Snowboarders shred at Winter Games 

Finestone leads the way with gold

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Whistler dominance Whistler snowboarders Finn Finestone (centre) and Jadyn Chomlack (right) celebrate their slopestyle medals with Ontarios Will Buffey.
  • Photo submitted
  • Whistler dominance Whistler snowboarders Finn Finestone (centre) and Jadyn Chomlack (right) celebrate their slopestyle medals with Ontario<0x2019>s Will Buffey.

Of the five local snowboarders who showed their skills at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta., four came home with at least one medal.

Leading the charge was Finn Finestone, who scored a gold in the slopestyle on Feb. 28, excelling in both runs with a top score of 92.00. Teammate Jadyn Chomlack ended up third (85.60) and Truth Smith also made the final (79.40).

Finestone had some issues leading up to the competition, landing his planned run only once in practice, but managed to perform when required in qualifiers and finals.

"The snow began to get better as the day went on because the sun started to come out. It began to get a little faster and a little bit more comfortable riding by the time it was finals," he said.

Finestone said while he wasn't the flashiest boarder on the day, his skills still shone through over the breadth of his performance.

"Overall, (it was) just consistency. I didn't have the biggest run to put down against the entire field. Other guys were dropping in big runs, but my strong point was consistent riding throughout the day," he said.

Finestone enjoyed the course at Canyon Ski Resort, as it boasted different features such as volcano and hip shapes.

"I just really liked it because it brought creativity to it," he said.

Finestone did two other events, placing sixth in the halfpipe on March 1 and 22nd in snowboard-cross on Feb. 25. Chomlack earned a bronze in the halfpipe as well, while Smith completed all snowboard events, taking 11th in the parallel giant slalom and 13th in both the halfpipe and snowboard-cross contests.

Meanwhile, Juliette Pelchat finished no lower than eighth in either of her three events, earning silver in slopestyle, fourth in the halfpipe and eighth in snowboard-cross.

"I was just in a good headspace. I was really mentally prepared, and my friends were very encouraging and it was a very good environment for me that day," she said of her slopestyle silver. "My jump scores were really high, so that's what made my scores higher, I think. I did a front (540) and a cab (540) on the jumps, which was pretty good."

Like Finestone, Pelchat appreciated the chance to try some new things with the Canyon course.

"I liked the setup because it was really different than all the other ones I hit this year, so it was a good change. You could really be creative on this course, so I liked that," she said.

Pelchat added that she was proud of how she carried herself in the other two events, particularly in the snowboard-cross, which was a new event to her.

The local squad took another silver from Maggie Crompton, who placed second in the halfpipe at Calgary's Canada Olympic Park (COP) on March 1. Crompton and the other locals went in more focused on slopestyle, and after an eighth-place finish in that event, jumped to the podium with her final chance.

"We were just going to use that day as a training day in the park at COP and then we were going to do the contest for fun," she said. "We had a couple practice runs and I just decided to see how high I could get out of the pipe and did some grabs.

"I did grabs on a frontside air and indies on a backside air."

Crompton said her first hit set the tone for her run, as she got the most amplitude there.

Like her teammates, Crompton enjoyed seeing other sports, such as hockey and squash, as well as connecting with athletes from coast to coast.

"It was a lot of fun meeting the other girls in snowboarding from across the country," she said.

Head coach Meghan Hebert and assistant Sam Weston also represented Whistler at the Games. Hebert was "ecstatic" with how the team performed.

"Going into the Games, we had high expectations for sure and I think everyone exceeded it," she said. "There was a bit of nervousness going into it for them, but the fun outweighed that and it really showed through in their performance."

Cross-country skiers shine

Para-Nordic skier Ethan Hess excelled at the Games, bringing home gold in all three of his events: the sprint, 2.5-kilometre race and five-km race.

The 2018 Pemberton Paralympic sit skier was dominant, winning all three races handily.

Meanwhile, Whistler's Benita Peiffer took a pair of silver medals in the sprint and 7.5-km free events.

On the men's side, Pemberton's Joe Davies was close to the podium in the 10-km free event, while also taking finishes of 14th in the 15-km event and 26th in the sprint.

"Everything just worked out. It was the best race of my life, probably, to date," Davies said of his fourth-place showing. "Everything just went according to plan.

"I had my expectations open for what I wanted to do because I knew the level of competition was fairly high."

Battling through frigid conditions, Davies said the snow was slow, but he still sped through two of the three laps.

"On the first lap, I tried to pace myself a little bit more, opened it up for the next two laps and went as hard as I could," he said.

Lastly, Whistler's Michael Murdoch took seventh in the 10-km race and 11th in the sprint.

Alpine athletes post strong results

Several of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club's representatives earned top 10 finishes in the alpine events held at Nakiska Ski Resort and the ski-cross at Canyon Ski Resort.

Chase Burns led the way, taking fifth in ski-cross and sixth in slalom to go along with a 30th in super-G.

Matthias Shorter, meanwhile, took 10th in the slalom, as well as a 12th in the giant slalom, 17th in ski-cross and 25th in the super-G.

David Wood earned a 10th-place showing in the giant slalom to go along with 17th-place results in both the ski-cross and super-G.

Adam Usher narrowly missed the top 10 but put up solid showings in the slalom (11th) and ski-cross (13th).

As for the women, Jaden Dawson put up a sixth-place in the slalom to go along with 11th in the super-G and 26th in the ski-cross, while Sara Stiel had a consistent week, with an 11th in the slalom, 14th in the giant slalom, 17th in the ski-cross and 21st in the super-G. Fiona McInnes, meanwhile, put up a 28th in the super-G and 33rd in the ski-cross.

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