The stage is set for the next IPC Snowboard NorAm and World Cups which get underway in Big White, Canada, on Tuesday (9 February).
Fans will be treated to both snowboard-cross and banked slalom in two NorAm and three World Cups over the coming days, featuring nearly 40 athletes from 12 countries.
Following a successful return to World Cup competition last week in Aspen, USA, the Netherlands’ Bibian Mentel-Spee has crossed the border to compete in the women’s SB-LL2.
Mentel-Spee claimed all three victories on offer in snowboard-cross in NorAm and World Cups in Aspen. She will be joined by her teammate Lisa Bunschoten and the USA’s Heidi Jo Duce, both who reached the podium in the USA.
In addition, Australia’s World Championships banked slalom silver medallist Joany Badenhorst will compete for the first time in 2016.
Alex Massie headlines the men’s SB-LL2 field for hosts Canada as the snowboard-cross bronze medallist from the 2015 Worlds.
However Finland’s world champion Matti Surr-Hamari is also in town, fresh from his clash with the USA’s Mike Shea just days ago. Suur-Hamari and Shea shared the spoils with one World Cup victory each in Aspen.
The USA’s Paralympic champion Evan Strong has also made the journey, as well as New Zealand’s Carl Murphy, who is returning from injury.
All three World Championships medallists from the women’s snowboard-cross and banked slalom SB-LL1 are ready to line up.
The USA’s Brenna Huckaby and Nicole Roundy, and France’s Cecile Hernandez-Cervellon will face off. Huckaby enters as the snowboard-cross world champion, whilst Hernandez-Cervellon holds the title in banked slalom. Roundy is the bronze medallist in both disciplines.
Canada’s Michelle Salt will also push for the podium on home snow.
The Netherlands’ world champion Chris Vos will compete against the USA’s Mike Schultz in the men’s SB-LL1 after the pair’s meeting in Aspen.
Vos stepped onto the top of the podium once last week, closely followed 24 hours later by Schultz who was the first man to beat the Dutchman in over a year.
The men’s SB-UL field continues to grow with a series of up-and-coming riders hoping to unseat Austria’a banked slalom world champion Patrick Mayrhofer and Italian snowboard-cross title holder Manuel Pozzerle.
Amongst them is Canada’s newcomer Daniel Shoemaker, who makes his season debut in Big White after entering the circuit in 2014-15.
Action gets underway in Big White with an IPC Snowboard NorAm Cup in snowboard-cross on Tuesday. Two days of World Cup action in snowboard cross follows on Wednesday (10 February) and Thursday (11 February).
On Friday (12 February) there will be a NorAm cup in banked slalom. A World Cup in banked slalom concludes the competition on Saturday (13 February).