MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, Calif. – Sébastien Toutant of Montreal negotiated strong winds to earn the bronze medal Wednesday in men’s slopestyle at the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix and highlighted a strong day for Canadian riders.
Eric Beauchemin of the U.S., took the men’s title, Yuki Kadono of Japan was second and Toutant third. Tyler Nicholson of North Bay, Ont., was fourth and Maxence Parrot of Bromont, Que., the X Games big air silver medallist last month, was sixth.
Wind speeds were measured up to 40 kilometres an hour.
‘’It was difficult to gain speed on the jumps because of the wind,’’ said Toutant, second at the 2014 Dew Tour. ‘’I wasn’t able to do the run I planned because of the conditions but I’m pleased with my performance. The decision to go with a safer run was the right one and allowed me to get on the podium.’’
In women’s slopestyle, Jenna Blasman of Kitchener, Ont., fifth at the recent World Championships, was fourth. Hailey Langland made it an American golden sweep , Anna Gasser of Austria was second and Enni Rukajaervi of Finland third.
‘’The wind was a huge factor in everyone’s riding at this competition,’’ said Blasman, 21. ‘’This made it quite clear that we had to play it safer, although some girls were still throwing risky runs which was awesome. If the weather was better it could have been a real show.‘’
‘’Still I got a real boost of confidence as a rider for my level of riding. Results are really important to me but I have always valued progression more.’’
With a storm in the forecast for Thursday and even stronger winds expected, organizers decided to have the qualifying and finals on the same day.
‘’It was a long day but with the forecast it’s what we needed to do,’’ said Toutant.
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