Maelle Ricker debuts at snowboard cross World Cup in Lake Louise
Our preview of competition around the world this weekend
The snowboard cross World Cup in Lake Louise, Alta., highlights the international scene this weekend, as Canadian Olympic medal hopefuls continue their road to Sochi. Here's a quick list of events to watch over the next few days:
Snowboard cross: The snowboard cross season continues with the second World Cup event of the season on Saturday in Lake Louise, Alta. Reigning Olympic champion Maelle Ricker of North Vancouver, BC., will make her season debut. Also representing Canada this weekend are veterans Dominique Maltais, Chris Robanske, Kevin Hill, Jake Holden and Rob Fagan.
Halfpipe: After an exciting weekend with competition taking place on two different continents, the halfpipe season contines with a World Cup stop at Copper Mountain Resort in Utah. World Cup qualification was Wednesday and finals are on Saturday. Canadians Alexandra Duckworth, Mercedes Nicoll and Brad Martin will look to continue their success after finishing sixth, seventh and eighth at last weekend’s World Cup in Ruka, Finland.
Slopestyle: The best in the world will compete Saturday at Copper Mountain Resort in Utah. All eyes will be on Canada’s Max Parrot who came out of the gate blazing with an impressive bronze medal at Dew Tour last weekend. Sitting out this weekend will be Mark McMorris, Sebastien Toutant and Spencer O’Brien. All three pre-qualified for Sochi through qualifications last season.
Aerials: Aerials athletes will have the chance to compete in Beijing, China., Saturday and Sunday, at National Stadium nicknamed “The Birds Nest.” The stadium hosted the opening ceremonies, closing ceremonies, athletics and soccer finals at the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Canada’s team is headlined by Travis Gerrits of Milton, Ont., who finished fourth in the first World Cup of the season last weekend.
Ski cross: The World Cup season continues with two races this weekend in Innichen/San Candido, Italy on Saturday and Sunday. Freak weather conditions left many of the world’s top contenders out of the competition last weekend in France. Canada’s Marielle Thompson holds the World Cup leader bib with a win and fifth place finish so far this season. Veteran Kelsey Serwa remains competitive on her comeback from ACL surgery. Other Canadian’s to watch include Georgia Simmerling, Brady Leman, Chris Del Bosco, Tristan Tafel and Dave Duncan.
Halfpipe: The World Cup season continues at Copper Mountain in Utah. The best in the world will compete on Saturday. Canada’s team is headlined by veterans Mike Riddle and Rosalind Groenewoud who have pre-qualified for Sochi. Another Canadian to watch is Justin Dorey who returns from injury this season and looks to earn valuable points to qualify for the Olympics.
Slopestyle: The World Cup season continues at Copper Mountain in Utah. Qualifications were Wednesday with finals set to go on Saturday. Canada has a strong team set to compete including youngster Dara Howell who punched her ticket to Sochi with a solid qualification run at Dew Tour last weekend. On the men’s side, Alex Beaulieau-Marchand looks to continue his success after landing on the podium for the silver medal at Dew Tour last Sunday.
Alpine skiing: The alpine season continues with a men’s super-G and downhill on Saturday and Sunday in Val Gardena, Italy. Erik Guay of Mont-Tremblant, Que., was second in a training session earlier in the week. Jan Hudec of Calgary and Manuel Osborne-Paradis of North Vancouver are also contenders. The scene shifts to Alta Badia, Italy on Sunday for a giant slalom. Julien Cousineau Lachute, Que., Mike Janyk of Whistler and Calgary's Trevor Philp are among the Canadians expected to compete.
The women’s season continues in Val d'Isere, France with a downhill scheduled for Saturday. Larisa Yurkiw of Owen Sound, Ont., trying to earn her way to Sochi through her own funding, is the lone Canadian in that race. Marie-Michele Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que., will gun for her sixth top 10 finish and first podium in Sunday's giant slalom, with Marie-Pier Prefontaine of Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Que., and Erin Mielzynski of Guelph, Ont., also expected to race for Canada. American Lindsey Vonn is also expected to compete.
Cross-country skiing: Canada's cross-country ski team will look to pick up the pace after some disappointing early season results at a World Cup competition in Asiago, Italy. The men and women will compete in individual sprints on Saturday, and team relays on Sunday. Alex Harvey of St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., has had the most consistent results on a Canadian men's team that also includes Len Valjas of Toronto, Devon Kershaw of Sudbury, Jesse Cockney of Yellowknife and Ivan Babikov of Canmore, Alta. Olympic gold medallist Chandra Crawford of Canmore, Alta., has rejoined the women's team, which also features Daria Gaiazova of Banff, Alta.
Ski Jump: World Cup men's ski jumping takes place Saturday and Sunday in Engelberg, Switzerland. A Canadian to watch is Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes.
The World Cup women’s ski jumping season continues in Hinterzarten, Germany, Saturday and Sunday. Atsuko Tanaka is a strong Canadian in the field.
Nordic Combined: The World Cup season continues with two men’s 10 km races in Schonach, Germany on Saturday and Sunday.