Sharpe eager for World Champs 

Whistler-based snowboarder ready for competition in 'mellow' season

click to enlarge PHOTO BY PHIL ELLSWORTH/ESPN IMAGES - Taking flight Darcy Sharpe has a pair of upcoming high-level competitions.
  • Photo by Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images
  • Taking flight Darcy Sharpe has a pair of upcoming high-level competitions.

It's been a "mellow" season for Whistler snowboarder Darcy Sharpe, but that's been all right by him.

Though the light schedule has given him the opportunity for his own riding, Sharpe is eager to get back into competitive action after forgoing the FIS World Cup schedule. The lone event for him so far this season was the Dew Tour in Colorado, where Sharpe took a sixth-place finish in slopestyle. He's set to suit up at this week's X Games, also in Colorado, before popping over to Park City, Utah, for FIS Snowboard World Championships after being named to Canada's contingent last week.

"It's the only World Cup I feel like we sought after," he said. "It's probably the only high-level World Cup in snowboarding this year. It feels like a privilege and it's exciting because of the way it showcases snowboarding to the everyday folks."

The 22-year-old, who was second in big air and fourth in slopestyle at the 2015 World Championships at Kreischberg, Austria, said he doesn't take much from that experience heading into his second spin at the event.

"A few years ago, it was a bit of a different scenario. The last time we were in World Champs was during X Games, so we were missing a few hotshots on the scene," he explained. "I really appreciated getting a podium at World Championships—I think it's really cool—but it wasn't really totally earned, per se, in the sense that not all of the top guys were there.

"It's a long time ago to take confidence from that, but I know that there was room for improvement and trying to just carry on the good vibes."

With a strong international lineup set to descend on Utah, Sharpe hopes to truly prove himself among the world's best.

"I'm excited to have (a World Championships) where there's more of the heavy hitters and to have a good contest on our hands," he said.

When he returns from Utah, Sharpe will team with former teammate Charles Reid to film in the backcountry after primarily riding in resorts and parks this season.

The duo will be filming in Whistler and possibly the Interior, but other than that, their attitude is to chase the snow, wherever that may be.

"We're going to try to make a short film that shows the transition, the difference and the desire to film in the backcountry from contest riding," he said. "It's something that we all want to do and only a few of us get the privilege to find crews and opportunities to get out into the backcountry.

"It also gives me lots of inspiration to do well in the few contests I have to make the most of it so I can have even more free time to go do that."

After narrowly missing the cut in a tight competition to go to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, Sharpe said it's too early for him to focus on the next Games in Beijing in 2022 in particular. Instead, he's going to continue to be the best snowboarder he can be and let whatever falls into place from there happen.

Sharpe added that the message he takes from the 2018 Games comes not from his slim miss, but from his older sister Cassie's triumph in the halfpipe ski event.

"More so, my sister making it happen at the age she was, and then getting gold (is a driving factor)," he said. "People didn't think that she would get to achieve that level, so I definitely know it's possible. My thanks goes to her for providing the inspiration to know it's possible."

In more sombre news, Canada's snowboarding team was rocked late last week with the revelation that Olympic silver medallist and five-time X Games champion Max Parrot had been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare cancer with about 900 cases in Canada nationally, in December.

Sharpe said he reached out to Parrot right away by text.

"It's really awful news," Sharpe said. "It seems to be something that is curable, so we're all very thankful to hear that. It's definitely shocking and puts life into perspective. You can't take it for granted.

"He's a fighter, so we all know that he'll come out of it strong, but it's definitely terrible news."

Sharpe added that he has seen the snowboarding community rally with support for Parrot.

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