The competitive season comes to an end 

The first step to the FIS final World Cup was getting from Sierra Nevada, Spain to Tandadalen, Sweden. This proved to be a difficult task.

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By Maëlle Ricker

Rene, our snowboardcross coach who booked his plane ticket in November, managed to sneak onto a direct flight from Spain right to Sweden. The rest of the snowboardcross team did the Tour de Western European airports.

All the planes were filled up to the brim, so when our luggage arrived in Oslo with us we were happily surprised.

A three-hour bus ride brought us to the town of Hundfjallet. This quaint ski resort was a quick trip from Tandadalen, the location of the contest. All five of us bunked up in a condo and were fast asleep by 2 a.m. The racers arrived at four that same morning and the halfpipe team showed up a day later.

The first day was spent exploring the surrounding ski hills and figuring out the lift system. We could connect from one resort to another by taking a long flat poma lift. This was by far the most entertaining lift I’ve ever been on – imagine a T-bar that links Creekside to Whistler Village along the valley floor. You can get on wherever you want and unload wherever you want. By the end of the week the whole team had a full repertoire of flat land tricks.

The first event was the snowboardcross. I started my season at the World Championships on a great course and I ended my season on a great course. The Swedish track was wide, fast, and had big, safe jumps. Everyone was excited to race.

The Canadians qualified well in time trials; everyone finished in the top16. By the end of race day, we came out with a second and third place finish by Jasey-Jay and I.

Jasey’s race was the most exciting. He was sitting in second place for the overall World Cup tour title, right behind Xavier Delerue of France. In the final Jasey took the lead on the course with the number one man right on his heels. Xavier was waiting for any tiny error that Jasey might make so he could swoop past him, and that’s exactly what happened. Jasey had a bit of a bobble three quarters of the way down the hill, and Xavier was right there to pounce on the opportunity.

Alexa Loo finished her season strongly in the PGS with a season-best eighth place result.

The halfpipe event didn’t go as well as we had hoped. The shape of the pipe was hard to ride, but a few Canadians made it to the finals despite the conditions. Dan Raymond was eighth on the men’s side and Mercedes Nicoll just missed the podium and ended up forth.

The FIS finals party was the highlight of the week. We were treated to an amazing dinner. After stuffing ourselves full we pulled the tables out of the way to make room for the live band. Some of us had a quick dance session and then ran back to the condo to leave for Oslo that same night.

The bus ride back to the airport went by in a blink of an eye… literally. We hopped on a 6 a.m. flight to Frankfurt and then another flight into Canada. Rob Fagan and I flew through Calgary and the other snowboard team members flew through Vancouver. By the end of the day, all five of us ended up in Kelowna at the same time. One week at Big White for Nationals and then home sweet home.

Big White was a lot of fun. The snowboardcross race was very exciting and the course was great for everyone. Tom Velisek won the boys event and I managed to edge out Erin Simmons on the girls side. I was especially impressed at the turnout of juniors – we have a lot of talent coming up quickly in Canada.

We also got a lot of snow over the weekend. I took my Nova Scotian teammate Sarah Conrad for some fun West Coast freeriding. She told me after her first run that she had never ridden in that much snow before. At the bottom of every run she had even more snow piled on top of her head.

Unfortunately the weather wreaked havoc on the halfpipe finals and slopestyle events. The fresh snow and the thick fog made it impossible to run either contest. The halfpipe had qualifications on Friday and so those results became the final results. Crispin and Mercedes took the Canadian halfpipe titles. I was third.

We all had the pleasure of attending yet another great party on the Saturday night. The beach party banquet was a huge success. Lots of people dressed up for the occasion and the costumes were hilarious. We ate a fabulous meal and eventually headed up to Snowshoe Sam’s for some dancing.

I am finally back at home and I already wish it were the beginning of the year again. The Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival will be a blast. I can’t wait to see you all there.

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