If you are wondering how the FIS world snowboarding championships are going we are pleased to bring this report of U.S success.
Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, MI) dialed in his first World Championship medal, finishing third in the snowboardcross competition in Korea Sunday. Austria’s Markus Schairer won the event.
“It feels good. It’s a great medal to have. It was my first time being at World Championships and it’s great to be on the podium,” Baumgartner said. “I had some high expectations. This has been my best start to a year yet and all the training in the off season paid off.”
U.S. Snowboarding Snowboardcross Coach Jeff Archibald believes this finish will keep Baumgartner’s performance level up for the season to come.
“It’s been coming for Nick. He’s just been making little mental errors, but his snowboarding has been at a podium level all year today was the first day he put it all together and that was really cool and I think it will carry throughout the year,” Archibald said.
According to Baumgartner, the final race was intense with a lot of risky attempts made to get himself in the lead.
“It was a great race. I got stuck behind and tried making a pass three times. Then I bumped into one of the corners and it was really hairy, but I held it together and stayed in third. Those guys raced hard,” Baumgartner said.
“It was a tricky course,” added the U.S. coach Jeff Archibald. “There was nowhere to pass, so it was basically a hole shot race – who got first out of the gate. He just got on the course and rode super solid.”
Baumgartner led as all of U.S. Snowboarding’s snowboardcross athletes made the finals and finished in the top 15 with Seth Wescott (Sugarloaf, ME) finishing fifth, Graham Watanabe (Sun Valley, ID) sixth and Nate Holland (Squaw Valley, CA) in 13th.
For Archibald, Wescott and Watanabe’s battle in the small final was one of the best races all day.
“That was a really good race. It was one of the only ones where people were able to pass,” Archibald said. “Graham had a really good start in that race and Seth passed him on the inside and then they rode solid the whole way down.”
In the women’s competition, Helene Olafsen of Norway won while Switzerland took the second and third place spots with Olivia Nobs taking the silver and Mellie Francon bronze. No U.S. women competed in the World Championship snowboardcross race. Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, VT) stayed in the states to focus on the upcoming X Games – a focus Baumgartner now shares.
“Next weekend is the only thing I am worried about right now – going for the gold at X Games,” Baumgartner said. “This finish is a great accelerator for next weekend. This really gets me amped for it.”
2009 World Championships for snowboarding continues Tuesday with parallel giant slalom.
2009 FIS SNOWBOARD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Gangwon, Korea – Jan. 18, 2009
1. Markus Schairer, Austria
2. Xavier De Le Rue, France
3. Nick Baumgartner, Iron River, MI
4. Tom Velisek, Canada
5. Seth Wescott, Sugarloaf, ME
1. Helene Olafsen, Norway
2. Olivia Nobs, Switzerland
3. Mellie Francon, Switzerland
4. Maelle Ricker, Canada
5. Sandra Frei, Switzerland
So you don’t know what snowboardcross is – introduced for the first time at the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy 2006 when there was a most infamous incident for poor Lindsey Jacobellis. The video from Bazjat shows why it is never a good idea to crow before the roost, to think its over – it never is until the fat lady sings – to be the hare and forget about the tortoise. Poor girl – but snowboardcross, as you will see, is a race down a set course on snowboards – winner takes all – quite simple really – but extreme.
We would also like to thank First Tracks online Ski Magazine for bringing us this story.