For the first time since last year’s test event, Australia’s boardercross athletes were back on the Phoenix Park Snowboard Cross course today as they gear up to compete later this week.
Set to make his third Olympic appearance at PyeongChang, dual World Champion Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin said that apart from the unpredictable weather during Tuesday’s training session, “the layout was really good”.
“It was good, there’s been a little bit of wind around lately so that’s meant the speeds were different and the features can be different from one run to the next,” he said.
“I got a pretty good feeling in the track for day one and I’m looking forward to tomorrow, I think I’ll make a few small tweaks, analyse the weather a little bit mostly and see what sort of strategies I’ll start to toy with.”
While the forecast for Thursday’s event shows that the gusty conditions at Phoenix Park are set to subside, Pullin said that he’ll be spending the next few days analysing the weather and toying with new strategies as it’s “traditionally a very windy place”.
“It makes it a little bit more tricky with the tactics that you choose to play with,” he said.
“I’m going to have to be pretty flexible with my strategy.”
The 30-year-old said that the vibes so far in PyeongChang “have been really good”, remarking that the excitement and energy exuding from the volunteers was similar to the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
On his teammate and Olympic debutant Adam Lambert, Pullin said that it’s been great “watching him progress so strongly”.
“The last year and a half has been really good, just getting used to working with each other’s strengths and then, in this situation for sure, just giving him a few heads up,” he said.
“Cam and Adam are riding really well.”
Fellow teammate and Sochi 2014 Olympian Jarryd Hughes, who is set to make his second Olympic debut at PyeongChang, said his first training session on Tuesday “was great”.
“Nick Roma has built a great track and it’s a lot of fun to ride,” he said.
“The track is built really well but it’s going to be very wind dependant as it’s an open track.”
The 22-year-old, who won gold at the Snowboard Cross World Cup in Montafon, Austria last December, said that he was “really happy to get a lot of really solid runs down”.
“I’m excited to compete, but at the moment I’m just ready for the first race to begin,” he said.
Sochi 2014 Olympian Belle Brockhoff was also on the course today less than two weeks finishing in the top 10 at the final pre-Olympic Snowboard Cross World Cup in Feldberg, Germany.
“It’s awesome, she’s made it just in the nick of time and it’s great to see her reach the Games,” Pullin said.
“It would’ve been pretty heart crushing not to see her get here. It’s awesome, it’s great to have her around [and] pretty cool that we’ve got the crew back together.”
The Australian men will take to the snowboard cross track on Day 6 (February 15) of the PyeongChang 2018 Games at the Bokwang Phoenix Park while Brockhoff, the Australian team’s only female boardercross rider, will compete on Day 7.