Five Podiums for Team Canada at the Snow Rodeo FIS Snowboard Slopestyle & Halfpipe World Cups
February 12, 2023 -- Calgary, AB -- The Snow Rodeo FIS Snowboard Halfpipe and Slopestyle World Cups concluded today with high-flying action in the men's and women's slopestyle finals. The weekend's two competitions saw five Canadians stand on the podium, including Darcy Sharpe of Comox, BC, who took gold in men's slopestyle.
Mitsuki Ono (JPN) won women's halfpipe, followed by Elizabeth Hosking (CAN) in second and Berenice Wicki (SUI) in third. With this the final halfpipe competition of the FIS Snowboard World Cup season, Ono's win secured her spot as tour champion. On Friday night, she was awarded the Crystal Globe award recognizing her overall win. Hosking finished second overall on the tour.
This was the second time this season that Hosking, 21 years old and hailing from Longueuil, QC, won silver on the World Cup Circuit. Prior to this year she had never stood on a world cup podium, and with a run that scored 86.00 points she was only 3.75 points shy of the top spot. "It was so much fun to get a pipe finals under the lights on home soil in a perfect pipe!" Said Hosking. "The crowd was so electric and I'm super happy to be able to put on a show for everyone."
Ruka Hirano (JPN) won the men's halfpipe final, followed by Valentino Guseli (AUS) in second and Shuichiro Shigeno (JPN) in third. Like his teammate Ono, Hirano's win secured him the crystal globe. It was Shigeno's first World Cup podium, earned by separating himself from the field with technical double grabs and ambitious tricks through the lower sections of the pipe.
Where the Japanese owned the night in halfpipe, slopestyle finals marked Canada's time to shine with two athletes on the podium in both the men's and women's competitions. Julia Marino (USA) won the women's event with a score of 78.36, followed by Laurie Blouin of Quebec, QC, in second and Jasmine Baird of Georgetown, ON. Blouin scored 76.41, besting her teammate by an incredibly close margin of only 0.2 points.
"I was determined to get the gold, but I'm happy to be able to land a run and get second on home soil," said Blouin. "Now I'm more confident for sure for the World Championships [February 19-March 5 2023 in Bakuriani, Georgia]."
On the men's side, Darcy Sharpe (CAN) won the day, followed by Dusty Henricksen (USA) and Cameron Spalding (CAN) of Mount St. Louis Moonstone, ON. Sharpe's explosive riding turned heads all week. He rode the momentum of qualifying first into a run that scored a whopping 88.85, the highest score ever recorded under the current section-by-section scoring model used at FIS Snowboard Slopestyle World Cups. It was Sharpe's first career World Cup win, and Spalding's first career World Cup podium.
"The course was rail heavy, with four rails and two jumps. I knew coming into the event I had a good shot if I could slick up the metal," said Sharpe, known for his technical rail riding. "I picked a hard rail run and I've been practicing all week, I was so hyped to lace it perfectly in my run."
"It's amazing competing at home," said Spalding. "The fans are always great, and I love competing at COP. I've been coming here for Nationals, and it feels incredible to get my first World Cup podium here."