The seasons all become winter, as the search for consistent training on snow becomes more and more important for the Canadian Snowboard Team. The Games are less than 15 months away, which make this year a critical time to polish up technique and push the limits of riding. This season is of enormous importance because it’s not only a World Championship year, but also the start of Olympic qualifying.
Halfpipe, parallel giant slalom, and snowboardcross are the snowboard disciplines that will compete at the Olympics next year. All three of these teams were training this past June and July on Blackcomb Mountain. The pipe team rode at Camp of Champions, while the racers rented a lane on the Horstman T-bar line. The SBX team rode a course that was built on 7 th Heaven before spending a week on Horstman Glacier.
The halfpipe team then went to New Zealand for more riding and their first World Cup. Crispin Lipscomb rode well against a strong contingent of Japanese guys, and at the end of the day Crispin stood on the third place step of the podium. Unfortunately our women’s team did not compete, but they will be back in action in December in Colorado, at the first stop of the U.S. Grand Prix at Breckenridge Resort.
At the moment the pipe team is a bit here and a bit there. As far as I know the boys are at home training, while Jeff Bachelor is finishing up his fall term at university. The girls are a little bit everywhere. Sarah Conrad and Alex Duckworth are in Colorado riding with the Canadian halfpipe ski team. Dominique Vallée is in the midst of an intensive yoga program in Vancouver while training to become an instructor. Mercedes Nicoll is early season riding in Mammoth, California.
In October the pipe team also spent a week in Quebec doing fitness testing. The guys then left for Saas Fee in Switzerland for another World Cup. The competition was more of a fight for survival than a showcase of halfpipe skills, and unfortunately most of our guys didn’t survive. Crispin was the only one to make finals but didn’t have the points to make it on the podium.
The alpine team spent August at Mt. Hood training, and then went on to Farnham Glacier near Panorama for more riding in September. Their first World Cup race was at the usual spot at Landgraff, an indoor hill in Holland, in early October. No one could crack into the top spots in the very short flat parallel slalom course.
The race gang went back to Farnham for more training before heading down to Copper Mountain in Colorado. The crew rode every morning from 6 a.m. until 9 before hitting the gym with the team trainer. They even managed a mountain bike getaway in Moab on one of the weekends.
They finished the trip with a NorAm event in mid November. Kimiko Zakreski won the parallel giant slalom (PGS) and the parallel slalom (PSL), while Matt Morison won the PGS, and Jasey-Jay Anderson was second in PSL.
The snowboardcross team was also busy in the summer months. We went down to Argentina for a month of riding. The snow was fantastic and some of us went a week earlier to capitalize on that. Rob Fagan, Mike Robertson, and I got lucky at Las Lenas. We showed up as a big storm was wrapping up. The next week was sunny and cold. This provided ample freeriding and lots of gorgeous backcountry hiking. The rest of the team then showed for some solid technical riding and a trip farther south for our first World Cup.
The resort of Chapelco was holding a competition for the first time, but the northern Patagonia mountain staff and the event organizing committee did a great job and the course was amazing. We had a perfect track that was not only technical but also long, and to top it off we got to spend lots of time in the air. The course was very challenging for a season opener, especially after riding the same track in Chile for the last six years. Sometimes change is good. I managed to squeak onto the podium in third place. The top guy was Rob Fagan who finished in seventh spot.
Now we have trained in the gym and had a little snow session at Farnham Glacier. Fitness testing in completed and Powder King is our current training spot. The snow is great and the riding is unbelievable. I’m very much looking forward to our second World Cup right before Christmas in Europe.
These early season events coming up are important for all three teams, as qualifying competitions for the World Championships in Korea in January. Now if only we could get some more snow in our neck of the woods…