British World Championships medallist Ben Moore has spoken of how far para-snowboarding has come in his country since it was added to the Paralympic programme at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
Moore, who has become one of the sport’s best riders in the men’s upper-limb impaired classification since his debut in 2012, praised the development programme on offer in Great Britain.
“At the beginning it was not that easy and cheap to get into snowboarding, but right now everything is going in the right direction,” he said. “If you start out young, there are grants available to help you and a lot of people to guide you. Within the last few years a lot has changed so it’s really good to see the transition of snowboarding from racing to now being a Paralympic sport.”
Moore won silver in banked slalom and bronze in snowboard-cross at the 2015 IPC Snowboard World Championships in La Molina, Spain, in February. He initially got into competitive snowboarding whilst working as an instructor in Canada in 2011 and is now looking ahead to the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
“To compete at that level and to come out with such high results was amazing, it was such a brilliant feeling,” Moore said. “There’s not many things I can compare it to. I got to race for my country and enjoyed every second of it and to get those results has helped myself and the team a lot.”
The 2015-16 season has started successfully for Moore, with three bronze medals in banked slalom at Europa and World Cup competitions in Landgraaf, the Netherlands.
“This year the course was very good. We had lots of fun and it was much more competitive. However, when you’re standing at the top you just laugh and have a good time with your teammates and other colleagues”.
Moore has been preparing for the new season in Austria and after a holiday break in Great Britain, he is now in the US to train for upcoming events. His aims for 2015-16 are to continue to work as hard as he can and ride as well as he can.
“I love snowboarding and everything that I get from it,” Moore said. “I just hope I can continue to ride the way I’ve been riding in the previous seasons. I have a coach now [Simon Nicholson, Great Britain Adaptive Snowboard Cross Team coach] and he’s going to help me a lot on the slopes trying to pass me all of his knowledge. He’s an ex athlete and an engineer. He’s very interested in the biomechanics and how the body works. Simon is learning more and more about the adaptive side of things and he’s pushing the whole team to the next Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang 2018.
“I want gold, everybody does. We wouldn’t drop in if we didn’t want gold.”
The next big snowboard competition is the IPC Snowboard World Cup in Aspen Snowmass, USA between 5-6 February. Further editions will follow in Big White, Canada; La Molina, Spain; Les Angles, France and Trentino, Italy.