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Snowboarders Face Marijuana Charges

March 3, 1998

MINDEN, Nev. (AP) _ Less than a month after marijuana nearly cost a Canadian snowboarder an Olympic gold medal, one of his countrymen and another international competitor were jailed on pot-related charges.

Michael Kildevaeld, a member of Denmark’s Olympic snowboarding team, and Canadian Frederic Brett Tippie were arrested Saturday after a sheriff’s deputy stopped their car for traveling 83 mph in a 55 mph speed zone on U.S. 395 near Topaz Lake.

The two were to appear in Douglas County Justice Court on Wednesday.

Another passenger, American snowboarder Anton David Pogue, of Hood River, Ore., was asleep and was not arrested.

Deputies said they smelled marijuana smoke while speaking to Kildevaeld, the driver. A drug-sniffing dog found about two grams of suspected marijuana and a pipe inside the car.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Lance Modispacher said Kildevaeld, 31, admitted the substance belonged to him.

Kildevaeld was charged with felony marijuana possession and misdemeanor charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and driving under the influence. His bail was set at $7,000.

Tippie, 29, of Kamloops, British Columbia, was charged with being under the influence of marijuana, a felony. He was being held on $5,000 bail.

The traffic stop occurred within two miles north of the California-Nevada line _ an unattained boundary not without significance.

Based on the amount of suspected marijuana found in the car, Kildevaeld and Tippie probably would have received a ticket if the stop had occurred in California, lawyers said. In Nevada, the same amount constitutes a felony.

Still, both likely face suspended sentences and probation as mandated under Nevada law for first-time offenders, the district attorney’s office said.

The three had attended a snowboarding event at Kirkwood Ski Resort south of Lake Tahoe and were traveling to Big Bear Ski Resort in Southern California, Modispacher said.

Kildevaeld and Tippie declined an interview request by The Associated Press, but told The (Gardnerville, Nev.,) Record-Courier that they made a mistake.

Jail ``is a real eye-opener,″ Tippie told the newspaper. ``It’s scary. I wish I was snowboarding right now, not behind bars and looking out a 4-inch window, looking at the mountains.″

``We were relaxing,″ Kildevaeld said. ``We just took it a little too far.″

The arrests mark the second marijuana-related controversy in the sport of snowboarding.

Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati was temporarily stripped of his Olympic goal medal at Nagano, Japan, last month when a drug test revealed traces of marijuana in his system. An appeals panel reinstated the medal and Rebagliati said traces of the drug in his test came from inhaling secondhand smoke at a party.

Kildevaeld finished 15th behind Rebagliati in the men’s giant slalom at Nagano.

Tippie, who did not compete in the Olympics, finished 31st at the snowboarding world championships in Italy a year ago.

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