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Snowboard racers shut out in opening event

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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 th place, followed by Jasey-Jay Anderson in 21 st . Michael Lambert was 35 th .

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 th . Kimiko Zakreski and Constance Boisvert were 34 th and 42 nd respectively.

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.

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