Belle Brockhoff and Adam Dickson have completed a great week of preparation for the final World Cup events of the season, by recording victories at the Nor-Am events at Ski Cooper resort in Colorado, USA.
Brockhoff won both days of competition, continuing her great form which has seen her on the World Cup podium three times this season.
In the men's day one event, Cam Bolton was the fastest in qualifications, winning the round by 1.3 seconds. Bolton went through to the final, finishing in fourth place.
On day two, Adam Dickson made it the third win for Australia over the weekend, recording the fourth victory of his Nor-Am career.
The Australian Snowboard Cross team will next compete at the World Cup event in Sierra Nevada, Spain, on March 6-7.
IMAGE: Podium images for the three Australian gold medals at Ski Cooper, CO, USA
The FIS World Cup Snowboard Cross season kicked off in Montafon, Austria, with Australian Winter Olympians Cameron Bolton and Belle Brockhoff both winning a place on the podium.
Bolton, 29, from Melbourne, Victoria, won silver in the men’s Snowboard Cross and Brockhoff, 26, from Melbourne, took bronze in the women’s.
Bolton’s silver is his third World Cup medal, and first silver placement. The two time Winter Olympian secured his spot in the final in tough weather conditions with heavy snow and wind to take second at the finish line.
“I’m absolutely wrapped to come away with a second for the first event, I took it one heat at a time” said Bolton of his race strategy. “I’m looking for a podium in every race, I think you have to go into every race looking for that.”
It was a particularly sweet third place for Brockhoff. This season is her first full season back after two separate knee injuries in the past two years. The bronze medal at Montafon on is her eighth World Cup medal (3 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze) and first since 2017.
“I’m so happy, it’s been a long road” said an ecstatic Brockhoff. “I had quite a few plans in place to see what would happen at the start and best options to take. This is a great way to start the 2019/2020 season.”
Alessandro Haemmerle (AUT) took gold and Omar Visinton (ITA) took bronze in the men’s event and Eva Samkova (CZE) took gold and Michela Moioli (ITA) took silver in the women’s event.
Olympic silver medallist, Jarryd Hughes, also performed well, finishing third in the small final, giving him a final ranking of seventh place overall.
Other Australian athletes competing in Montafon were Adam Lambert (19th), Adam Dickson (31st) and Alex "Chumpy" Pullin (48th).
The Australian snowboard cross team will now travel to Cervinia, Italy, for the next FIS World Cup on December 22.
Mt Hotham hosted races three and four of the SBX FIS ANC on Wednesday 3 and Thursday 4 September with plenty of action across the two days.
A host of internationals from Germany, USA, Japan, Brazil, Korea, China, Thailand and Canada lined up against some strong, young Australian talent - a combination which resulted in some hotly contested races.
Olympian Belle Brockhoff was in fine form in her maiden competition in 2019, after returning from a knee injury, taking out first place in the women’s race three and was closely followed by Aussie Mia Clift who finished third.
In the men’s race, Olympian Cam Bolton won the silver with fellow Aussies Olympian Adam Lambert and Adam Dickson crossing the line in 5th and 6th position respectively.
The Aussie men remained consistent throughout the two day competition as they secured three top five positions in Race four -– Dickson third, Lambert fourth and Bolton in fifth.
Race for for the women saw the Aussie young guns step up and take it to the strong international cohort, with 15-year-old Mia Clift claiming second spot and 16-year-old Josie Banff taking out fourth place.
Young gun Mia Clift was crowned as the overall Continental Cup champion in the women’s and after some strong performances Cam Bolton claimed the men’s title.
It was a big week for Australian snowboarders as Mt Hotham hosted the annual FIS ANC SBX and Australian National Grom Championships.
From the emerging to the elite, there was something for everyone as riders of all ages and abilities took to the mountain.
Olympian Cam Bolton topped the podium in Race 1 of the men's ANC, defeating Adam Dickson and Olympian Adam Lambert.
In the women's ANC race, Christina Taylor won from Josie Baff and Jessica Dickson.
Bolton said the international competition was among the strongest he has seen at Mt Hotham.
“Normally the first couple of rounds you can relax but it started to heat up a little earlier this year,” Bolton said.
“Athletes who’ve been on the pathway for a few years are starting to get quicker and they’re keeping the national team on our toes,” he said.
The two-time Olympian won each of his heats and that set the scene for a close final.
“I had a good start and was out quick and into the lead. Adam (Dickson) was right on my hammer and drafting in the middle of the course, doing everything he could.
“He (Dickson) tried to pull up on my inside and we got the wobbles and that gave me a bit of speed and we spread back out.
“It was tight over the last three turns. Adam (Dickson) was riding really well so it was good to have that good healthy battle,” Bolton said.
Offering more than competition, the FIS ANC SBX and Australian National Grom Championships is run in conjunction with the SSA Futures Camp and this year's event saw 74 pathway athletes make the most of talent development opportunities and a chance to train alongside OWIA and NSWIS athletes. This was SSA's largest attended SBX Futures Camp and next year's event is expected to be even bigger to allow more of the SBX community to get involved.
Two time Olympian Cameron Bolton has finished the season off in style, taking bronze at the World Cup Final in Veysonnaz, Switzerland.
The third place result is the NSWIS rider's second podium of the season. In February he won his maiden World Cup victory in Feldberg, Germany.
After the event a happy Bolton commented.
"Had a crazy start to the day, had a big crash in training but luckily had Wennie here to help me out and work some miracle physio at the top."
"The first heat was shaky too, I was in second place and got passed by everyone after I made a mistake, and then went from fourth back to first."
"It's been a rollercoaster day, won the next round of 16, second in the semi-final, and then finished on the podium."
Also in action for Australia was Alex "Chumpy" Pullin, who finished 18th and Adam Lambert 25th.
The final World Cup standings reflect Bolton's breakthough season, with a personal best fifth place end of season ranking, easily surpassing his previous best of 20th in 2017.
Pullin finished the season in seventh, with Adam Lambert 15th.
IMAGE - Cam Bolton celebrates on the podium © OWIA/Lachy Keevers
NSWIS Snowboard Cross athlete Adam Lambert has become the second Australian Snowboard Cross athlete to win a World Cup medal this season, taking silver in Baqueira Beret, Spain.
His second place finish was the 21-year-old's first podium appearance since last season.
"I am so happy to finally get back on the podium, it's been a tough year for me with fewer races this season but I'm stoked to have pulled a result out and I'm excited to get to Veysonnaz."
It was a strong event for the NSWIS athletes, with four Australian athletes reaching the top 16 quarter final stage.
Triple Olympian Alex 'Chumpy' Pullin also placed well, taking out the men's small final to finish fifth overall. Jarryd Hughes came in at 11th, Cameron Bolton in 16th, while Adam Dickson placed 22nd and Josh Miller 49th.
The final event of the season in Veysonnaz, Switzerland, will feature a limited field of only the top 32 ranked athletes on the World Cup standings.
Four Australians will be in action, with Alex Pullin currently ranked fourth, Cameron Bolton eighth, Adam Lambert 10th and Jarryd Hughes 25th.
IMAGE - Adam Lambert (left) on the podium in Spain © FIS Snowboard
Australian dual Olympian Cameron Bolton has claimed his first ever FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup win in Feldberg, Germany. The victory was even sweeter for the 28-year-old NSWIS rider who crashed on this course three years ago which resulted in a broken back.
Lining up in the 40th start of his career matched up in a tough final heat against German pair Paul Berg and Konstantin Schad, as well as young Japanese rider Yoshiki Takahara, jumping quickly out of the left gate and into the lead before the first corner with the Germans hot on his tail.
With Takahara clipping Schad’s board and nearly crashing on the first corner, Schad and Berg would be free to battle for second while Bolton opened up a comfortable lead, holding on easily through the finish for the win.
“It feels really, really good,” said Bolton of his first World Cup win, “It was a tricky race today and I'm happy I was able to come out here and do it.
"Three years ago I broke my back on this course, so to come out here and qualify first and then take the win, it feels like I have a little bit of redemption. And to share the podium with a couple of German riders on their home turf is nice, too.
"I took a lot of confidence out of qualifying in first, however, I immediately shifted my focus to the heat racing, which was going to be another kettle of fish.
"Everything came together and I had one of those days where you feel as though you can control everything around you.
"I'm feeling great on snow and have a terrific team around me. I'm looking forward to building on this result," he said.
Also in finals for Australia was Alex "Chumpy" Pullin, who finished in 18th place, with Adam Dickson 29th, and Jarryd Hughes 31st.
Adam Lambert in 33rd and Josh Miller 43rd just missed qualifying for the 32-man final rounds.
The Snowboard Cross team now has a break before the next World Cup in Baqueira Beret, Spain, on March 2nd.
IMAGE - Cam Bolton celebrates his first career Victory after crossing the finish line in Feldberg © FIS Snowboard
NSWIS riders Alex “Chumpy” Pullin and Adam Lambert have just fallen short of reaching the semi-final round at the 2019 FIS Snowboard World Championships, after both finished third in their quarter-final heats at Solitude Mountain, UT, USA.
On a tight track, both riders faced difficult heats, and were unable to pass back into the top two required to advance before the finish line.
The result sees Pullin finishing with a final ranking of 9th, with Lambert in 11th.
After the event, Pullin commented.
“My day was going well until I was run wide in turn one into the fence."
“A real shame as I was feeling so good and having fun, but this is racing sometimes.”
“I’m as hungry as hell to get back to the World Cups now, Germany here we come.”
Also in action in finals for Australia was Cameron Bolton, who was unable to progress past the round of 32, finishing third in his heat, giving him a final placing of 21st.
Dual Olympian Cam Bolton said of his own performance.
“Well, I had a disappointing day at World Champs and finished in 21st. We have three more World Cups this season and I’m certainly looking for some redemption, next stop, Germany.”
Olympic Silver Medallist Jarryd Hughes unfortunately did not make it through to the 32-man finals, after finishing in 35th place during the qualifying stage.
A disappointed Hughes commented after the race.
“Well that was not the way I wanted my World Champs to go, out in qualifying!”
“I can’t describe how gutted I am, but that’s the way sport goes sometimes.”
I’m going to gather my thoughts and I’ll be cheering from the bottom of the track because it’s going to be an amazing race, but I’ll be back stronger than ever!”
The Snowboard Cross team will now head to Feldberg, Germany, for the next round of the World Cup tour on February 8-10.
IMAGE - Alex "Chumpy" Pullin in action during Qualifying at Solitude Mountain © OWIA/ Lachy Keevers
Two time World Champion Alex "Chumpy" Pullin has made a strong start to the season, finishing seventh and fourth in the opening FIS Snowboarding World Cup events in Cervinia, Italy.
After the two events, Pullin is currently ranked fifth in the world, a testament to consistent form in both events in Cervinia.
Olympic Silver Medallist Jarryd Hughes was Australia's highest ranked qualifier in eighth place, and went on to finish in 19th on day one and 22nd on day two.
The other NSWIS program athletes, Cameron Bolton (26th and 34th), Adam Dickson (30th and 52nd), Josh Miller (40th and 54th) and Adam Lambert (43rd and 14th) were also in action in Italy.
A special mention to Josh Miller, who was able to compete after a hospital visit following a bad crash during training on the day before qualification.
The Snowboard Cross program now has a long break before the next event, the 2019 World Championships at the end of January in Solitude, UT, USA.
Australian Athlete Results
Alex Pullin - 7th and 4th
Jarryd Hughes - 19th & 22nd
Cameron Bolton - 26th & 34th
Adam Dickson - 30th & 52nd
Josh Miller - 40th & 54th
Adam Lambert - 43rd & 14th
IMAGE - Alex "Chumpy" Pullin out in front in the yellow bib © Miha Matavz/FIS
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.
Australia's quartet of 2018 Olympic male snowboard cross athletes have had their second last dress rehearsal before PyeongChang 2018, taking on the final pre-Games World Cup in Bankso, Bulgaria.
Dual Olympian Alex 'Chumpy' Pullin was the top finisher of the Australians with a 5th place in the final, just weeks before the 30-year-old is set to compete at his third Olympic Games.
Sochi 2014 Olympian and 2018 Team member, Cameron Bolton qualifed through to the small final where a 3rd place finish saw the 27-year-old record a 9th place finish. The result was a season best for Bolton and his top finish since December 2015.
"I was happy with the race overall. I was having some trouble in the start section and I was pleased to make the necessary adjustments and lead both the small final and semi final," Bolton said.
"The race was a step in the right direction and i'm looking to keep building momentum at the next two world cups, leading into the Olympics.
"Bansko put on a great event and Bulgaria is my favourite stop on tour. It's an amazing place."
Despite being the 14th fastest qualifier, Olympic debutant Adam Lambert was disappointed with his Bulgaria World Cup, with the 20-year-old finishing 6th in his 1/8 heat and not advancing to the next round. Lambert ended the competition with a 41st place finish.
Fellow Australian rider Matthew Thomas finished in 22nd.
Sochi 2014 Olympian, Jarryd Hughes recorded the fastest qualification time in his second run heading into the finals but a crash in the initial time trial forced him to withdrawn from the event to be on the safe side.
"I messed up a jump in a time trial and ended up landing 30m further down the course than I intended and had nothing to land on," Hughes said.
"I suffered a bit of bone bruising in the process and decided it was best not to compete this close to the Olympics."
This week's World Cup sees the Australians all sit in the top 20 on the world rankings heading into the Olympic Games with Pullin in 2nd, Lambert in 7th, Hughes in 12th and Bolton in 18th.
Men's snowboard cross will be held on Day 7 (February 15) at the 2018 Olympics, with the top 40 competitiors in the world all vying for a top spot on the podium.
Ezurum proved to be challenging for the first ever Snowboard Cross World Cup held in Turkey last weekend.After an unusual trip to the picturesque ski resort that required a detour through the mountains, the weather did not cooperate requiring the cancellation of training and qualifications.
Racing went directly to finals without the riders having the opportunity to train on the course and whilst the Aussies put on a good show with five of the six-man squad making it through the heats, the best result came from Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin placing fourth in the small final and eighth overall.
Pullin retained his leader’s yellow bib and overall number one world ranking, now sitting on 3,346 points.
“Chumpy feels pretty positive about the result, more just keeping his points up to stay with the yellow bib” coach Ben Wordsworth said.
Adam Lambert made it to the semi-final finishing overall in 13th, Matt Thomas 22nd, Cam Bolton 28th, Josh Miller 29th and Adam Dickson 38th.
Cam Bolton had been looking to build on his previous tenth place in Italy.
“I had OK result in Italy and was looking forward to building on that for Korea,” Bolton said.
“It was so windy (in Erzurum). Today was the first time that I even went to the top of the course because there was so much snow and wind. It was about who picked up the course the quickest today would be rewarded.”
“The start section was tricky because the first feature was changing because of the soft snow, so, how you rode it completely changed.”
“In the heats I started strongly in the start section. Then I was having a tough time of the heat.
In the second heat I got sucked behind and couldn’t make the pass I was planning on making.”
Getting to Erzurum was problematic after the plane that was carrying many of the SBX World Cup tour athletes was diverted to another airport near the Syrian border.
“It’s been a crazy trip so far and definitely made it a very interesting four or five days. Our flight was delayed and we couldn’t land (near Erzurum) but flew further south near the Syrian border. Then we were all on a bus and had a military escort through the mountains.”
The Australians found an upside in the situation. For Adam Lambert, making another semi in adverse conditions is a plus for the 20-year-old.
“Erzurum was definitely interesting. I’ve never done a World Cup and not done a qualification because of weather. They (the Turkish resort) put on a pretty decent show though,” Lambert said.
“Racing was alright. I did the best I could and put out the runs and ended up 13th.”
“Got a poor start in the quarters but tried my best to get through that heat. The track was a bit small and you do what you can do.”
“I’m happy that I got to the quarters again. That makes it every quarters this year. That’s pretty good.”
The Erzurum World Cup was the final race for Olympic qualification. Selection of the four male Snowboard Cross to the Australian Olympic Team is expected this week.
There are more events on the calendar before Pyeongchang and that’s the focus for the SBX team as they head to Bankso, Bulgaria for the next World Cup on January 27th and then to Germany for another event immediately prior to Korea.
Snowboard Cross riders return to World Cup competition this weekend in the last Olympic qualifying event in Erzurum, Turkey with Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin looking to extend his comfortable lead on 3,026 points at the top of the world rankings.
The Erzurum event becomes the first ever Turkish ski resort to host a Snowboard Cross Word Cup and therefore a new venue for Australia’s strong team that includes Alex Pullin, Adam Lambert, Cam Bolton and NSWIS riders Josh Miller, Matt Thomas and Adam Dickson.
Jarryd Hughes is sitting Turkey out, electing instead to train in Whistler, Canada.
“We’ve never raced there,” Head SBX coach Ben Wordsworth said about Erzurum. “There won’t be a great deal of snow and we think the course will probably be something close to Cervinia (Italy).”
Pullin, who won double gold in Argentina at the start of the season and a bronze at Cervinia late last year, is an athlete making smart decision says Wordsworth.
“Chumpy is in a good place - a really good place. He didn’t have the results he wanted in December. He wanted to win one of the three races he had, but he managed to pull together some good results and bounced back.”
Coach and athlete have been working together for eight years, with Wordsworth seeing a positive shift in Pullin going towards PyeongChang.
“He’s an older athlete. His decision making is better now and more adaptable to all the situations and he is extremely talented.”
“He is good at reading race situations, getting into heats and coming out the other end at the final - better than what I’ve seen in the past.”
“Certainly, Chumpy is making good decisions in his racing and it shows. Argentina was back to back (gold). Val Thorens was not so great and then Cervinia (with bronze). All those decisions make the difference in the long run.”
“One of the big decisions is to stay healthy. (It’s about) racing to your potential.”
Jindabyne’s Adam ‘Lambo’ Lambert stamped his claim to a potential Olympic selection last season and has only looked forward, now currently fourth on the world leader board on 1,690 points going into Erzurum.
According to Wordsworth, Lambert has fitted into the SBX team with ease.
“Lambo’s a good snowboarder and good racer. His results have shown that over the past two seasons,” Wordsworth said.
“There was silver at Val Thorens and he knows what he wants. Lambo is in the sport to have a career and he wants to win races. That’s what drives him – there’s nothing else he’s in it for.”
“He’s the perfect athlete. He wants results and has fitted in really well - good to travel with and fits into the group. Just got on with it, got results and tried to keep it pretty simple.”
Australia is looking to qualify four men to PyeongChang and with a strong team, Turkey is the last event to cement a place – a goal that will be high on Cam Bolton’s to do list.
“It was good for Cam being in the top again (Cervinia with a tenth place),” Wordsworth said. “He’s got the skills and we want to see him push toward the small final and final and believe he can do it. It was a super close race in Cervinia.”
“Turkey is the last qualifying. The other three have an opportunity. Should be an interesting race,” he added.
Qualifiers for the Erzurum World Cup stop are on Friday, 19 January from 6.30pm (AEDT).
Finals start at 6.30pm (AEDT) on Saturday.
Live timing links for qualifiers and finals, can be found here
Follow OWIA Twitter for updates here and watch the Finals live on Eurosport from 6.30pm on Saturday, 20 January.
Dual Olympian Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin remains on top of the World Cup Snowboard Cross rankings after winning bronze last night in Cervinia, Italy.
Pullin, who opened his season with a double gold weekend in Argentina, had retained his number 1 status despite electing not contest the finals at Montafon, Austria last week due to risky weather conditions.
Opening his Cervinia campaign in emphatic fashion and facing a large field of 79 riders, Pullin qualified in second place on his opening run, guaranteeing a top 16 seeding and entry to the 32-man final. Team mates Cam Bolton and Adam Lambert joined Pullin in the top 32 after hard racing in their second qualifying runs.
Pullin and Lambert both won their heats in the opening round of the finals and with Cam Bolton all moved through to the quarters, where Pullin again won but Lambert and Bolton were out in narrow thirds.
Experience and smart tactics in the semi delivered Pullin his third medal final of the season – an opportunity he was happy take.
“I had a good race and very happy to get a podium and continue to lead the world cup standings,” Pullin said.
“The conditions were challenging with high wind which changed the speed of the features, but I managed to keep a good rhythm and make it to the podium.”
The bronze medal win at Cervinia marks his 21st World Cup medal in an international career that began in 2007 and which has included back-to-back World Championship wins and Crystal Globes.
Cam Bolton had a return to the form and a result that he has been after for three seasons as the second highest qualifying Australian and final 10th place.
Like Bolton, Adam Lambert narrowly missed the semi-finals and finished overall in 12th.
Jarryd Hughes, who just five days ago won the Montafon World Cup, was disappointed to miss the top 32 qualifying time by 0.04 seconds, finding himself in 33rd position and out of the finals. Matthew Thomas placed 41st, Adam Dickson 52nd and Josh Miller 72nd.
The next Snowboard Cross World Cup will be contested in Ezerum, Turkey on January 19.
The world's best boardercross athletes are ready to kick off their season in Argentina this weekend with qualifying tonight at the majestic Cerro Catedral.
Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, Jarryd Hughes, Cam Bolton and Adam Lambert will all be looking for a huge start to their Olympic season with back-to-back races from Friday night until early Monday morning (AEST time) on a 1,000 metres long technical course.
The Patagonian resort becomes the second ever in Argentina to organise a FIS Snowboard World Cup event since snowboard cross races were staged in Bariloche in 2008 and 2009.
Two-time world champion and 2017 World Championship bronze medallist Alex Pullin arrived in Argentina after winning the Australian New Zealand Cup tour at Mt Hotham in late August.
Jarryd Hughes says the conditions are excellent and he “can't wait for the first race of the season.”
Cam Bolton is very happy with the course saying, “Now that's a start section.”
Coach Ben Wordsworth is happy with his squad.
“The course and conditions in Catedral have been excellent. We had training yesterday, which went well and all the athletes are riding at a high level. The course is technical and that suits our athletes.”
With less than 200 days to go to the Opening Ceremony in PyeongChang, many of Australia’s winter athletes are preparing on home snow.
Snowboard Cross rider Cam Bolton, who has one Olympics under his belt - finishing 11th in Sochi in 2014, is one such athlete who is motivated to return for a second Olympics in PyeongChang fitter and healthier.
Making it back to full strength after a broken back, shoulder and wrist between Sochi and now spells out the extreme risk many winter athletes face and take in their stride.
“I’m happy to have a year of injury free training in the lead up to the Olympics,” Bolton said at the conclusion of the World Championships in March.
The off-season at home for Bolton since the world titles has required intense strength and conditioning in Melbourne or near his home base on the Mornington Peninsula, which also afforded his love of surfing, which he happily calls ‘cross training’.
“This is the first time since the 2014/15 season that I’ve been healthy and I’m really motivated,” Bolton said.
Despite not competing at the PyeongChang test event in March 2016, he has checked out the venue.
“PyeongChang looks like a great course. It’s going to flow and be fast,” is Bolton’s assessment.
“I expect it to be windy. There’s wind turbines near the course for good reason and it can be incredibly gusty from any direction.”
Snowboard Cross might look like four guys lining up against each other at the start gate before racing to the finish line in the quest to place in the top two to advance to the ultimate final and medal round, but there’s more to this sport than meets the casual eye.
The Uiyaji Wind Village is located on the highlands of PyeongChang, attracting tourists for cheese and ice cream making and to view the ‘sight of wind-mills standing high above the frozen plain’.
How just one weather factor, such as wind, can affect racing on any given day poses a significant challenge for the PyeongChang course.
“The wind can change every twenty seconds, which makes it hard to plan for everyone. There will be an element of luck and qualifying could be all over the place.”
“There is an incredible difference between a headwind, or a possible tailwind and that can play with your mind,” Bolton said.
“Hitting big is about aerodynamics. If you go high, you lose speed. Staying low - weight helps if you have a headwind and the ability to generate speed through transitions.”
An exciting Snowboard Cross event next February is on the cards. In the meantime, it’s training on the Aussie snowfields at Mt Hotham for our Olympic SBX team until the first World Cup in Argentina gets underway in early September.
And spare a thought for winter athletes like Bolton who lug close to 100 kilos of baggage with up to eight snowboards.
“It’s a small price to pay for doing what we love.”
Finals day in La Molina, Spain yesterday dawned snowy, foggy and hard going.
When racing did commence in the pea soup conditions, NSWIS riders Alex Pullin, Cam Bolton and Adam Lambert easily made it through to the quarterfinals – with Pullin looking in particularly good form having led qualifying the day before.
Belle Brockhoff, who was holding a slim lead on the overall world standings over Eva Samkova (CZE), went head-to-head with the Czech Olympic Champion in the quarter finals and had to settle for second after a wild race in poor conditions.
Brockhoff struggled in the semis, finishing fourth and facing the small final, which she needed to win to preserve her number one World Cup ranking. It wasn’t Brockoff’s day with an overall final seventh placing. Eva Samkova went on to take second in the big final, boosting her total points to 4,370 overtaking Belle Brockhoff on 4,060 points.
In the men’s event, Pullin made a magnificent charge in the quarterfinals coming from behind with extreme speed, leaving the field in his wake and clinching a semi-final berth.
In only his third World Cup event, 19-year-old rookie NSWIS athlete Adam Lambert again impressed, squeezing his way through on the finish line to also make the semi-final. Cam Bolton finished third in his quarter and was unable to progress.
Jarryd Hughes, who had qualified in tenth position, did not start in the heats for the quarterfinals.
“I had a fall yesterday in practice and just pushed through the time trials,” Hughes explained.
Pullin’s semi-final ended in grief with a spill mid-course on a day when anything could have happened in conditions that presented challenges to athletes and officials. Pullin raced the small final with determination and skill, crossing the finish line first with fellow Aussie Adam Lambert in second.
The La Molina Men’s results ended with Pullin 5th, Lambert 6th, Bolton 11th and Matt Thomas 22nd.
The Men’s World Cup standings have not changed for Alex Pullin who remains in fourth with 2,790 points and Jarryd Hughes on 6th with 2,068. Cameron Bolton is sitting in 17th with 840 points.
Adam Lambert has charged into the top twenty, collecting points in each of his first three World Cups and is in 18th with 740 points.
The next Snowboard Cross event will be the World Championships scheduled for March 11 and 12 in Sierra Nevada, Spain with the first ever world championships team SBX event on March 13.
Following the World Championships, Snowboard Cross has one remaining World Cup in Switzerland from March 24 to 26.
As Australia’s east coast sweltered, two-time World Champion Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin roared back onto the Snowboard Cross podium winning gold at the Feldberg World Cup in Germany yesterday in a dramatic race which saw fellow Aussie Jarryd Hughes claim the silver.
The one/two finish by Pullin and Hughes is a first for Australia on the World Cup Snowboard Cross tour.
Pullin’s latest win marks seven World Cup victories in a stellar career that has seen the 29-year-old remain consistently at or near the top of the Snowboard Cross world rankings since 2010.
Feldberg has solidified the momentum that Pullin says was building and feels “bloody awesome”.
“I’ve had a couple of frustratingly close races this season. It’s really nice to get a win.”
The weekend had its ups and downs for Pullin, after he failed to qualify for the finals in the first World Cup on Saturday.
“That was a bummer but I learned a lot about the track.”
The proven champion knew what he wanted after the disappointment of the day before.
“I came out pretty fired up. It was always going to be a long day and it was really important to put down a fast run in the in the heat.”
So fast, that Pullin was the fastest qualifier by almost half a second on a 36 second track.
“To be able to pull that sort of margin gave me a boost. I raced a final in that first heat. To turn Saturday’s bad race day to a good one the next day was important to me. I knew I had the potential and I had to prove it to myself.”
The strong field included the who’s who of Men’s Snowboard Cross including the 2014 Sochi gold medallist, Pierre Vaultier (France) and current world ranked number one Omar Visitin (Italy).
“Racing is incredibly close at the moment. One of the best things was that I got to race all the best guys and beat the World Cup leader not once but twice,” Pullin said.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to be anyone else today when I was in the gate. Winning was exactly what I wanted. To turn it around after yesterday makes me really happy.”
“The best rider is the one who can adapt – even if the course is not in their favour,” Pullin added.
Also adapting to the course was Jarryd Hughes, who took the silver but is no stranger to the podium having won a World Cup four years ago at just 17 and took gold in the X Games in 2016.
Hughes says his racing style is to focus on what he’s doing and to trust his instincts.
Those instincts paid off in Feldberg when ne narrowly made it through to the semi-finals in a photo finish and then fought hard to make it to the big final.
“I go in without a set plan and let what I want to do take over. There’s a lot of intensity at the start gate and it’s the people who best deal with it that continue on,” Hughes said.
“It was a fun race. I was really struggling with the start and was always in fourth in turn two so it made for a fun day of racing for me and to walk away with two finals is just a cherry on top,” Hughes said.
Featuring in the top eight was another Aussie, Adam Lambert who, in his first World Cup events in Germany, won his heat and quarter final but had to settle for the small final, where he finished 7th overall. Cam Bolton placed 21st and Matt Thomas 29th.
In the Ladies Snowboard Cross, with two victories already this season, Belle Brockhoff, was unlucky not to medal, having made it to the final four – but she still holds the overall world number one ranking.
The fifth Snowboard Cross World Cup will be held in Kazan, Russia from 24 to 26 February.
It was another successful day of qualifying last night as five Australians made their way through to the finals of the Snowboard Cross world cup in Bulgaria.
The men kicked off the sprint-style event, with Alex 'Chumpy' Pullin (4th), Cam Bolton (7th) and Jarryd Hughes (19th) all getting the green light after impressive first runs.
Matt Thomas (28th) also made the second round of qualifying runs, with Adam Dickson and Josh Miller just missing the cut for Saturday's finals.
Current world number two Belle Brockhoff then followed the boys, finishing 2nd in qualification with another great run and will take a load of confidence after a tough competition last time out in Solitude.
Coach Ben Wordsworth said the riders have had to adjust to the sprint course, but have done so successfully.
"We try and keep the preparation the same with each event," he explained.
"Good course analysis, plenty of video review and aiming for a fast qualification time for the best gate selection on finals day."
"The times today were all around 19 seconds so it all happens pretty quickly, but the athletes like it technical and it still has some good size jumps which suit our guys."
Another World Cup awaits our Australian snowboard cross athletes, heading across the pond to Banslo, Bulgaria; making its debut appearance on the world cup tour.
World number 2 female Belle Brockhoff will be looking to keep up her strong current form, after finishing 6th in the final in Soltitude.
While in the men's field, current Top 10 riders Alex Pullin and Jarryd Hughes will compete on one of the shorter courses designed for the tour calendar, and will also be joined by Cam Bolton and NSWIS riders Matt Thomas, Josh Miller and Adam Dickson.
Bulgaria will pose a different test for the athletes than what they have faced so far this season, with a more technical start section which is placed on a steep face.
From there, riders will head into the main features which consist of a step down, triple, table top and final jumps varying in size from 16 to 22 metres.
Speed will be key to success in the shorter form of the track, with qualification starting tomorrow night (AEDT) at 7:45pm for the men and 10:30pm for the women, with live scoring found on the FIS website.
Belle Brockhoff bounced back from a slight fall in qualification to finish sixth in the Big Final of the Snowboard Cross World Cup in Solitude, USA, this morning.
After qualifying in 15th for the finals, Brockhoff placed 3rd in her quarter final and semi-final to book a spot in the Big Final.
A mistake on a feature near the top of the course in the final, put her behind and was unable to make up any ground on the leaders. Eva Samkova won the event and leapfrogged Brockhoff into the world number one spot.
She did not slip far, holding onto the second place in the world rankings after a tough day of snow conditions.
In the men's competition, Jarryd Hughes topped the list of Aussies, finishing the World Cup in eighth overall after placing second in the Small Final.
Hughes just snuck in to the finals after qualifying in 41st place, but backed up last month's fourth placing with another top-10 placing today.
Dual World Champion Alex Pullin (17th), NSWIS rider Matt Thomas (22nd) and Cam Bolton (23rd) were not able to make it past the second round of head to head racing.
Josh Miller qualified for finals to finish in 43rd, while Adam Dickson was 53rd in the qualification round.
A World Cup Snowboard Cross team event also took place at Solitude, with Jarryd Hughes and Josh Miler representing Australia. The team unfortunately was knocked out in the first round of competition, finishing ranked equal 13th.
The next stop on the Snowboard Cross World Cup tour is Solitude Mountain Resort, USA - a new venue for the sport in which Australians have been successful in recent years , inspired in many instances by two-time Olympian and World Champion Alex “Chumpy” Pullin, Current World Cup leader Belle Brockhoff and X Games Champ, Jarryd Hughes.
Along with Pullin, Brockhoff and Hughes Australia’s Snowboard Cross team for Solitude includes Cam Bolton and NSWIS riders Matt Thomas, Adam Dickson and Josh Miller.
The event, to be held from 19 to 21 January, will be the second World Cup for the 2016-17 season and the first major international snowboarding competition Solitude has hosted.
That the course will be new to all competitors could well suit the Australians according to OWIA head Coach Ben Wordsworth.
“We’ve never raced at Solitude before and because it’s the first World Cup on that slope, we don’t know what the course will be like,” Wordsworth said.
However, there’s been lots of snow, which lends itself to building something big and technical – and that generally suits our athletes.”
“We have very high-end athletes such as Alex and Belle who are very good in the technical area.”
“Belle really likes the big rollers, jumps and banks and she’s skilful in that area,” he said.
Belle Brockhoff triumphed in a thrilling and exciting snowboard cross World Cup opener in mid-December at Montafon in Austria, winning her second career gold in a photo finish in what she described as a challenging course.
After a short break over the Christmas period in Australia Belle re-joined the OWIA Snowboard Cross Team in Ski Cooper, putting in valuable preparation.
"I had great preparation this week for the upcoming world cup in Solitude and I’m looking forward to the racing this week and starting 2017 strong," Belle said.
Alex “Chumpy” Pullin, who began his season in Montafon with a third place, says he is on track for this weekend’s event.
"I had a good training camp in Ski Cooper this last week and I am looking forward to getting back to the World Cup in Solitude this week with some solid racing."
For Wordsworth, results count. “We’re staying focussed on what we need to do, which is to get results.”
21-year-old Jarryd Hughes, already an Olympian from Sochi, had a great start to his season in Montafon despite being injured, qualifying second and making it to the final where he ended up fourth overall.
“Qualifying second was really a confidence-booster and great way to come into the season,” Hughes said.
“In the run-up to Montafon I was injured (with bone bruising) and only had 12 days on snow the entire month and that included all the race days.”
Time at home after Montafon provided the youngest team member of the OWIA Snowboard Cross team time to recover, relax, train and enjoy a bit of summer.
“I’d be lost without the beach and the snow.” he said. “I was training at home after I got back, but it’s also good to relax and enjoy the summer while I can.”
“I left for Utah on January 10 with a few extra days to acclimatise and be with a few other riders to make sure I’m physically and mentally ready for Solitude. I like to focus on what I’m doing.”
His focus has much to do with personal belief and trusting his instincts.
“Some people have a whole lot of plans,” he said when asked what it’s like to stand waiting at the start gate. “I go in without a set race plan and let what I want to do take over. I trust my instincts.”
“There’s a lot of intensity at the start gate and it’s the people who best deal with it that continue on.”
OWIA athlete Cam Bolton is looking to improve on his season opener.
“Cam is healthy and has trained hard over the Australian summer,” coach Wordsworth said.
“He’s definitely one of our fastest riders. It was unfortunate in Montafon that he was hit by another rider in the quarters and went out."
The winter wonderland dream results continue for Australia with Belle Brockhoff and Alex (Chumpy) Pullin winning Gold and Bronze respectively in the opening World Cup of the Snowboard Cross season in Montafon, Austria overnight.
It could not have gone any better for the NSWIS athlete Belle Brockhoff who had a near perfect qualifying run on Thursday, finishing second behind Olympic champion Eva Samkova, before winning the Quarter Final then coming second in her Semi to book a spot in the Final.
Trailing by a small margin to Sochi Bronze medallist Chloe Trespeuch coming through the second time-gate, Brockhoff had to work hard to take back the lead in the Final, to claim victory in the end. She was jubilant to start her season off in the best possible way.
“Couldn’t ask for anything better to start the tour off. Thank you for the support, happy days,” Belle Brockhoff said after winning Gold.
A full-strength field was another tough challenge for the men, but as big names dropped out in the quarter finals, Pullin and fellow Aussie Jarryd Hughes made the most of it to push deep into the finals, with Pullin snaring a podium spot in 3rd.
Hughes got the jump on Pullin in the qualifying round, coming in second with Chumpy sitting in 11th.
But the Quarter Final was where the boys really got going, topping their respective group before moving through to the same Semi, where Hughes pipped Pullin and both progressed to the Final.
The tables were turned in the final when Hughes unfortunately did not finish to place fourth overall as Chumpy raced through in third to join Brockhoff with a podium finish.
Pullin copped a knock to the mouth in the final, but was thrilled with his result and congratulated USA winner Hagen Kearney on his first World Cup win.
“Sick day of racing, stoked to land on the podium at the first stop of the tour after some really tight heats,” Pullin said.
After the races, Olympic Winter Institute of Australia head coach Ben Wordsworth credited Brockhoff and Pullin’s hard work in training and said they were delighted to get a great early result.
“Belle has put a lot of work in through the Australian winter which paid off today. She made a great pass in the final and took a great win,” he said.
“Chumpy also rode extremely well today, putting a lot of work into his equipment and technique over the break. He rode some tight heats and made some great racing moves to get that podium.”
The only other Australian to qualify for finals, Cam Bolton, progressed through his Eight Final but couldn’t move out of the Quarters, finishing 15th overall.
NSW Institute of Sport team mates Matt Thomas, Josh Miller and Adam Dickson were placed 33rd, 38th and 56th after the qualifying competition.
A World Cup team event also took place in Montafon, with Matt Thomas and Josh Miller representing Australia. The young team did well placing fifth in the small final.
The athletes will break over Christmas in preparation for the next World Cup event in USA starting January 19.
A fit and healthy Australian Snowboard Cross team are ready for the first World Cup of the new season, as they take to the snow for qualification in Montafon, Austria tonight.
The bar is set high within the talented group of Olympians and exciting youngsters, with the season opener acting as perfect ground to showcase some solid early form.
Belle Brockhoff, fresh off winning two Europa Cup events in Pitzal, Austria last week, will lead the charge with New South Wales Institute of Sport team-mate Cam Bolton, who finished 9th last week, and Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin taking to the snow in the men’s field.
Jarryd Hughes, Josh Miller and Adam Dickson will also be competing, as Australia showcases one of its strongest ever fields in the sport.
Confident ahead of this week’s event, coach Ben Wordsworth said his team had been training well and are searching for good results early.
“Chumpy, Belle, Cam and NSWIS athlete Matt Thomas, have been here in Pitzal using the state-of-the-art facilities in preparation for this week,” he said.
“The last three weeks of preparation have been used to fine tune their technique and most importantly their heat racing to prepare for some strong results in the first race.”
Olympic qualification is far from the minds of Wordsworth and his team, with the ultimate goal of PyeongChang in 2018 still a fair way down the track.
“We don’t think about it, we just want to focus on the World Cups,” Wordsworth said.
“Obviously the qualification aspect is in there, but we just want the guys to try and nail each race and get the best results we can and the qualification will follow.”
Varying weather conditions earlier in the week raised some concerns over the start time of the event, but more stable and colder weather in the Vorarlberg Alps have helped ensure the event will go ahead.
Qualifcation starts tonight at 11pm AEDT, with the finals starting at midnight on Friday to be shown live on Eurosport. You can find more information and program times below.
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