TELLURIDE, CO (Dec. 18, 2009) – The 2009 VISA Snowboardcross and PGS World Cup hit he slopes of the Telluride Ski Resort this week. In the second of five Olympic qualifying events, Telluride will host the Visa World Cup Snowboardcross finals Saturday, Dec. 20, 2009. Athletes, media, family and friends from around the world began arriving in Telluride last week, for training and upcoming competitions.
Friday, the U.S. men were led by none other than Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott (Sugarloaf, ME) who was second. Three other U.S. men marked top 10 speeds with World Championship bronze medalist Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, MI) in third, 2002 Olympic halfpipe gold medalist Ross Powers (Okemo, VT) in sixth and five-time X Games gold medalist Nate Holland (Squaw Valley, CA) in ninth.
"It's great. The speed is really good across the board and I'm pretty excited to see how the pack races go," U.S. Snowboarding Head Coach Peter Foley said.
In the women's race the sun started to sink in the sky, throwing shadows across what most are calling an inventive and relentless course, and making the women's race a challenge to make the top 16. The one and only Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton, VT) marked one of two U.S. women's spots, finishing eighth.
"Last week she trained a lot faster, especially in comparison to the boys, than what she did today. It's fine where she's qualified, but it seemed like she wasn't riding at her top speed," Foley said.
Following Jacobellis was Salt Lake City's Faye Gulini, rounding off the women's field in 16th.
If the day left spectators with anything, it's that Saturday's World Cup, the second of five Olympic qualification events for the U.S., will be competed on a course that never gives the athletes a moment's rest.
"It's a super challenging course in a lot of ways. The features are sharp and kicky at first, continuing into high speed sections. …a wide variety of skills are involved in this course, with all kinds of different challenges,” said Foley.
Fans can stay tuned for news from Telluride at ussnowboarding.com, facebook.com/ussnowboarding and twitter.com/ussnowboarding.
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