Norris and Benbow take top spots in Saudan race 

Norris inches out Robbie Dixon for first place, with ideal racing conditions

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOEL BARDE - BIG WIN Brynne Benbow was all smiles after winning the women's pro category of the Saudan Couloir Race Extreme on Friday, April 12.
  • Photo by Joel Barde
  • BIG WIN Brynne Benbow was all smiles after winning the women's pro category of the Saudan Couloir Race Extreme on Friday, April 12.

There were ideal conditions for the Saudan Couloir Race Extreme on Friday, April 12, with bluebird visibility and snow that was just soft enough to dig an edge into.

Jordy Norris and Brynne Benbow took top spots in the men's and women's pro categories, respectively.

Norris said he felt he took a good line through the top of the course, which flows down Blackcomb's iconic double-black diamond ski run, the Saudan Couloir.

"I was kind of staying really high, and then cutting close to the gate, and going through the softer snow instead of the really chunky snow that had already been slipped out by everybody inspecting," he said, moments after learning he'd won.

Norris's unofficial finishing time—2:08.70—was a mere 0.23 seconds faster the second-place finisher Robbie Dixon, who finished with a time of 2:08.93.

Kole Harle rounded out the top three in the men's pro category with a time of 2:11.06.

Norris added that he sat on the back of his skis, rather than doing a tuck, for the flat sections of the race.

"I would just sit on the back of my skis and just hug my skis," he said. "It's kind of more aerodynamic, I guess—and a bit of a rest."

Benbow finished with a time of 2:26.43, beating out second-place finisher Marie-Pier Prefontaine (2:28.41) and third place finisher Erika Thomson (2:29.81).

"It was pretty awesome," said Benbow of her race experience. "I woke up this morning with a beautiful bluebird day and fresh, fresh corduroy ... It couldn't have been more perfect, and it was pretty fun."

Brenneman, Fagan win Boarderstyle World Champs

Up in the Blackcomb Terrain Park on April 13, Carle Brenneman and Robert Fagan claimed the Monster Energy Boarderstyle World Championships.

Brenneman bested Brooke Voigt and Audrey Hebert for the women's title while Fagan emerged over Felix Dallaire and Charles Reid for the men's crown in a competition where both speed and tricks were considered.

Fagan, a former World Cup snowboard-cross racer who has since transitioned into coaching for smaller nations like South Korea and the Netherlands, was thrilled to be speedy enough for a smaller-but-well-executed trick to be enough.

"There were definitely some super good riders up there. In boarderstyle all this year, there's been a different winner every time and all those winners were in that final," said Fagan, the fifth-place snowboard-cross finisher at the 2010 Winter Olympics. "It was a little bit of a challenge, so I was lucky to get a run away and that my trick (cork 360) was good enough for the judges."

Brenneman, meanwhile, knew she'd be neck-and-neck with Voigt. In a similar vein, she knew her speed would be the defining factor in a win.

"It was super fun. I think my boarder-cross background helps me create lots of speed. I was just trying to get ahead of Brooke, the slopestyle master, so that I didn't have to do any crazy tricks on the last jump," she said.

Brenneman added that while finals threw a plethora of wild conditions at the competitors, she was more than prepared by virtue of living in the Sea to Sky.

"Friday was a beautiful, sunny spring day and Saturday, I think we had every condition possible, which I'm used to, being from Whistler and North Vancouver," she said. "The course was pretty fast for a boarderstyle course. It had different options during it, so it was super fun to be able to ride both lines and figure out which one was faster."

-Dan Falloon

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