The snowboard team has been traveling non-stop for the last couple of months and some of us are still on the road. We just finished up with the World Cup finals in Italy and are now getting ready for nationals at Cypress Mountain.
Getting to Valmalenco in the Italian Alps was a bit of a journey that required patience and a lot of traveling. We were all held up in Montreal with delayed and cancelled flights due to snow storms and mechanical issues with the plane. Finally everyone made it across the Atlantic to our countryside hostel.
With little time to prepare, the snowboardcross team had one day of training before the race. The course was extremely flat, not very technical and required very fast wax. Luckily for us, JP our tech, made it to Italy with us.
There was also a nice head wind coming up the course the morning of time trials, so luck needed to be on your side. Dominique Maltais destroyed the rest of the girls in time trials (and some of the men). Derek Wintermans and Simon Bonenfant, from Coquitlam and Montreal, were ranked number one and two going into finals.
With lots of Canadians qualifying well, things were looking good for the afternoon finals. Unfortunately it did not continue that way.
I went out in the first round finishing 11 th — my worst result of the season. The boys could muster no better than a ninth place by Derek. Only Dominique prevailed all the way through to the big final. Again having no luck in the course, Dom fell down in the last banked turn and had to settle for third place.
I was really disappointed with my race in Italy. I wanted to finish my World Cup season well, especially after having such strong races the month before. After Stoneham, Lindsey Jacobellis and I were neck and neck for points to win the overall crystal globe, and I led the overall by 150 points going into Italy. If Lindsey showed up for the finals it might have been one of the most exciting snowboardcross races for women ever. However, she didn’t make it because of sponsor commitments, and had to attend a race in Sun Valley that same weekend. I won the crystal globe, but with a bit of a dark cloud hanging over my head — no Lindsey to race and a crappy last result. Bah!
Dominique was fourth in the overall, Drew Neilson was fifth, and Rob Fagan was eighth to round up the Canadians in the top-10 of the snowboardcross standings.
Matt Morison stepped up to the plate the next day of racing in Italy. He qualified for the finals sitting in 10 th but held nothing back in the afternoon’s head to head racing. Matt won every round right up to the end. He finished the year with an enormous amount of confidence, a lot more experience, and a hunger to better his results next year. Matt also moved up in the overall standings to finish his season in fourth place. Jasey-Jay Anderson ended the season in eighth.
The last day of competition at Valmalenco was the halfpipe. The pipe was tricky to ride, but the boys dug deep and came up big. Three made it to the finals in the afternoon. Brad Martin finished 11 th and Ryan Raush was eighth — a huge result for him. Not only was it Ryan’s first time in a World Cup final, but his result boosted him into the top-30 for the overall standings. That’s an enormous achievement considering it’s his rookie year on the team and a top-30 placement gives Canada another quota spot next year.
The third Canadian in the halfpipe final was Crispin Lipscomb. He stole the show and finished first, another gold in Italy. Jeff Bachelor didn’t attend the finals but still managed third in the overall. Brad was fifth in the standings. Six Canadian men and six Canadian women placed in the top-30 overall pipe results, the most top 30s of any of our three teams.
The pipe team killed it this year despite the serious obstacles they faced. With much less funding than the other disciplines and way more work for the athletes to get themselves around the globe, the pipe squad still improved their riding tremendously and earned some great results. Hopefully these results will help them get more funding and even more chances to steal the show in 2010.