Ice Skating: Trash-Talkin' Canucks

Outside magazine, April 1995

Ice Skating: Trash-Talkin' Canucks
By Todd Balf

From Les Arcs, France, to Montreal, Canada, mild winter weather in December and January disrupted almost anything requiring the cold white stuff. The biennial world championships of alpine skiing, scheduled for Sierra Nevada, Spain, last January, were canceled for the first time ever. The world mountain-bike speed challenge, slated for the ski slopes of Les Arcs in January, was postponed for a lack of snow. And in Montreal, an all-star barrel-jumping event featuring St. Bruno, Quebec, skaters Patrick and Sylvain Leclerc, the world champion and Canadian national champion, respectively, was cast into doubt because of balmy weather. With Sylvain, 18, calling his older brother beatable, and Patrick, 23, describing his sibling as grossly naive, the face-off had been shaping up like a heavyweight prizefight. Alas, a late-January thaw set in, and you can't just go leaping over 16 barrels at once on flimsy ice. Said Gilles Leclerc, father and jumping mentor to both boys: "I guess it just wasn't meant to be." Stay tuned. A rematch will be scheduled.

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