U.S. Team Snowboardcross Athletes Ready for First World Cup of the Season

Posted By: The Ski Channel on September 9, 2009 11:36 am

It’s still pretty balmy in North America, but down South, it’s a whole ‘nother story. It’s winter, and the 2009/2010 season has begun.

The first Olympic qualifying events are set for this weekend in Chapelco, Argentina, and the U.S. Snowboardcross athletes are ready. “We trained for a few days before coming here, so that was good,” U.S. Snowboarding Head Coach Peter Foley said. “This is the first of five Olympic selection events, so it’s huge. It seems like everybody is on it so far. They’re all prepared and they know what to do.”

As are so many of our U.S. Teams, the U.S. Snowboard crew is stacked. The men’s side features 2006 SBX Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott (Sugarloaf, ME), five-time X Games gold medalist Nate Holland (Squaw Valley, CA), World Cup winner Graham Watanabe (Sun Valley, ID) and World Championship bronze medalist Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, MI). Legendary Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, VT), the most successful World Cup SBX athlete ever—leads the ladies.

In spite of their amazing success, the athletes are pumped yet a little nervous for the season’s start. “I am very excited, but I feel a little bit of pressure, not because of the Olympics, but because the first event every year is brand new,” Watanabe said. “There are a lot of good riders here, but I feel very good.”

Watanabe’s confidence will help carry him. The athletes haven’t yet been able to train on the course, but they’re still prepared and optimistic. “I looked at the course today. It’s a little short and flat, but there is more work to be done on it,” Watanabe said.

“Since we’ve gotten here to Chapelco we’ve just been free riding­–but we’ve had some really fun powder and good jumps,” Foley said.

Qualifications for the Chapelco World Cup start on Friday, with final heats set for Saturday.