Snowboard World Cup heads to Copper Mountain
Canadian Olympic Team Official Website – Jan 17, 2014
The world’s top 10 riders gather in Colorado beginning on Friday (17 January) for the opening World Cup of the year, with less than 50 days to go until the debut of para-snowboard cross at Sochi 2014.
With less than 50 days to go until the debut of para-snowboard cross at Sochi 2014, the world’s best snowboarders are in Copper Mountain, Colorado in the USA for the next round of the IPCAS World Cup which starts on Friday (17 January).
Competing at a home World Cup for the first time this season are Team USA and current joint world No. 1 riders Keith Gabel and Evan Strong, alongside women’s No. 2 Amy Purdy.
Gabel has already collected one podium finish this season with a second place in the lower-limb impairment races at the opening World Cup in Landgraaf, the Netherlands, behind teammate, Michael Shea. Evan Strong makes his 2013-14 World Cup debut having not travelled to Landgraaf.
Belgium’s Denis Colle is the most highly ranked European male snowboarder heading into Sochi, but that position could be threatened by Dutchman Merijk Koek. Compatriot Chris Vos, who finished in the top 10 for 2012-13, could also be a contender for the podium.
Other world top-10 riders to look out for include current No. 6 Tyler Mosher of Canada and No. 8 Tyler Burdick of the USA.
In the men’s upper-limb impairment races American world No. 3 Marc Dervaes heads out.
Also making up the 14-strong American team, the biggest contingent at Copper Mountain from is 23-year-old Heidi-Jo Duce and Nicole Roundy. Both women have proven themselves to be consistently strong, with Duce currently sitting comfortably third in the world rankings and Roundy in fifth.
It will take a lot however for the women’s lower-limb impairment field to halt the charge of veteran Dutch rider Bibian Mentel-Spee. A multiple world champion and former able-bodied snowboarder, Mentel-Spee sits firmly atop the world rankings and is proving difficult to shift.
Her closest rival and the athlete most likely to take the crown is Purdy. Whilst the two are great friends off the slopes, Purdy is determined to catch the 41-year-old by the time Sochi comes around, hoping to use the home advantage like Mentel-Spee did to claim victory at their last competitive meeting in Landgraaf.
Mentel-Spee’s teammate Lisa Bunschoten rode to third in the same competition and will face equal world No. 5 American Cristina Albert at Copper Mountain.
Next up for riders is a move to Big White, Canada, where the next IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup will take place from 25-26 January, before heading back to Europe on 6 February for races in Maribor, Slovenia.
The climax to the World Cup season takes place in La Molina, Spain, from 10-12 February with the IPCAS Snowboard World Cup finals.
The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games run from 7-16 March.