Jonsson and Ricker Win Gold Whistler Pipe

Ricker takes second win in two days

Whistler, B.C. (CAN). At the second Halfpipe event of the NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup 1999/2000 today the Halfpipe riders were reminded of last year’s contest at the same place at the same time and… with the same weather conditions.

Marcus Jonsson from Sweden and Canada’s Maelle Ricker took the gold in a competition that was far from being considered convenient.

It looked like the day would never end at today’s Halfpipe competition in Whistler. Heavy snowfalls and strong winds had already caused delays during the qualification in the morning but when the clouds broke up and even the sun came out on Blackcomb mountain around noon, the final seemed to happen differently. In fact it did but not in the expected way: it even became worse, especially for the women. Maelle Ricker from Canada was the one to finally handle it in the best way and (after yesterday’s Snowboard Cross gold) got her second win in just two days under her belt. “This was definitely a challenge,” she said. “We had better visibilities in the previous days, but you take what you can get… Everybody is out there in the same conditions, but it was tough. You’re losing speed with all that fresh snow in the bottom of the halfpipe, very soft, it was so hard to keep your rhythm in there.” With Kim Dunn another Canadian made it to second place, her first-ever podium so far. “I think it was just a question of luck today not falling over with all that snow on the bottom and the bad visibility,” Dunn said. “I was happy to land a backside 540 which I think gave me the extra points I needed.” US rider Kim Stacey finished third.Sabine Wehr-Hasler from Germany took the lead in the World Cup standings by finishing fifth today. Tricia Byrnes who ended up 12th place today is in second overall ahead of Kim Stacey.

The men also suffered from the conditions but it turned out not to be as bad as for the women. Sweden took both first and second place with Marcus Jonsson and Anders Bjoerck. “It was really difficult,” Jonsson said, “you couldn’t get as much pressure on the edge as you usually do and you had to stay smoother right on top of the snow. The key today was to get less rotations, go for more straight airs, get speed and height.” American Rob Kingwill went into third and keeps the lead in the World Cup standings.