World Cup: The Netherlands
The team arrived in Europe after a successful start of the season in Dubai. Our next Banked Slalom World Cup competition was in another indoor facility. This time, Snowworld in Landgraaf, The Netherlands. They have hosted a World Cup event ever since the World Para Snowboarding Circuit started.
The course is always tricky and the snow is hard to hold an edge meaning you have to be light on your feet and have a lot of feeling of the contact points on the board to snow. Being patient and stable is always the best way to handle this type of course, as the banks are always tight.
More athletes were competing at this event, I was hoping to continue my winning success and ride as well as I did in Dubai. I was having a really hard time trying to handle the course, struggling with the exits of the banks as I was drifting and washing and not having smooth exits. For the first day of competition, the Europa Cup, I finished 5th. I was able to put down one clean run but still was not fully nailing the course.
The 1st World Cup competition was already upon us. I was confident leading into it, as I progressed with every run and was ready to fully execute the course. I had strong training runs and was pumped to start competeing. I finished the 1st run cleanly, sitting in 3rd with the top 5 riders only 1 second apart. I knew something was missing from my riding, I needed to be more aggressive and have more push and drive in the banks. I had that in my mind going into the 2nd run and performed quite well until 3 quarters of the way down where I made a major mistake. I nearly crashed and lost all my speed. Coming into the finish I was very suprised as the time was still faster then my 1st run. My Canadian teammate Bubz Massie, had a great 2nd run and was able to knock me off the podium, for me to finish 4th. I wasn’t disappointed, actually stoked with my riding ability knowing I had tomorrow to clean up the mistake. A massive surprise for the whole tour, was China’s Sun Qi, a new competitor, won the competition, being able to hold off some of the biggest names in our sport. It was great to see his progression, throwing a few spanners in the works and changing up the game!
The final competition day and the 2nd World Cup, I was determined to execute my perfect run, fixing all the mistakes from the days before. The day went by extremely quick until it was finally time to race. With the final inspection and training runs I knew what to do, searching for places where I could find extra speed. In the 1st run, I was aggressive the whole way through, riding a very high risk for high reward line and pulled it off. I was sitting in 3rd putting down a time of 41.00, beating my run from the previous day by nearly a second and closer then I’ve ever been to the top spot. I let it all on the line in the 2nd run, accidentally making a small mistake early in the course, but felt on fire the rest of the run. I scored an even faster time of 40.94, that kept me in 3rd place!! China’s Sun Qi won the race again and my teammate from Finland and reigning Paralympic Gold Medalist Matti Suur-Hamari took 2nd.
I’m proud of my efforts in Landgaaf, as I accomplished faster times each run I completed. I never gave up and got rewarded with a medal at the end. I am definitely snowboarding the best I ever have been and I’m always suprised and so amazed by the progression of the level of riding the athletes have on the Para Snowboard Circuit.
Until next time,
Carve Your Way