Snowboarders will have one last chance to claim the coveted crystal globes this week, when the World Para Snowboard World Cup makes its fourth and final stop in Big White, Canada, from 6-8 February.
Seventy-three snowboarders will compete in snowboard-cross and banked slalom at the World Cup Finals, which is also the last major competition before the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
France’s Cecile Hernandez-Cervellon is coming off a confidence-boosting victory at the latest World Cup in Pyha, Finland, and is close to securing her fourth straight overall World Cup titles in the women’s SB-LL1.
But the USA’s Brenna Huckaby is still within reach of the title and has a good feel for the courses in Big White, where she won both cross and banked slalom World Championship titles last year.
The two are also neck-in-neck for the banked slalom overall title, while the USA’s Nicole Roundy will jostle with the two for a shot at the snowboard-cross prize.
The Netherlands’ Lisa Bunschoten is undefeated in the women’s SB-LL2 category throughout the circuit and can wrap it up with a second consecutive crystal globe.
The USA is in pole position to collect all three crystal globes in the men’s competition with its athletes leading in all categories. But they will all need strong performances in Big White to ensure they take the title.
While Mike Shea leads the men’s SB-LL2 standings, Finland’s double-reigning world champion Matti Suur-Hamari, the USA’s Evan Strong and Japan’s Gurimu Narita are all still contenders for the overall crystal globe.
A thrilling tie-breaking victory for Shea in the banked slalom in Landgraaf, Netherlands, was huge in giving him the lead in the event’s World Cup standings.
Suur-Hamari and Strong are locked for the lead in the snowboard-cross SB-LL2 standings, and a win for either in Big White could decide who takes home the title.
Mike Schultz’s double victory from Pyha put him at the top in the SB-LL1 overall standings, with his compatriot Noah Elliott trailing in second. Schultz is favourite to sweep both banked slalom and snowboard-cross World Cup titles in Big White. But young Dutch rider Chris Vos – who won both world titles last year – could yet stop the American.
Mike Minor is close to scooping up another overall World Cup accolade in the men’s SB-UL, as well as the banked slalom title. But France’s Maxime Montaggioni could steal the snowboard-cross event, in which he leads the standings.
The Big White World Cup Finals will begin on Tuesday (6 February) with snowboard-cross and finish on Thursday (8 February) with banked slalom. Live results will be available on World Para Snowboard's website.