Final competition weekend for Canadian national halfpipe, slopestyle athletes

This weekend is the final competition of the season for our national halfpipe and slopestyle athletes, as they compete in the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) World Tour Finals at the World Skiing Invitational in Whistler, B.C.

The halfpipe team is coming off a week of training camp here at WinSport in the Under Armour Superpipe.
“The Calgary training camp was incredible,” said Cassie Sharpe, a member of the national B team and a graduate of the WinSport Academy program. “The pipe was perfect each day and everyone was stoked to be there, which makes everything awesome. I learned a lot of new tricks and perfected some others. I can’t wait to debut a couple at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival.”

Joining Sharpe at the WinSport camp and competing this weekend are Mike Riddle (Sherwood Park), Justin Dorey (Vernon, B.C.), Simon d’Artois (Whistler), Kris Atkinson (Calgary), Matt Margetts (Penticton, B.C.), Noah Bowman (Calgary), Keltie Hansen (Edmonton) and Megan Gunning (Calgary).

Sharpe, a B.C. native, is looking forward to competing in front of her friends and family.

“I’m really excited to be competing on home turf,” said Sharpe. “Having my family (mom, dad and brother) and a couple of my friends from Vancouver Island out to watch the competition means the world to me. It’ll be the first time some of my friends see me compete in real life! It is awesome to have a contest so close to home and be able to share my passion with them.”

The halfpipe event takes place Sunday, while slopestyle is today (Friday) and Big Air is on Saturday.

Among the slopestyle athletes competing are Alex Bellemare (Saint-Boniface, Que.),  Evan McEachran (Oakville, Ont.), Noah Morrison (Vernon, B.C.), Taylor Wilson (Whistler), Kristaps Thompson (Montreal), Reid McEachran (Oakville, Ont.), Kim Lamarre (Lac-Beauport, Que.), Nikki Blackall (Barrie, Ont.) and Yuki Tsubota (Whistler).

Sky’s the limit for Bowman

Not everyone was fully aware of Noah Bowman’s potential prior to the 2012 X Games.

But Bowman, a graduate of the WinSport Academy program and the 2010 world junior champion, made sure they remembered his name when he landed on the podium with a silver medal in the halfpipe ski event at those 2012 Games. He had been named as an alternate, but made the most of his opportunity when the door was opened for him to compete.

“The highlight of that day was my first run in finals,” Bowman said from Aspen, Colo., the site of this weekend’s 2015 X Games. “I landed my first run. The first run wasn’t good enough to get me on the podium, but it was the most relieved and excited I had ever felt in my life – landing my first run in X Games finals. That moment right there was probably the best moment I have ever experienced in skiing.”

Bowman, 22, is scheduled to compete in the men’s halfpipe elimination Friday evening, with hopes of making the finals on Sunday.

“I’m looking to be on the top of the podium this time,” he said. “In 2012, that was a great experience. The last couple of years have been a little frustrating. I just wasn’t quite in a rhythm.”

Bowman was in Calgary two weeks ago when the national slopestyle and halfpipe teams were training at WinSport. He missed most of the camp as he battled concussion symptoms following a crash in December.
He was healthy enough to enjoy the final third of the camp and get in some good training prior to departing for Aspen.

“The skiing I did get was amazing,” he said. “The halfpipe was by far the best it has ever been at WinSport. It was a good thing to see.”

Last season was also spectacular for Bowman, including a silver medal at the WinSport World Cup last January, followed by a fifth-place finish at the Sochi Olympics.

“When I started to get into competitive skiing, halfpipe and slopestyle wasn’t in the Olympics yet,” he said. “It was kind of a far out dream, but it was always in the back of my head – that if I ever had the opportunity to go to the Olympics that I would definitely do everything I could to get there. Once the team was formed and it was a possible goal, then it became my number 1 goal.”

While he would have loved to have made the podium, he’ll never forget the Olympic experience.

“That was amazing. At the time, the fifth place wasn’t what I was looking for. I was bummed at the time,” said Bowman. “But I’ve come to be really happy with that result. I was skiing real well in practice. We got heavy snow for the competition so that made it pretty challenging for everyone. So the runs in general, the competition just wasn’t up to the standard that it normally was.

“Everyone was still able to put down amazing runs. I’m just glad I landed all my runs.”

For more on WinSport, download this week’s WinSport Weekly Newsletter: http://www.winsport.ca/mediacentre/newsletter.cfm

Final weekend of 2013-14 winter season at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park

WinSport is wrapping up the 2013-14 ski and snowboard season at Canada Olympic Park in spectacular fashion with great spring conditions, amazing discounts and the chance to win some cool cash.

Temperatures are expected to fall again this weekend, reminding Calgarians that winter hasn’t gone away and there’s still plenty of good snow to enjoy carving some turns at COP. The park will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Due to popular demand, the WinSport Cash Blast Machine is making a return to the park on Saturday, with $1,000 up for grabs. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., contestants will have a chance to enter the Cash Blast Machine to scoop up as much cash as possible in 30 seconds.

In honour of our Canadian athletes’ success at 2014 Sochi Olympics and in tribute to the 1988 Calgary Winter Games, all Sunday hill tickets have been reduced to just $19.88 (plus GST). WinSport’s Impact Lab and Retail Store are also offering deep discounts on Saturday and Sunday for the final two days of a year-end clearance sale, with items up to 50 percent off.

WinSport is encouraging all visitors to the park on Sunday, the final day of the winter season, to wear bright and loud colours, in celebration of this summer’s Color Me Rad run. The Color Me Rad run takes place on June 28 at Canada Olympic Park, with organizers directing a percentage of proceeds to support Canadian high-performance athletes.

WinSport athletes turn in strong outing at provincial snowboard showdown

It has been a tremendous week for WinSport’s Academy and club athletes, highlighted by a strong weekend at the provincial snowboarding championships, held at Canada Olympic Park.

WinSport athletes dominated in the slopestyle event on Sunday, with Carter Thibault and Carter Jarvis taking the top two spots on the men’s podium, while Jack Collins (fifth), Liam Lafrance (seventh) and Josh Reeves (10th) also cracked the top-10. Sam Tuff and Adriane Cairns were second and third, respectively, in the women’s slopestyle event.

Jarvis, by the way, was named the CTV Athlete of the Week.

In the halfpipe on Saturday, Cairns took second place, while Tuff rounded out the podium with a third-place finish. Collins was the only WinSport athlete to hit the podium on the men’s side, as he finished third. Callum Michie was 10th.

“Most importantly is that the athletes really executed the plans well, so that’s what we wanted — the performance on demand,” said A-Team snowboard coach Mike Stastook. “Carter Thibault and Carter Jarvis both had been riding strong all week, so it was nice to see that hard work pay off with a good result.”

Meanwhile, at the North Face Park and Pipe Open Series at Whistler Blackcomb on Wednesday, two WinSport Academy freeski slopestyle A team members cracked the top-five, with Nikki Blackall finishing second in the women’s final, while Emma Whitman was fourth. On the men’s side, Reid McEachran and Sam Ruttiman qualified for the final, with McEachran hauling in an 11th-place finish and Ruttiman finishing 14th overall.

Several members of the freeski halfpipe A team were at Breckenridge, Colo., last weekend for a World Cup event, with Cassie Sharpe leading the way with an 18th-place finish in the women’s halfpipe. Megan Warrener was 28th. The top Academy skier on the men’s side was Brendan MacKay, who was 39th.

Canadian skiers sweep men’s podium at Calgary World Cup halfpipe event

The Canadian men swept the podium at today’s World Cup halfpipe skiing event at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. Leading the way was Justin Dorey, followed by Noah Bowman and Matt Margetts.

On the women’s side, the top Canadian was Megan Gunning, who finished four.

For hitting the podium, all three men were awarded $5,000 each from WinSport for the Sarah Burke Performance Awards.

The Sarah Burke Award was established in honour of Burke’s contribution to winter sport and in respect to her pioneering attitude. She was one of Canada’s top freestyle halfpipe skiers before she succumbed to injuries she suffered in a training accident in Utah in January 2012.

The award, which is presented in the amount of $5,000 Cdn. is given to any Canadian athlete that reaches the podium in any senior World Cup event that is held at WinSport’s facilities at Canada Olympic Park.

Great thanks to all the crew that helped make the halfpipe such a great competition venue.

Don’t forget to come out Saturday for the World Cup moguls competition, where Canadians are once again expected to hit the podium. The finals begin at 1:30 p.m.

Sarah Burke Award

WinSport president and CEO Barry Heck, centre, was joined by venues director Mike Tanner and community relations manager Helen Upperton to hand out the cheques.

WinSport supporter Joan Snyder named recipient of the Order of Canada

The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, announced yesterday 90 new appointments to the Order of Canada. Among those recipients is WinSport supporter Joan Snyder (and namesake of Arena B).

The Order of Canada, one of our country’s highest civilian honours, was established in 1967, during Canada’s centennial year, to recognize outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Over the past 45 years, more than 6,000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order.

An excerpt from WinSport’s letter of support for Joan’s nomination summarizes her impact on our organization:

Every major community undertaking requires one or two brave and committed individuals to step forward and take a leadership role. WinSport is honoured to have a woman of Ms. Snyder’s passion and character supporting our vision to be the best in the world.

Ms. Snyder can take tremendous pride helping WinSport in two key areas. First by helping us with the creation of one of the most unique sport environments in the world where thousands of athletes of all levels and disciplines will have a one-stop shop to train and maintain an active lifestyle, and secondly for expanding the opportunities available for women’s hockey.

It is an honour to have Joan Snyder as a friend of WinSport and to see her generous contributions to our nation recognized.

WinSport to host halfpipe and mogul World Cups in lead up to 2014 Games

The Canadian Freestyle Ski Association announced Friday that WinSport will host halfpipe and moguls World Cup events in January – less than five weeks before the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Both World Cups are Olympic qualifying events.

The halfpipe event will be held the evening of January 3rd and the moguls event during the day on January 4th. It will be the fifth year that WinSport and the CFSA have teamed up for a World Cup at Canada Olympic Park. It’s also the first World Cup halfpipe to be held in Canada since 2006.

The Station Touristique at Val Saint-Come, Que., will host an aerials event on Jan. 14 and moguls World Cup on Jan. 19.

“We are thrilled to be in a position to host four events next season,” said CFSA CEO Peter Judge. “For so many reasons holding events in Canada is a crucial part of our program. First, it gives our Canadian fans and supporters an opportunity to see the world’s greatest skiing acrobats up close and personal and to inspire some of the next generation of Canadian freestyle superstars. But, equally important is the opportunity for our athletes to compete at home with their friends and family present and also with the added pressure that those factors bring. That added pressure is a perfect warm up for the coming Olympics.”

For the complete FIS freestyle 2013-2014 World Cup calendar go to: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/disciplines/freestyle/fiscalendar.html

Opening of WinSport’s downhill mountain bike season will be delayed

We are disappointed to say that the opening to the 2013 downhill mountain bike season will be delayed until a later date to accommodate the completion of landscaping related to the new vertical and chair lift.

The delay is a result of abnormal weather conditions this spring, including unseasonable heat in early spring resulting in a rapid amount of spring melting, along with the large amount of rain recently.

Landscaping, which will include top soil, seeding and trees, is required to assure slope stability in the future and fulfill our permit obligations.

Weather in the coming weeks will determine how quickly the landscaping can be completed.

Please continue to monitor our website at www.winsport.ca and our social media feeds for updates.

We are currently working on a solution for existing mountain bike pass holders and program registrants and will communicate with them directly.

Please know that we are using all available resources to get our mountain bike season started as soon as possible.

Skeleton great Jon Montgomery to host CTV’s Amazing Race Canada

CTV announced today that skeleton racer Jon Montgomery (@jrmonty12) is the host of The Amazing Race Canada.

- Courtesy CTV

– Courtesy CTV

Montgomery, of course, won the gold medal in 2010 in Vancouver and spends much of his time training at WinSport in Calgary. There’s no doubt he’ll do Canada proud once again.The show will begin to air on July 15th.

By the way, Monty isn’t WinSport’s only link to Amazing Race Canada. Adam Baptie from our sales team applied for the show … but sadly didn’t make the cut.Check out his audition video below:

Hockey Canada announces roster for centralized team in preparation for Sochi

Hockey Canada announced today a roster of 27 players that will be centralized at the WinSport’s Markin MacPhail Centre for Canada’s national women’s team for the 2013-14 season.

The centralization of the roster will be in preparation for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, which are scheduled for Feb. 7-23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.

The roster includes three goalies, nine defencemen and 15 forwards. Among the players named were three members of the WinSport-based Alberta team in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, including defencemen Tara Watchorn, Meaghan Mikkelson and Jocelyne Larocque.

All 27 players named Thursday will be in Calgary in late May for fitness testing and orientation, before beginning to train full-time with Hockey Canada in August.

Canada’s final Olympic roster is expected to be determined in late December.

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