More than 70 of the best athletes from 17 countries have gathered in Landgraaf, the Netherlands, as excitement builds for the first IPC Snowboard competitions of 2015-16 set to get underway on Wednesday (18 November).
The indoor slopes of SnowWorld will once again host the season opener, which will feature a Europa Cup on Wednesday and two World Cups on 19 and 20 November. All competitions will be in banked slalom.
The USA’s snowboard-cross Paralympic champion Evan Strong heads out in the men’s SB-LL2 races, against his teammate and new banked slalom world champion Mike Shea.
Shea also won the overall World Cup last season, ahead of Finland’s Matti Suur-Hamari and another US rider Keith Gabel, all of whom are in Landgraaf.
On the women’s side, Lisa Bunschoten will carry the flag for the hosts in the absence of world and Paralympic champion Bibian Mentel-Spee who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer.
Bunschoten finished third in the World Cup rankings in 2014-15 and will face a tough challenge from Australian World Championships silver medallist Joany Badenhorst. The USA’s Heidi Jo Duce is also a serial podium finisher and will be looking to build on her World Cup second place from last season.
Alongside Bunschoten, double world champion Chris Vos will represent the Netherlands in the men’s SB-LL1. The youngster, still just 17, swept the board in 2014-15 with a full-house of wins at the World Championships and in the World Cup.
The USA’s Mike Schultz makes his return to competition after an injury.
French world champion Cecile Hernandez-Cervellon is the favourite in the women’s SB-LL1 as she begins her quest to retain her World Cup crown from 2014-15. US teammates Brenna Huckaby and Nicole Roundy could challenge the Frenchwoman.
In the men’s SB-UL Austrian world champion Patrick Mayrhofer will look to capitalise on his recent success. However the battle between him and Great Britain’s Ben Moore will resume after the pair spent most of last season swapping places on the podium.
There was just 100 points between them in the final World Cup standings with Mayrhofer emerging on top to add to his world title. Italy’s World Championships bronze medallist Manuel Pozzerle will also be in the mix.
Argentina's Celeste Pedrosa Bersano will race in support of the ongoing promotion of the women’s SB-UL.
Action gets underway in Landgraaf with a Europa Cup on 18 November followed by two separate World Cup competitions on 19 and 20 November.
Updates will be posted to Twitter and Facebook and IPC Snowboard’s website.