Mike Minor continued his unbeaten run of the 2016-17 season, leading a US-strong performance on home snow at the NorAm Cup on Wednesday (25 January) in Lake Tahoe, California.
World Cup champion in men’s banked slalom SB-UL, Minor also showed his form in snowboard-cross on Wednesday after defeating Italy’s Roberto Cavicchi, the reigning silver medallist from the 2015 World Championships in La Molina, Spain. Australia’s sprinter-turned-snowboarder Simon Patmore edged Great Britain’s James Barnes-Miller for the final podium spot.
Eyes were also tuned in on another US snowboarder in the women’s SB-LL1 race, where Amy Purdy had a successful debut after sitting out much of the season due to injury. The Sochi 2014 bronze medallist beat reigning World Champion Brenna Huckaby in the head-to-head big final. Megan Harmon upset US teammate and Worlds bronze medallist Nicole Roundy to complete the podium.
The men’s SB-LL1 also featured an all-US showdown for first place, with Mark Mann recording his first career victory in a World Para Snowboard event after finishing ahead of Tyler Burdick. The 29-year-old has finished in the top-three in all his events this season, and Wednesday’s win could be a confidence boost for Mann with the 2017 World Para Snowboard Championships approaching in a week’s time.
Seventeen-year-old Norwegian Kristian Moen also recorded his first podium finish of the season after beating Italy’s Giuseppe Comunale for third place.
Perhaps the surprises of the day came in the men’s SB-LL2, where Japan’s newcomer Gurimu Narita defeated the USA’s Paralympic champion and Worlds silver medallist Evan Strong in the big final. After spending 2016 competing in athletics events, the 22-year-old Japanese snowboarder reached the podium for the first time in the sport.
The USA’s Paralympic champion Mike Shea failed to make the top-three on his home competition after losing to Canada’s Worlds bronze medallist Alex Massie in the small final.
Australia’s Joany Badenhorst crossed the finish line ahead of the USA’s Brittani Coury to win the women’s SB-LL2, while Peggy Martin completed the women’s SB-UL race.
Complete NorAm results can be found at World Para Snowboard’s http://www.worldparasnowboard.com.
Snowboarders will stay in Lake Tahoe as competition shifts to World Cup races in snowboard-cross from Thursday to Friday (26-27 January).
This will be the last competition before the 2017 World Para Snowboard Championships in Big White, Canada, where around 80 athletes from 25 countries compete from 1-8 February.