Olympic snowboard halfpipe gold medalist Ross Powers takes SBX third at Telluride World Cup

Posted By: The Ski Channel on December 20, 2009 10:06 am

Ross Powers continues to surprise the world as he rode to third at the Visa U.S. Snowboardcross World Cup in Telluride, CO Saturday afternoon. The Vermont native was the 2002 Olympic gold medalist in the halfpipe event, and recently made the switch to SBX, racing against much more seasoned competitors. 

Powers has won more halfpipe titles than any snowboarder in history, and now it looks as if he’s in for a repeat in another snowboarding discipline. He’s now only the third U.S. rider to grab a top-four  World Cup result in just two events, after Seth Wescott (Sugarloaf, ME) and Graham Watanabe (Sun Valley, ID) took second and third, respectively, in Argentina. A top four result is the lead qualifying criteria for 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.

“I grew up doing a little of everything, racing gates, doing freestyle,” Powers said of his multiple talents. “I used to battle it out with Wescott every weekend. In ’06, I was the alternate in the halfpipe, went over to Torino, watched these guys do snowboardcross, and I was fired up about it.”

Wescott encouraged Powers to try the new sport, and the rest looks like it will again make history.  

As for Wescott, the 2006 Olympic SBX gold medalist took sixth for the men at Telluride, and five-time X Games gold medalist Nate Holland (Squaw Valley, CA) finished seventh. Watanabe (Sun Valley, ID) crashed early, and finished eighth.

Watanabe was disappointed that he couldn’t join Powers in the big final, but was pleased with his overall performance. ”It was a really good day, I’m super psyched,” Watanabe said. “You know, I’m never content with a small final, but I’m really happy with the way the day went. All said and done, lot of great racing today and Telluride did a great job with the event.”

On the women’s side, 2006 Olympic  silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton, VT) crashed after having her board clipped, though she had been riding well. ”Lindsey rode great, and I don’t think she did anything wrong,” said U.S. Snowboarding Head Coach Peter Foley. “She had a great race, she smoked the top, she and Maelle just tangled it up. Sometimes you can stay on your feet and sometimes you can’t, but she went down.”

U.S. Team athlete Faye Gulini (Salt Lake City, UT) won the final qualifying spot for the women’s race Friday and took a career best eighth after getting second in the first heat with Jacobellis.

Today the athletes again take to the Telluride World Cup course for the Team SBX event.


photo: Okemo