L>R (Silver: Arianne Gallant (Team QC), Anthony Shelly (Team BC) | Gold: Kai Hooper (Team BC), Hannah Turkington (Team BC) | Bronze: Olivier Gange (Team QC), Amelia Pelchat (Team BC)
The 2023 Canada Games has gathered snowboarders from across the country to represent their province/territory at the Brookvale Alpine Resort this week. The competing riders in today’s event had the chance to make their mark on the first ever snowboardcross track in P.E.I, thanks to the creators and the team at Arena Snowpark.
A snow storm whirled in from the south overnight bringing 15cms of snowfall by morning. Fresh snow and an uphill wind is far from favorable when the focus is in-the-name-of speed but as the course took to more riding as time progressed, snow was either pushed out or packed down creating a faster competition ready surface.
To seed the heats, riders completed a two-run time trials (without any competitors on course). Riders are then positioned into a bracket where the 4-person racing begins with eight heats, narrowed down to four, then two, with the 3rd and 4th place finishers from each of the remaining two heats going directly to the small final and 1st and 2nd winners onto the big final.
In the women’s small final it was Felicity Geremia (Team AB) taking the top spot, securing 5th, followed by Bridget Maclean (Team NS) in 6th, Kate Rowsthorn (Team BC) 7th, and Brenna O'brien (Team ON) in 8th.
For the final women’s race of the day it was a double duo with two riders competing from Team BC and two riders from Team QC. In a close battle to the finish it was BC’s own Hannah Turkington who led the way taking gold, followed by Ariane Gallant (Team QC) in silver, and Amelia Pelchat bronze to edge out Rose Savard-Ferguson (Team QC), landing her in 4th.
In the men’s small final it was Jacob Lebel (Team QC) to win his heat, landing in 5th, Tosh Krauskopf (Team BC) 6th, Oscar Dicks (Team ON) 7th, and Ethan Cooper-brewster (Team NS) in 8th.
It was a familiar sight in the men’s big final with Team BC and Team Quebec in the start gate yet again. In a mad dash to the finish it was BC’s own Kai Hooper to claim the gold, tailed by his teammate Anthony Shelly for silver (BC), and Quebec’s own Olivier Gange with bronze (who’s sister, Ann Gange, now in the role of Technical Coach for Team Quebec, won gold in snowboardcross at the 2019 Red Deer Canada Winter Games) and Marc-Antoine Poulin (QC) in 4th.
Another action packed day full of snowboarding. The prevailing jangle of cow bells and a stadium horn was fueled by an energized crowd illuminating the one-chair - 250 ft vertical - family run ski-hill.