Mosher crowned king of the world

Whistler rider wins world adaptive snowboard championships

By Megan Grittani-Livingston

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Whistler’s Tyler Mosher claimed victory over a Kiwi and a Canuck as he sped to the top of the podium at the inaugural World Adaptive Snowboard Championships in Cardrona, New Zealand, last Thursday (July 30).

Rocketing down a slingshot snowboardcross-style course, Mosher posted a time of 75.99 seconds to grab the gold over New Zealand rider Carl Murphy, who won silver with his time of 78.25 seconds, and Ian Lockey of Rossland, who claimed bronze with his time of 78.6 seconds.

Mosher, an incomplete paraplegic who is also working toward competing at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in cross-country skiing, rose to the top among the athletes from five countries who competed at the championships.

“It’s anyone’s game, and was a tough competition. I’m so honoured. I wasn’t snowboarding that well leading into the event, so I was happy to push that aside for the race,” Mosher said in a statement from event organizers.

Mosher and Lockey, who finished first and second, respectively, in the most recent World Snowboard Federation (WSF) World Cup event in Canada, made the Canadian adaptive snowboarding program stand out at the competition.Ottawa’s Mike Fisher was also scheduled to ride in the event.

The event was part of the 2009 Adaptive Snow Sports Festival and National Championships. Biban Mental of the Netherlands claimed the win in the women’s race, followed by American Nicole Roundy in second and Australia’s Jodie Thring in third.

Speaking from New Zealand, where he’s staying until Aug. 26 to put in some cross-country training time, Mosher said the closeness of the unadjusted times posted by the three top riders — himself, Murphy and Mental — says a lot about the high calibre of competition at the event.

“The more competitive, the better, because we’re trying to develop the sport and ideally get it into the Paralympics in 2014,” Mosher said.

He said the world championship course was fun and the whole event was run professionally, attracting much interest from media and others. New Zealand, like Canada, has really embraced adaptive snowboarding, he said.

After finishing third and fourth in giant slalom and slalom races, respectively, at the New Zealand national championships in the two days leading up to the world championship event, Mosher said he felt wasn’t racing well. But he pulled it off when it counted, as is his wont, as an athlete who tends to do a bit better under pressure.

“I was really happy with my runs. I trained all week on the course, which was nice… There’s room for improvement. I was just lucky that I squeaked by,” he said.

He’s now finished with snowboarding until after the 2010 Paralympics, in which he has unofficially secured a berth already to race in cross-country events, and he’s excited to be part of the Paralympics in his hometown.

Mosher is putting in long days of cross-country training, working with the national team, and he expressed gratitude to the people he works with for taking care of his business while he’s away, and to his understanding clients.