Mount Snow, Vermont, March 7 – Bertrand Denervaud of Switzerland, whocompeted in the first-ever Olympic snowboarding event in Nagano, took awalk on the wild side racing to victory in the final U.S. stop of theSwatch Boarder-X World tour Presented by Airwalk at Mount Snow,Vermont. Fabrizio Bonacina (Italy), winner of the Copper Mountain event came in second and Sweden’s Pontus Staahlkloo, also an Olympicrider, finished third. In the women’s finals, Catherine Ine Poetzl(Austria) blew down the course like a blizzard, upsetting MargueriteCossettini’s shot at winning all three North American events. Cossettini (Australia) finished second and Pepi Ahonen (Finland)finished third.
Finally! My first win! $5,000!, screamed an exuberant Poetzl, justbefore her boyfriend Christoph Maierhofer, also a very tough competitorin the men’s finals, literally jumped on her.
The women’s race was especially fierce with the addition of PepiAhonen. Mount Snow was the first event of this year’s tour for Ahonen,who won at Bear Mountain in 1997 and placed second overall last year. She is one of the sport’s top competitors. Poetzl has been on the tourfor two years and attributes her first win today to her lucky hat a giftfrom her primary sponsor Oxygen. In the men’s race, Denervaud had tomove fast to recover from a late start, but quickly caught up withBonacina who missed the first whoops. On a roll from his impressiveplacements in North America, Bonacina proudly stood next to Denervaud onthe winner’s podium with his board wrapped in an Italian flag.
Anticipating the tour’s move back across the Atlantic, the Mount Snowevent was an utter European invasion. Only three American riders –Jason Brown, winner of the Bear Mountain race in January, March Schulzand Ryan Neptune made the top 20. Adept to the harder-pack conditions,the European riders made this one an especially tough race.
Event producer Erik Kalacis commented, Boardercross is attracting moreand more world class competition. What started out as an extreme sportfor a handful of thrill seekers has become one of snowboarding’s mostpopular disciplines and a true test of skill.
Developed as a hybrid between snowboarding an motocross in 1991,boardercross is the only snowboard discipline where hard and soft bootriders meet head-to-head on the same course. Each Swatch Boarder-Xevent embodies an alternative style with a unique language, fashion andmusical taste that has captured the hearts of snowboarders across theglobe. Six riders simultaneously race the terrain-feature-filled courseat high speed with no judges or timing, and the winner takes all. Boardercross is by far the sport’s most exciting form for spectators.
Snowboarding premiered as an Olympic event for the first time at theNagano games, and boardercross is being discussed as a possible additionin 2002. It has quickly become the preferred vehicle for tearing up theslopes by millions and is breathing new life into resorts everywhere.
Mount Snow marks the last U.S. stop of the Swatch Boarder-X World TourPresented by Airwalk. In each of the U.S. Events, riders competed for a$35,000 cash purse. The next event will take place in Laax, Switzerlandwith a cash purse of $50,000. The tour airs on ESPN2 and a specialbehind-the-scenes look will appear on Fox’s Board Wild. The SwatchBoarder-X World Tour presented by Airwalk is sanctioned by theInternational Snowboard Federation (ISF) and is sponsored by Swatch,Airwalk and O’Neill. The North American segment of the tour is producedby Peak Productions. Mount Snow’s race will air on April 17 at 2:00 am.
At a press conference following the event, Kalacis announced next year’sproposed dates:
SOLDEN, Austria, November 14-15
COURMAYEUR, Italy, December 18-20
BEAR MOUNTAIN, California, January 8-10
COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colorado, January 29-31
JAPAN, February 12-14
USA TBD, February 25-27
CANADA TBD, March 12-14
LAAX, SWITZERLAND, April 8-11