International riders clean up at X-games qualifier
No Tahoe skiers or boarders qualified for the Winter X Games on Thursday in the two-day 2003 Paul Mitchell X-Qualifier at Northstar-at-Tahoe. Instead, the event was largely dominated by international competitors from as far away as Japan and France.
Of the 15 competitors to earn berths in the X Games skiercross and boardercross, seven were from beyond the U.S., including Hiroomi Takizawa, 29, from Tokyo, Japan.
Justin Glick (27, from Boulder, Colo.), Masayuki Akiba (35, Nagano, Japan) and Jesper Brugge (26, France) also qualified for the X Games skiercross.
The top four competitors in each division earned a berth.
In the women’s department Ashleigh McIver, 19, from Whistler, Canada took first, followed by Wendy Lumby (36, Calgary, Canada) and Sasha Warlow (19, Bellingham, Wash.). A fourth competitor was not listed in women’s results.
Despite several snowboarders from the Tahoe area competing for a shot at the X-Games, only a handful made it to the semifinals, including Brady Gunsch, head snowboard coach at Sierra-at-Tahoe.
“I ended up taking myself out. I got a little behind in the top rollers … I was trying to play catch-up and pushed it a little too hard,” he said.
Matt Shrive, of Reno, finished fifth, missing a X Games berth by one place.
Lucas Demlow, 25 from Gunnison, Colo., finished first in the boardercross finals, followed by Michael Rosengren (21, Bozeman, Mont.), Ryan Hickey (21, Corbiel, Canada) and Ryan Neptune (28, Boise, Idaho).
“They’re all guys that have been racing for years,” said Gunsch.
In the women’s boardercross, Jamie Worner, 21, from Fernie, Canada led the pack, followed by Shannon Dunfey (19, Intervale, N.H.) Wendy Chan (27, San Francisco) and Jules Glende (27, Vail, Colo.).
Riders will now head to the Paul Mitchell Ultra-Cross, a competition which pairs skiers and snowboarders in a unique format that combines the two disciplines in consecutive timed runs. The events boasts a $15,000 purse. It will be held at Northstar-at-Tahoe on Saturday and Sunday.
The event will be televised on Fox Sports Network on Feb. 7 at 3:30 p.m. in all time zones.
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