Sharpe cashes in during Showcase Showdown

Local rider on podium twice in two days during 17th edition of Whistler snowboard contest

Darcy Sharpe already had fond memories of the Showcase Showdown, having won the event in 2011 as a mostly unheralded 15-year-old. Now, he'll have a couple more.

Back this year as one of the favourites, the Whistler rider did not disappoint, hitting the podium twice in two days to walk away from Canada's longest-running snowboard competition $12,000 richer.

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Sharpe was the runner-up behind Canadian Olympian Maxence Parrot during the pro men's slopestyle on Friday (March 14), and followed up with a big air win on Saturday (March 15).

"I won three years ago and that kind of kicked off my snowboarding, being sponsored by some cool companies," Sharpe said after his win on Saturday. "It was one of the first events I ever won, so it's kind of a sick contest for me to come to, and I just like riding with all the homies from Whistler, so it's fun."

Rain and wet snow that fell all afternoon made it difficult on riders Saturday, but didn't seem to bother Sharpe too much, as both of his jumps in the 24-man final were among the top three scores of the day. Judges awarded him a 91.3 for a frontside double cork 1080 on his second jump, which held up for the win and $8,000 grand prize.

"Not too impressive, but it was tough conditions, so it was really whoever could put down a trick," said Sharpe. "It wasn't a lot of fun snowboarding today."

Ryan Manning took home $4,000 for second place and Matts Kulisek placed third.

In the pro women's event, Katherine Lacroix-Vogel stomped a frontside 720 on her first attempt to win, which was good for $2,500. Olympian Jenna Blasman was the runner-up and Molly Milligan finished third.

"I was thinking about doing a safety run and I'm really glad I didn't, and just went for it," said Lacroix-Vogel. "The second run, it was too slow to do anything else. I felt pretty bad for the pro guys, because it got worse and worse as the day went on."

Gord Lehane was the winner in the amateur men's event on Saturday.

Parrot fights off illness to win

Parrot, who finished fifth in the debut of slopestyle at the Olympics in Sochi last month, wasn't feeling all that great this weekend, but fought through the sickness to take the title on Friday in Blackcomb's Nintendo Terrain Park.

The 19-year-old led after the first of two runs, but watched as Sharpe took the lead with his second run. Parrot came back with another great run of his own, taking a combined score of 346 from judges to inch back ahead of Sharpe (339).

"The course was really good (on Friday). The final was kinda hard," Parrot said with a voice left hoarse by illness. "Darcy got higher than me, so on the last run I had a lot of pressure to get by him for first place, and it worked out."

Ryan Stassel (323) placed third on Friday.

Feeling even worse than the day before, Parrot placed sixth in big air Saturday, marking one of the few times he's been held off the podium this season. He won gold in both big air and slopestyle at this year's Winter X Games, and last week, he was third at the Burton U.S. Open in Vail, Colo.

"It's been my best year so far. I've been on just about every podium since December, so I'm pretty stoked," said Parrot, who will be back in Whistler in April for the Monster Energy Shred Show, part of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

Aussie local Jess Rich won the women's event on Friday for her second Showcase Showdown win in three years, as she was also a winner in 2012. Breanna Stangeland finished second and Blasman placed third. Sean Fitzsimons was the men's amateur champ.

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