With the World Para Snowboard Championship in Canada fast approaching, the USA’s Amy Purdy will make a long awaited season debut this week competing in NorAm and World Cup events at Lake Tahoe, California, USA.
Both competitions will hold snowboard-cross events, with the NorAms running 24-25 January, followed by two days of World Cup action (26-27 January).
Held back all season by an injury, the Sochi 2014 bronze medallist-turned-celebrity has not competed on the international scene since last March’s US Nationals where she won in snowboard-cross. Beginning Tuesday (24 January), she will test herself with more than 30 other snowboarders from nearly seven countries at the Sierra at Tahoe Resort looking to warm up ahead of the World Championships that kick off 1 February in Big White, Canada.
While all eyes will be on the “Dancing with the Stars” star, her teammate Nicole Roundy is the one to watch in the women’s SB-LL1. Roundy sits at No. 2 in the overall World Cup rankings for her category and will look to show she is in position to better the two bronze medals she claimed at the 2015 World Championships in La Molina, Spain. Roundy has yet to top the podium this season, and victories in Lake Tahoe might be just the boost she needs for Big White 2017.
Australia’s Joany Badenhorst highlights the women’s SB-LL2, where she is 400 points from second in the overall World Cup standings. So far the 22-year-old has three third-place finishes from the 2016-17 season.
US snowboarders will continue to draw the attention on home snow, including Evan Strong.
The Sochi 2014 gold medallist is currently in second place in the men’s SBLL2 overall rankings. Solid performances this week can set him up for success at Big White 2017, where he can improve on the two world silvers he won in 2015. His last competition was the World Cup in Lanfgraaf, the Netherlands, where he split a victory and runner-up finish in banked slalom.
Right behind Strong in the rankings is teammate and Paralympic silver medallist Mike Shea. The 33-year-old will also get his first run in snowboard-cross this season.
The USA’s overall World Cup leader Mike Minor headlines the men’s SB-UL. As last season’s banked slalom World Cup champion, Minor has gone undefeated in 2016-17. He will test himself in snowboard-cross for the first time this week. Australia’s Simon Patmore, who saw four World Cup podium finishes from last season, could challenge Minor.
Complete results and competition reviews can be found at World Para Snowboard’s website.
The World Para Snowboard NorAms will run from Tuesday to Wednesday (24-25 January), followed by the World Cup races from Thursday to Friday (26-27 January). They are the last competitions before the 2017 World Para Snowboard Championships take place in Big White, which will feature around 80 athletes from 25 countries.