Canuck snowboarders look to change history


Snowboarder Alexa Loo proved to be ready for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games after winning a parallell giant slalom silver medal at a World Cup in Kreischberg, Austria, early this year.

Loo, member of Canada’s women’s team, is a strong contender for a spot on the Olympic podium, and seems to be confident after having the best result of her life.

“I’m sitting pretty well now because I have a second place,” said Loo, to The Canadian Press. “It totally turns things around.”

A serious contender at the Olympics is also Dominique Maltais.

The Petite-Riviere Saint-Francois native won bronze at the Turin Games in 2006 and is the only Canadian woman that has ever won an Olympic medal in this sport.

Earlier this year she took a silver medal at the snowboard cross World Cup, her 15th podium of her career.

Maltais, 28, will again meet American Lindsey Jacobellis, who is looking for some redemption after a disaster at the last Olympics.

Jacobellis fell down and went out of the track right before crossing the finish line, being passed by the Swiss Tanja Frieden. The slip cost her the gold.

Both competitors Maltais and Jacobellis do not have to worry about snowboard cross champion Frieden, after she retired on Jan. 26 due to injury.

Youngsters in halfpipe

The halfpipe competition will have the youngest athlete of the Canadian snowboard team, the 17-year-old Palmer Taylor.

“I am a lot more excited [than nervous] being the youngest,” Taylor told website The Connection. “I don’t have any pressure on me.”

Taylor will taste the sweetness of her first Olympic Games where she will have the opportunity to ride against American gold medalist Hannah Teter, and prove her skills.

Joining these Canadian riders are Caroline Calve of Montreal and Kimiko Zakreski of Calgary, in the parallel giant slalom team.

Maelle Ricker of Squamish, will participate in snowboard cross along with Maltais. Sarah Conrad of Halifax, and Mercedes Nicoll of Whistler, B.C., will complete the halfpipe team.

This event will take place at Cypress Mountain located in the northwest side of Vancouver. The venue has the capacity to host 12,000 spectators for snowboard, and 8,000 for halfpipe.

Recent weather changes on the west coast and the lack of snow at the venue turned on the red lights for the Vancouver Olympic Committee.

The organizers put their efforts together to bring snow to the mountain and crossed fingers that natural snow will come eventually.