Nielson, Ricker on top for Canada
Last year Canadas Jasey-Jay Anderson became the first Canadian to win the overall World Cup snowboard championships. Last week, the 26-year-old from Mt. Tremblant became the first snowboarder ever to win the overall World Cup title two years in a row, as well as two consecutive snowboard cross titles.
Heading into the World Cup finals at Tandadalen, Sweden, Anderson trailed Mathieu Bozzetto of France in the overall standings by 13 points, 719 to 706.
While Anderson stepped it up in the finals, winning the snowboard cross event and finishing third in the parallel slalom, Bozzetto essentially fell down, failing to advance in the overall standings. When the action wrapped up on March 23 with the snowboard cross (SBX), Anderson had 792 points, while Bozzetto remained at 719. In third, with 622 points, was Nicolas Huet of France.
According to Anderson, it wasnt the best season hes ever had on the circuit, but all is well that ends well.
"I had a roller coaster season," Anderson told reporters. "It was a much more difficult task to win this winter. The International Ski Federation changed its points system and I also competed in fewer events. But a last minute victory like that certainly made it exciting."
In the snowboard cross final, Anderson stuck to his game plan and was first out of the gate, and first heading into the first turn.
"The finals were clean and went as planned," he said. "The most important aspect in the snowboard cross is to win your starts. If you do that you should win 80 per cent of the time."
In the last race of the day, Anderson edged out Alexander Koller of Austria, Guillaume Sachot of France, and Drew Neilson of North Vancouver. Neilson, who spends a lot of time training in Whistler, went on to finish second in the overall standings.
Anderson finished the SBX season with 4,700 points to Neilsons 4,090. Anderson had three gold medals, a silver and two fifth place finishes, including one in Whistler last December.
Nielson, a former X-Games champion, won silver medals, two bronze medals, and was fourth at Whistler.
Aymerick Mermoz of France was third in the overall standings with 3,510 points.
The French team was spectacular this year, putting more athletes in the top of the rankings than any other country.
Both the final womens SBX of the season and the womens SBX title went to Doris Krings of Austria, who edged out Julie Pomagalski, Karine Ruby and Marie Laissus of France in the last race. Laissus was second in the World Cup standings, followed by Ursula Fingerlos of Austria.