Team Alberta was left on the sidelines in a spray of snow as Quebec and Ontario swept the snowboard giant slalom races at the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Tuesday was a day of highs and lows at Canyon Ski Resort.
Alberta’s best-ranked snowboarders, Rori Wulff and Kayci Deitsch, never made it past the one-eighth finals.
By contrast, Team Quebec snowboarders Erika Gaujacq and Arnaud Gaudet finished on top of the podium, winning gold for the women’s and men’s events.
There was also an exciting, photo-finish race for the men’s bronze medal — with only a split second between third-place snowboarder Felix Carpentier of Quebec and Jamie Behan of Ontario, who ended up in fourth.
However, a bad wipeout earlier in the afternoon raised concerns when Ontario snowboarder Katie Lindsey was carried down the hill on a stretcher.
Although her Ontario teammates, Mikey Nazwaski and Alison Friebel, went on to win silver medals in the men’s and women’s slalom events, their Team Ontario coach Danielle Courchesne was left with mixed feelings.
Sure, it was exciting to see two Team Ontario athletes take the podium, said Courchesne, but she remained concerned for Lindsey, who had to have her ankle X-rayed at Red Deer hospital for a possible break.
The wipeout, which happened mid-way through the finals, also cast a pall on Gaujacq.
Fortunately, there were no catastrophes in the women’s big final race, when Gaujacq prevailed over Ontario’s Friebel.
Gaujacq later said winning the snowboard giant slalom race at the 2019 Canada Winter Games is a very big deal to her.
While Tuesday’s race wasn’t the best time of her career, the 15-year-old Saint-Constant, Que. native said “it was still a good race. I loved it.”
Her Quebec teammate, Gaudet, won the gold in the men’s race, but only after Ontario’s Nazwaski stumbled midway through the last race to end up with silver.
Gaudet, an 18-year-old from Montcalm, Que., said “it’s always more fun, more exciting, to win when the race is tight…” But he still felt it was “a great, great day.”
Another of his Team Quebec snowboarders, Mariska Pelletier, won the bronze medal in the women’s slalom after beating out teammate, Anne Gagne, who ended up fourth. Gagne had previously won the gold medal in the Canada Winter Games for women’s snowboardcross.