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Canadians Fall Amidst Swedish Conspiracy
Halfpipe Finals: Whistler-Blackcomb, BC
results photos
December 12, 1998

  • ListenFredrik Sterner Interview
  • 12/9: Quarterpipe Session
  • 12/10: Super G
  • 12/12: Halfpipe Finals
  • 12/13: Snowboard Cross

    Fredrik Sterner
    Fredrik Sterner (SWE)
    Today American homegirl Tricia Byrnes and Sweden's Fredrik Sterner battled diminishing conditions and selective selection process for the World Cup win here at Whistler.

    Ross Powers took second with only one tenth of a technical point away from Fredrik's powerful performance. Fredrik's first final run was tall and strong with a huge switch seven rodeo at the bottom. It was obvious everyone knew the Swede had already won. Fredrik's cousin Marcus Jonsson dropped into third place followed closely by Zach Horwitz.

    Tricia Byrnes
    Tricia Byrnes (USA)
    The young French style of Vidal Doriane followed Tricia throughout and she took second with spins. American Kim Stacy showed good amplitude for the amount of glue in the transition. Her teammate Michele Taggart consistently stuck a few clean 540's but was pushed back to fourth by Kim's consistent height out of the pipe.

    The Canadians found little hope before the finals even ensued. The Swedish brothers had apparently paid off the burly young Ross Powers to intimidate Canadian threats Derek Heidt and Emanuel Krebs. Apparently the two lone holdouts from yesterdays qualification scam.

    Ross Powers
    Ross Powers (USA)
    The qualifications went in two rounds, each with three women and five men. Then the finals went in three rounds of the same process. Today's winner Tricia Byrnes admitted "it's really hard to get in the top eight or top six and then when you finally get there, you want to be able to just ride and go for it, but you have to keep holding back till you're top three, so it's a little bit frustrating."

    Even though Canadian pipe specialists Natasza Zurek and Krista Bradford had gotten 36.1 and 36.4 respectively. They had to run again and try for the second qualification round. They didn't fair as well and lost out to Canadian separatist Maelle Ricker, who's top score was a 33.6. The same fate fell to Canadians Ben Wainwright and Sylvain Rheault, and it was more than just a coincidence that some eight representatives from Sweden were milling about.

    Doriane Vidal
    Dorian Vidal (FRA)
    Although Tricia didn't see the correlation, I smelt myself and knew there was something to it.

    When asked why Swedes are better riders Fredrik claimed to not know, but said the best riders are from Lexond. It just happens that's also where Fredrik and partner in crime Jonas Gunnarsson will be spending their holidays. Isn't that where the official scoring sponsor Swatch is from?

    I barged into the scoring tent and demanded to see the files. After several attempts to force me to leave, I sat down at one of the laptops and attempted to decifer the Swedish code. This is about when some of the ski patrol entered and "escorted" me out of the finish area.

    Zach Horwitz
    Zach Horwitz (USA)
    The pipe remained amazingly clean given the size of flakes and falling frequency piling a total of 21cm today. Goggle preparation and coffee soon became huge resources in the Canadian camp. The Swedes seemed to have an endless supply of goggles and wax that they shared with the Americans alone. I suspected it had to do with the underground Swedish exchange rate.

    All in all, the day was consumed by the storm and anxiety that the top remained closed with an expected 60cm of new snow in the next 24 hours I might not make it in on Monday.

    Hans Prosl, riding pow instead of covering quals for The Mountain Zone

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