Whistler athletes prominent on world championships team 

Whistler is going to be well represented when the FIS Snowboard World Championships kick off on Blackcomb on Jan. 15, with seven local names on the roster.

The Canadian Snowboard Federation finalized its selection for the team last week, making a few last minute changes due to injuries.

Canada will field four athletes in each of the five World Cup disciplines – halfpipe, snowboardcross, big air, parallel slalom and parallel giant slalom.

In the halfpipe, the women’s team includes locals Mercedes Nicoll and Maëlle Ricker, as well as Dominique Vallée, who lives in Squamish and trains in Whistler. The fourth member of the team was meant to be Nova Scotia’s Sarah Conrad, but she is out with a broken arm. Her place went to Anne-Marie Gauthier of Quebec City.

On the men’s side, Whistler will be well represented by Justin Lamoureux, Crispin Lipscomb and surprise addition Dan Raymond, a local snowboard coach who has earned a position on the national team. Last winter Raymond was sixth in the Whistler World Cup halfpipe.

The fourth member of the team is Hugo Lemay of Beauport, Quebec.

In the snowboardcross, the women’s team includes Maëlle Ricker and Dominique Vallée, as well as Erin Simmons of West Vancouver and recent World Cup gold medallist Dominique Maltais of Montreal.

The men’s team is anchored by Jasey-Jay Anderson of Ville Mount Tremblant, Quebec. Anderson recently won back-to-back gold medals in snowboardcross, following up with a bronze in the parallel giant slalom.

He will be joined by Drew Neilson, who was third in the snowboardcross standings last year and is currently ranked second this year with a win and a fourth place finish to his credit.

The other two men in snowboardcross are Tom Velisek of Vernon and Robert Fagan of Cranbrook.

In the alpine events, parallel giant slalom and parallel slalom, the women’s team includes Alexa Loo of Richmond (formerly of Whistler), Aimee Newton of Kamloops, Constance Boisvert of Ste-Foy, Quebec, and Kimiko Zakreski of Calgary. Caroline Calve of Senneville, Quebec is the team’s alternate.

The men’s team is led once again by Jasey-Jay Anderson, the overall World Cup champion for the past four seasons, followed by Phillipe Bérubé of Pierrefonds, Quebec, Justin-Claude Dumont of Pintendre, Quebec, and Adam McLeish of Senneville, Quebec.

The Big Air event, a new discipline for the world championships, is open to men only, and there are two Whistler athletes in the contest. The first is Neil Connolly, who was second overall on the World Cup circuit last year, and the second is Justin Lamoureux. The other participants are Guillaume Morissett of Stoneham, Quebec (formerly of Whistler), and Brad Martin of Ancaster, Ontario.

More than 400 athletes are expected to take part in the world championships, representing approximately two dozen nations.

Official world championship events get underway on Sunday, Jan. 16 with the Nissan Snowboardcross. The Parallel Giant Slalom is on Tuesday and the Parallel Slalom on Wednesday. The Province Big Air is on Friday, Jan. 21, and the McDonald’s halfpipe on Saturday night.

For more information visit the World Championships website at www.whistlerworlds.com.

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