Snowboard season ends with a Showdown 

Although it may not feel like it in the valley, the winter competitive snowboarding season wrapped up last weekend with the Showcase Showdown halfpipe and quarterpipe contests.

More than 90 jibbers turned out to the halfpipe contest on May 12, and the rain held off long enough for everyone to get their two judged runs in. National team snowboarder Charles Perrault of St-Lambert, Quebec, won first place and $2,000 with a strong first run good enough for a score of 23.6 in the men’s pro division. New Zealander Dylan Butt climbed out of the basement after a disappointing first run to finish second with 22.4. Justin Lamoureux of Banff, Alberta, another member of the national team, finished in third place with 21.9.

In the women’s pro field, the top spots on the podium went to Japanese riders Iwabuchi Chiyoko and Michiyo Hashimoto. Local Kristi Yzerman finished the day in third, ahead of national team jibber Domique Vallee of Montreal.

In the Amateur 19 and Over competitions, the top rider was Jason Boron by more than three points. Taka Suzuki and Yo Doshita were second and third. In the women’s competition, it was Ayako Tanaka, followed by Makiko Arimoto and Paula Mitchell.

In the Amateur 16 to 18 category, it was a true showdown with Tyler Quarles edging out Whistler Valley Snowboard Club rider Tyler Massey by one-tenth of a point to take the win. Anthony Leffelaar finished third.

Local WVSC rider Sarah Kopinya won the women’s event with the two best runs of the day. She was followed by Kim Hetley and Julia Sadler.

In the Amateur 15 and Under field, 12-year-old WVSC rider Vinny Ligeti finished first, almost three points ahead of Matt Friesen in second, and almost five points ahead of Kyle Cuthiel in third.

"I wasn’t really trying to win, just to have fun and think about my runs," said Ligeti.

Since he will move up an age category next season, Ligeti tried to learn everything he could this season from his WVSC coaches. "I learned not to be afraid of the height, and not to be afraid of trying anything that’s doable. The coaches were really good for that, and helped me to get better. Next year I’ll try to step it up a bit."

Vinny’s older brother Francois would have given him some competition, but missed out on the last part of the season with a broken leg.

In the Showcase Showdown Quarterpipe on Sunday, Alberta’s James Beach took home the $2,000 first prize with a huge Michalchuk almost four metres over the lip.

Sylvain Beauchesne finished second with huge backside 720s. Travis Williams came from behind in his last run of the day to finish third, edging out Yves Martineau and national team halfpipe coach Dennis Bannock.

Local rider Mercedes Nicoll, the winner of last year’s Showcase Showdown halfpipe, won the pro women’s category, edging out Annie Boulanger by three-tenths of a point. Dominique Vallee finished a close third, followed by national halfpipe competitor Lori Glazier. Less than two points separated the top four competitors.

In the Amateur 19 and Over categories, the top three men were Wade Zach, Tom Kato and Nuruki Tsutomu. Ashli Norheim finished ahead of Paula Mitchell in the two-women contest.

In the 16 to 18 bracket, Anthony Leffelaar led the field for most of the day to finish on top. Tyler Quarles finished second, followed by Johnny Lyall. Vinny Ligeti, competing against riders up to six years older, finished fourth.

The top women in this age group were Sarah Kopinya, followed by Lloyd Penny.

More than $11,000 cash and $20,000 in prizes was given away over the weekend.

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