Paralympic Winter Games
04 - 13 March

Sport Week: Ones to watch for Para Snowboard

The youngest sport at the Winter Paralympics has some top athletes 15 Feb 2022 By Lucy Dominy | For the IPC

Para Snowboard has grown rapidly in popularity since debuting at Sochi 2014. Check out some of the athletes who will hope to emerge as champions at Beijing 2022.

Owen Pick (GBR)

Owen Pick heads to the upcoming Winter Paralympics with a point to prove.

The 30-year-old is determined to win a medal having missed out on the podium on his debut at PyeongChang 2018, and show the world what he is really capable of.

Pick, who competes in the men’s SB-LL2, won silver in both banked slalom at the World Championships in 2017 and 2019.

Ⓒ La Molina 2020 LOC

Chris Vos (NED)

As somewhat of a prodigy, Chris Vos burst onto the international Para Snowboard scene in 2010 at the age of just 12.

While it understandably took him a few years to grow into the life of an elite athlete, once he did, Vos proved to be unstoppable.

Making his debut at Sochi 2014 aged 16, a year later Vos was winning world titles for fun. He left the 2015 World Championships with golds from both the banked slalom and snowboard-cross SB-LL1. He then successfully defended those titles two years later.

At his second Paralympics at PyeongChang 2018, he secured silver in the snowboard-cross, and will be hoping to go one better at Beijing 2022.

Ⓒ Getty Images

Keith Gabel (USA)

Believing himself to be a better snowboarder after the industrial accident which led to the amputation of his left leg, Keith Gabel is one of the pioneers of Para Snowboard.

Debuting in 2011, he has competed at all four World Championships, the debut of the sport at Sochi 2014 and its second outing at PyeongChang 2018.

During that time he has become a world champion in the men’s snowboard-cross SB-LL2 and picked up bronze and silver in the event at two consecutive Paralympics.

Ⓒ Luc Percival

Ben Tudhope (AUS)

Ben Tudhope was the youngest athlete at the Paralympic Winter Games when he competed at Sochi 2014 at the age of 14 years and 91 days. Four years later, he was still the youngest member of the Australian team at PyeongChang 2018.

Even aged 21, he could be considered as a veteran of the sport heading into Beijing 2022.

Tudhope is not just an interesting story because of his age. He has also proved himself to be a medal winner with silver in the men’s snowboard-cross and bronze in the banked slalom at SB-LL2 at the 2021 Worlds.

Ⓒ Anton Lernstål, Swedish Paralympic Committee

Lisa Bunschoten (NED)

Along with her partner Chris Vos, Lisa Bunschoten is one of a series of snowboarders that were recruited and inspired by the late, great Paralympic champion Bibian Mentel-Spee.

Following in the footsteps of her mentor, Bunschoten excels in both the banked slalom and snowboard-cross SB-LL2. The Dutch rider is the reigning world champion in both events. 

At Beijing 2022, Bunschoten will be looking to improve on her silver from the cross and bronze from the banked slalom.

Ⓒ Getty Images

Sandrine Hamel (CAN)

It did not take long after her international debut in 2016 for Sandrine Hamel to step onto the podium.

Taking a top three finish for the first time at a World Cup in 2018, the following year the Canadian secured silver in both the women’s snowboard-cross and banked slalom SB-LL2 at the World Championships.

This came after a respectable Paralympic debut where Hamel finished fifth in both events. 

Most recently, the 24-year-old secured banked slalom bronze at the 2021 World Championships in Lillehammer.

Ⓒ OIS Photos