Snowboard action packed January

The New Year 2009 gets going well. But it’s not only the 8th FIS Snowboard World Championships being hosted in Sungwoo, Gangwon Province, from January 17th to 24th.

Snowboard Cross in Arosa.  Copyright: FIS - Oliver KrausThe alpine race boarders are the prelude to an eventful January. Three years after the last World Cup competition took place at Kreischberg, the world’s elite is coming back to meet at the 2003 World Championships hill. In the Styrian resort, two parallel races will be staged. On January 6th, it’s time to floor it in the Parallel Giant Slalom. The Parallel Slalom on 7th make the athlete’s hearts leap for joy as the finals will be organised as night finals.

Such a night final will be held also in Bad Gastein. Like its Styrian pendant, the winter sport resort in the Salzburg country side hosts two contests. On January 10th and 11th, 2009, the Snowboard Cross races three and four of the current season are next up on the agenda. The first of them will take place on the Bucheben slope under 100,000 Watt flood light.

Just before the 2009 WCS in Korea, the freestylers are coming back to Japan. After the Gujo debut in 2008, the season’s third Halfpipe contest will take place on January 14th.

At all three stops of the 2009 Snowboard FIS World Cup the best riders of each discipline are getting ready to start. At Kreischberg, those are for example World Cup leader Doris Guenther and reigning Parallel Slalom World Champion Heidi Neururer as well as Michelle Gorgone (USA), Kimiko Zakreski (CAN), Nicolien Sauerbreij (NED), Anke Karstens (GER) and Fraenzi Maegert-Kohli (SUI) as well as Siegfried Grabner (AUT), Adam Smith (USA), Canada’s Matthew Morison and Jasey Anderson as well as Rok Flander (SLO) and Simon Schoch (SUI).

In Bad Gastein, Mario Fuchs could claim a three-peat after winning in 2006 and 2007. However, the 32-year-old Austrian hasn’t had a good result this winter so far. In better shape at the moment are Stian Sivertzen (NOR), Olympic Champion Seth Wescott (USA), Markus Schairer (AUT), Mateusz Ligocki (POL) and David Speiser (GER). On the women’s side, looking on the last results, it’s likely that Sandra Frei and Mellie Francon (both SUI), World Champion Lindsey Jacobellis (USA), Helene Olafsen (NOR), Zoe Gillings (GBR) as well as Dominique Maltais and Maelle Ricker from Canada will fight for victory.

In Japan, North-Americans as well as Europeans will try their best to challenge the strong squad of the hosting country for the triumph. Last year, Kazuumi Fujita (JPN) edged off Jeff Batchelor (CAN) and Gregory Bretz (USA) to the follow-up podium spots. On the women’s side, also a rider from Asia was victorious. However, the winner wasn’t coming from Japan. Chinese Zhifeng Sun grabbed Gold ahead of Soko Yamaoka (JPN) and meanwhile retired Swiss Manuela Pesko.

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