Whistler riders capture national halfpipe titles 

Crispin Lipscomb, Mercedes Nicoll on top in Quebec

The top snowboarders from across Canada, including several Whistler riders, converged in Charlevoix, Quebec last week to battle it out in the 2004 Honda Element Canadian Snowboard Championships.

Although prize money is down this year and national team members are selected by world rankings, the nationals help the Canadian Snowboard Federation to identify talent for the national development team. A few riders opted to miss the events, but the majority of national team athletes were on hand to compete.

Whistler athletes were a huge factor in the halfpipe where locals Mercedes Nicoll and Crispin Lipscomb took the gold medals. They were joined on the podium by Maelle Ricker and Mike Michalchuk, who both train in Whistler.

Things got underway on March 25 with the parallel slalom event. Mont Tremblant’s Jasey Jay Anderson, who recently won his fourth consecutive overall World Cup title, took the gold medal ahead of Tyler Jewell of the U.S. and Fuyuki Hattori of Japan. This was Anderson’s fifth straight national title in the sport.

"This was such a fun event and a fun way to cap off the season," said Anderson. "I always enjoy coming to the Canadian Championships and checking out the young riders coming up, and I’m very impressed with Canada’s future snowboard athletes. They are a talented group, but I am definitely starting to feel old out here – even though I’m only 28."

The next Canadian on the podium was 24-year-old Jerome Sylvestre of Bromont, Quebec in fourth place. Montreal’s Adam McLeish, 23, who was on the national development team this season, was fifth.

In the women’s PS the gold went to Tomoka Takeuchi of Japan. Christelle Doyon of Sherbrooke, Quebec and Kimiko Zakreski and Ekaterina Zavialov of Calgary were the top three Canadians in second through fourth places respectively.

The alpine events continued the next day with the parallel giant slalom. Anderson was once again unbeatable on his way to his second title this year, and his second consecutive title in the PGS.

"This is such a great way to finish another remarkable season," said Anderson, who edged out American Tyler Jewell once again to win gold.

Third place went to 19-year-old Philippe Berube of Pierrefonds, Quebec.

Patrick Ferrell of the men’s development team finished fifth overall to rank third among the Canadians.

In the women’s race, Ashley Nite of the U.S. edged out Canadian veteran Alexa Loo of Richmond to win the big final. Tomoka Takeuchi of Japan was third. Kimiko Zakreski and Christelle Doyon rounded out the top-three for Canadians in fourth and fifth respectively.

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