Squamish's MaŽlle Ricker won a world championship on home snow Saturday (Jan. 26) during the S3 Snowboardcross at the Mazda Snowboard FIS World Championships in Stoneham, Que.
After qualifying first, Ricker was able to maintain her lead throughout the final to take home the gold. Ricker's first-place finish also secured her a spot at the 2014 Olympic Games in Russia, where she'll seek to defend the Olympic title she won at Cypress Mountain in 2010.
“The last run was so intense. I tried to have a really good start and I knew my board was really fast. We worked so much on our technique and on off-snow training to get quick, fast legs,” Ricker said.
Dominique Maltais of Petite-Riviere-St Francois, Que., joined her teammate on the podium, taking home the silver medal. Norway's Helene Olafsen won the bronze.
“I have to go back to basics. There are some things I want to improve. I reached some of my personal goals today. It's another step towards next year and the Olympic Games,” Maltais said.
On the men's side, Australia's Alex Pullin won the gold medal. Austria's Markus Schairer finished second and Norway's Stian Sivertzen rounded out the podium in third. Rob Fagan of Squamish was the top-performing Canadian in the men's field, finishing in eighth place.
“It's definitely not what I was coming here for,” Fagan said. “A couple things happened in the semifinals. I'm not super happy but I'm satisfied. I was in third but it's not really the place you want to be with those guys and I tried to pass Pierre Vaultier and he put me to the gate and I kind of slowed down which cost me my spot.”