Boarders and skiers to kick off European calendar

Snowflake

Headlining is a double for snowboarders as they compete in the opening World and Europa Cup events of 2013-14 at SnowWorld, the world’s largest indoor ski resort.

Snowboarders and alpine skiers are in Landgraaf, the Netherlands, this week preparing for the first European races of the season which get underway on Thursday (21 November).

Headlining is a double for snowboarders as they compete in the opening World and Europa Cup events of 2013-14 at SnowWorld, the world’s largest indoor ski resort.

Dutch-native Bibian Mentel’s rivalry with American Amy Purdy will be resumed, with their competition taking on an extra dimension as snowboard makes its debut at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

Speaking to Paralympic.org, 41 year-old Mentel said she is looking forward to competing in her own country, in a different environment and on a specially developed course:

“We don’t get the privilege to train on the slopes beforehand but I know the snow and I know the conditions, so that’s good. It’s no different than any other. It’s a little bit compacted seeing as it’s indoor but it’s really good to ride there.

“I hope to win them all (World Cups). That’s what I’m aiming for, getting to Sochi, I just want to make sure that I’m good and I’m ready to race.”

At a test event for Sochi in March this year, Mentel, a six-time national champion in half-pipe able-bodied competitions before losing her leg, picked up the win with a time that would have landed her a silver medal in the men’s event. The 2012 WSF para-snowboard World Champion also dominated in World and Europa Cup events, leaving her atop the lower-limb impairment world rankings at the end of last season ahead of Purdy.

The men’s World Cup event meanwhile will feature current American world No. 3 Keith Gabel.

The 29 year-old will be heading out against compatriot Mike Shea, who picked up a World Cup title in the lower-limb impairment class last year, and Tomas Vaverka of the Czech Republic who is currently ranked fifth.

On Thursday, the day prior to the World Cup events, the same athletes - over 40 from 17 countries - will also compete in the Europa Cup competition.

Running at the same time and venue as the snowboard-cross events are two days of IPCAS skiing competitions from 21-22 November. A record 140 athletes will be taking part in the slalom competitions which follow on from the first three World Cup events in the southern hemisphere in New Zealand and Australia.

The IPCAS races complete a packed programme on the snow for the first events in Europe.

Skiers have a further four World Cup events and a final in Tarvisio, Italy, before they head to Sochi. Snowboarders have three World Cups and the final in La Molina, Spain, the same venue as the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships.

The next IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup takes place in Panorama, Canada from 8-14 January, and follows on from two Europa Cups in Pitztal, Germany, and Kuhtai, Austria, in December.

Next up for snowboarding is a World Cup event in Copper Mountain, USA from 17-19 January.

You can follow all the action, including live updates and pictures, from the snowboard competitions from 21-22 November at
www.twitter.com/IPCAlpine and www.Facebook.com/IPCAlpineSkiing.

Source: http://www.paralympic.org/news/boarders-and-skiers-kick-european-calendar