The Asian part of our traveling season is now done and Canada came home with some great results.
The trip started with a stop at Sungwoo Resort in Korea. This is the location of the World Championships next year so a good show was needed by all, the athletes and the organizing committee.
I came to Sungwoo a few years ago to do a World Cup halfpipe, and it wasn’t by any means my favourite stop on the tour. Nonetheless, the resort really stepped it up for this year’s event.
The pipe was in great shape for the contest after days of preparation and alterations with many hours of blood, sweat, and tears. The snowboardcross course was well done considering the slope which was chosen for the builder. The alpine run was beautiful and the snow for the racers was picture perfect. Never have I’ve seen so many smiling faces from my race teammates.
The first event of the week was snowboardcross. We qualified fairly well as a team into finals. Dominique Maltais and I managed to be the only ones who snuck into the top five though. I ended up on top after a close race with my American rival Lindsey Jacobellis and Dom won the small finals to take the fifth place position. Our best male finisher was Rob Fagan in tenth.
Halfpipe followed the next day with more sunny skies and huge airs. My roomie and good friend Sarah Conrad was sixth after a trying couple of months healing a strange foot injury. Mercedes Nicoll just missed the finals and ended up in seventh. Crispin Lipscomb and Justin Lamouruex both made the men’s finals but couldn’t compete with the ridiculously huge airs and big spins from the Japanese team.
Matt Morison and Jasey Jay Anderson were looking great in the parallel giant slalom but both went down in the first round of finals. Anderson blew out his binding and slid right through his competitors’ course, narrowly missing the racer and avoiding imminent disaster.
Japan was the next stop on our Asian tour. We were at a brand new resort in the Gifo region of Japan. The town of Takayama was quaint and very picturesque with old Japanese-style architecture throughout. There were many temples to visit and great little guided walks through the old town.
The mountain was equally beautiful with lots of fresh snow and periods of sunny skies. Luckily for the snowboardcross team, it was sunny for our race. Again the girls team dominated and I got my second World Cup victory in a row to be back in the lead of the World Cup tour standings. Maltais again won the small finals. Drew Neilson fought hard all day and walked away with an impressive sixth place after a hard day of bumping and passing.
The pipe team also threw down, this time on the men’s side. Jeff Bachelor battled the snowstorm well and grabbed the silver medal. Justin Lamoureux also finished with a nice fourth place.
The parallel giant slalom was again a great show for the Canadians. Matt Morison and Jasey-Jay Anderson again made finals and had to duke it out in semi finals. Jasey came out victorious and raced for gold in the next round, while Matt went on the win the bronze medal match up. Alexo Loo made it through the first round of finals on the women’s side but couldn’t sneak into the semis, putting her in seventh at the end of the day.
All and all a great set of results from Japan…too bad it wasn’t the same the week before in Korea at our official test event. The pipe team is now gearing up for a World Cup in Calgary while the racers and snowboardcrossers are getting ready the East coast snowpack of Lake Placid