In what veterans called a “dark day,” the Canadian alpine
snowboard team was completely shut out of the playoff rounds at the World Cup
opener parallel slalom at Landgraaf, Netherlands. It’s an indoor venue, and the
snow is usually on the soft and bumpy side for athletes.
None of the six Canadians racing made the top-16 playoff round.
On the men’s side, Matthew Morison came closest, in 20
followed by Jasey-Jay Anderson in 21
. Michael Lambert was 35
The win went to Benjamin Karl of Austria, followed by American
rider Adam Smith. Patrick Bussler of Germany edged out Rok Flander of Slovenia
in the bronze medal slalom.
On the women’s side the top Canadian was B.C.’s Alexa Loo in 27
Kimiko Zakreski and Constance Boisvert were 34
Dores Guenther and Heidi Neururer of Austria battled it out for
the gold, with Guenther finishing on top. Nicolien Sauerbreij of the
Netherlands took the bronze medal, preventing an all-Austrian podium by edging
out Claudia Riegler.
The Canadians were at a loss to explain the results.
“We were miserable, it was a dark day,” said Anderson.
“It’s only the second time I’ve seen this happen,” said coach
Sylvain Jean. “Our team wasn’t able to adapt to the conditions. The snow here
was softer than at our training base in Germany.”
Morison, who was on the podium four times last season including
a gold medal in Italy, knew it was going to be a tough day.
“I had to ride on the board I used two years ago,” he said. “I
just received the one I ordered from Switzerland two months ago but it wasn’t
suited for me. On the video my rides were perfect but I couldn’t gain any
speed. I needed a livelier board.”
The next race for the alpine team is at Arosa, Switzerland from Dec. 19-21. The second snowboardcross also takes place at Arosa. The next World Cup snowboard event is a halfpipe competition Oct. 30-31 in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.