguls event and placed third in big air, Howell (U16 women's) won both the slopestyle and big air events, Martin (U14 men's) took second in both slopestyle and big air and Smart (U16 men's) won the slopestyle event while taking third in big air.

Linton won the U16 women's moguls gold while Kim took the U18 men's moguls gold.

As well, Butterworth, Capicik and Mikkelsen swept the U14 women's big air podium.

Complete results are available at www.freestylebc.ski.

Whistler Blackcomb is set to welcome the national junior championships as part of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival from April 6 to 9.

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