Whistler’s Mercedes Nicoll reached the semifinals of the season’s first World Cup halfpipe snowboard competition on Saturday (Aug. 24), which was also the first of four events that will count towards her qualification bid for the Olympics.
The two-time Olympian placed 16th at Cardrona, New Zealand, in some difficult weather conditions, notching the top Canadian finish. She ended the semifinal round with a score of 54.25, but needed to be among the top 12 to advance to the final.
In an email, Nicoll said from New Zealand that it was nice to have the first one of the four key contests over with, even though it didn’t go as well as she had hoped.
“It didn’t go exactly as planned,” she said. “I was really happy with qualifying into semis. I landed a backside 9 in qualifiers. I’m trying out a new run and the conditions changed the morning of the semis and I wasn’t able to land my back 9 first hit.
“I thought I’d put a safe second run down, but that didn’t work out as well as planned. So I’m not entirely happy with my result, but I’m happy I’m pushing myself in the pipe and I’m looking forward to the next contests.”
Three other Canadians finished in the top 25, as Alexandra Duckworth was 21st, Katie Tsuyuki placed 23rd and Calynn Irwin was 25th.
Fellow local Crispin Lipscomb, who has come out of retirement to make a run at another Olympic appearance, was also the top Canadian in the men’s event. Lipscomb finished 19th, falling one spot short of the semifinals after scoring a 74.33 in the preliminary round.
The next World Cup counting as an Olympic qualifier comes up at Ruka, Finland, in December.
In slopestyle, the Canadian contingent had some strong performances at Cardrona on Aug. 19, including a 13th-place finish from Whistler’s Molly Milligan. Teammate Jenna Blasman finished fifth and Breanna Stangeland placed eighth.
DH racers hope for World Cup help
Some of Whistler’s top downhill mountain bikers are looking to make it over to Europe for the last two World Cup races of the season and will be holding a fundraiser next week to help them get there.
Veteran riders Chris Kovarik and Claire Buchar, as well as junior racer Jack Iles, are all hopeful to make it to the World Cup stop coming up Sept. 15 in Hefjell, Norway, and the following week’s World Cup finals at Leogang, Austria.
The fundraiser is scheduled for Tuesday (Sept. 3) between 5 and 9 p.m. at Creekbread. There will be a raffle and silent auction run at the event to help raise funds, all of which will be put towards the three riders’ travel expenses.
Neither Kovarik or Buchar have competed in a World Cup race this season, but Iles travelled to the stop at Mont Ste. Anne, Que., earlier this month and secured an impressive 10th-place finish.
Sea to Sky Football seeking players
The Sea to Sky’s minor football teams are looking for players to join for the 2013 season as they prepare for play in the North Shore Football League.
The Broncos peewee team (ages 10 to 11) and Titans minor team (ages 12 to 13), which play full-contact football, will practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Spring Creek Community School and Howe Sound Secondary fields. The cost for the season is $250.
Boys and girls aged six to nine can also participate in non-contact flag football with the Whistler Saints, who will practice Tuesdays and Thursdays at Spring Creek. The cost for the season is $80.
The league is scheduled to open on Sept. 8 and run until late November. Games are played Sundays in Squamish or North Vancouver. There is no equipment purchase required for flag football, and nearly all equipment is provided in the tackle divisions.
Any interested players or parents can contact Ralph Forsyth at 604-905-8997 for more details or visit www.gslfootball.ca for registration info.
Avalanche keep rolling
The Whistler Avalanche U16 girls’ team recently wrapped up a fourth-straight tournament victory while attending the Chilliwack Youth Soccer Tournament that wrapped up Saturday (Aug. 25).
The team played four games over two days, wrapping up the tournament win with a victory in the last match.
“On the last day, they faced off against a higher-ranked team and played a very possessive game,” said coach Bernard Messeguer in an email. “They kept the pressure and showed an ability to control the play and stick to their strategy. It was a great performance to watch and well-deserved victory.”