Pushing Hard At The Telluride Snowboard Cross.

December 21st, 2009


 

The recent Snowboard Cross (SBX) World cup event in Telluride, Colorado proved two things. Number one the Olympic course is going to be very challenging, and number two snowboard cross is the sport where former pro riders go to finish up their careers.

The SBX field at Telluride, was a mix of young riders pushing for Olympic selection, experienced riders going through the motions and former big names of the sport having one last go at glory. Ross ‘The Boss’ Powers was one of these names, the 2002 Olympic halfpipe gold medallist, US Open winner and X-Games medallist is on a quest to qualify for the 2010 games in the sport of SBX. Joining him in the ex-superstar status is former Mr X-Games Shaun Palmer, the multiple X-Games gold medallist, former World Mountain Bike Champion, ex-ski cross racer and ex-motorbike racer, is also trying to qualify for the 2010 Games. Both of these former stars made the finals at Telluride with Palmer finishing up in 21st, while The Boss stamped his name as a possible Olympic contender finishing in third, the highest placed American and ahead of reigning gold medallist Seth Wescott.
Jeff Ihaksi was the man responsible for the course at Telluride, he will also be the man in charge for the Olympics. Riders described the Telluride course as “challenging” and “tricky” with many feeling it suited the freestyle rider over the racer. It was a course that either rewarded or penalised bravery, as Australian Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin found out in the quarterfinals. While battling for the lead Chumpy went for a move that he described as “so fine it can come off and put you in first, or end up the way it did, in the b netting (safety net).” Unfortunately this time it put him in the nets. Chumpy was uninjured, and while disappointed, is glad he is taking a more aggressive approach to his riding, as it’s something he has been working on.
The other Australian in the field, Damon Hayler, also made the finals, with a “killer start”, as he described it, in his heat. Damon was slowed by a crash mid race that lost him the advantage and he finished fourth.
Going into the men’s SBX final the US had the strongest representation with nine riders in the 32 rider field, however it was Frenchman Pierre Vaultier who took the win with Robert Fagan from Canada in second. Of the Australians, Damon ended up in 25th overall and Chumpy was in a respectable 15th, ahead of Shaun Palmer and former FIS World Overall SBX Champion (2006/2007) Canadian Drew Neilson.
In the Women’s the Canadians dominated with Maelle Richer winning and Dominique Maltais coming in third, Simona Meiler of Switzerland took second spot. Stephanie Hickey, Australia’s lone female competitor, missed the finals and finished in 25th position.
The next World Cup SBX event takes place in Bad Gastein, Austria, where Damon will be looking to repeat his performance from January 2009 where he won the event.

For more information about Alex “Chumpy” Pullin and Damon Hayler visit their athlete pages.
for full results from Telluride click here

 

World Cup SBX telluride, Colorado
19-12-2009 Women’s results.

  1. RICKER Maelle CAN
  2. MEILER Simona SUI
  3. MALTAIS Dominique CAN
  4. FRANCON Mellie SUI
  5. OLAFSEN Helene NOR
  6. POZZO Oceane FRA
  7. JEKOVA Alexandra BUL
  8. GULINI Faye USA

World Cup SBX telluride, Colorado
19-12-2009 Men’s results.

  1. VAULTIER Pierre FRA
  2. FAGAN Robert CAN
  3. POWERS Ross USA
  4. BAKES David CZE
  5. DE LE RUE Xavier FRA
  6. WESCOTT Seth USA
  7. HOLLAND Nate USA
  8. WATANABE Graham USA

Words:: Paul Colby
Images:: Getty Images