'Toots' golden at Stockholm 

Canadian snowboard team ready for World Cup season

One of the biggest snowboard events of the year is the annual Big Air competition in downtown Stockholm, Sweden, with tens of thousands of spectators surrounding the jump site.

This year they were all cheering for Quebec's Sebastien Toutant. Although he's just 18 years old, he's already an established rider and on the leader board of the Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour. But his win in Stockholm was huge, with Toutant earning 51.3 points after landing a frontside 1080 double cork, a backside 1260 double cork and a backside 1080 double cork in three runs.

Petja Piiroinen of Finland and Patrick Burgener of Switzerland were second and third.

"I'm always nervous, although I have been to many competitions already," said Toutant. "But the more I do the more confident I get. I'm stoked that I was able to win this as the event and the level of riding in the finals was super good."

Toutant may be Olympic bound in 2014. Last season he won the first ever slopestyle event held at the national snowboard championships. The sport of snowboard slopestyle is currently being considered for inclusion by the International Olympic Committee. A decision will be made in 2011.

The Big Air competition wasn't the only snowboarding event underway last week. Copper Mountain hosted a Nor-Am Cup for alpine snowboarders, which attracted an international field eager to fit in races before the start of the World Cup season.

Caroline Calve won the opening parallel giant slalom, followed by Selina Joerg and Isabella Laboeck of Germany. Other Canadians in the top 15 were Ekaterina Zavialova in eighth place, Ariane Lavigne 10th, Cora Fellows 12th, Zoe Rubin 14th and Megan Farrell 15th.

Canada's top male racers skipped the event. Patrick Farrell was the top male in eighth place, followed by Steve Barlow in 10th, Darren Gardner in 11th, Matthew Carter in 13th and Richard Evanoff in 15th.

In the parallel slalom Arian Lavigne was the top Canadian in third. Caroline Calve was sixth, Ekaterina Zavialova seventh, Cora Fellows ninth, Megan Farrell 14th and Alexandra Villiard 15th.

Patrick Farrell moved up to fourth on the men's side. Matthew Carter was ninth, Darren Gardner 10th and Indrik Trahan 12th.

The other snowboard story this week was the announcement that Olympic silver medallist Mike Robertson would miss the first part of the 2011 season after sustaining a concussion during a training camp in New Zealand in the fall. It was his second concussion in sixth months, and under the advice of Canada Snowboard physicians he will miss the opening World Cup snowboardcross events in December. Doctors will reassess after the Christmas break.


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