Mount Snow, Vermont, March 6 With official results just in, Europe’stop riders dominated the men’s qualifying trials for tomorrow’s SwatchBoarder-X competition at Mount Snow, making it an especially competitiverace for American contenders Jason Brown, Mark Schulz and Ryan Neptune. The women’s race is also likely to be the toughest fight for the finishso far as Nillard Pilavakis, Marguerite Cossettini and Pepi Ahonen faceoff for the first time since their big showdown at the last Vans WorldChampionship.
ESPN2′s Kris Jamieson commented, The Americans in the top 20 are allsoft boot riders, which usually gives them an edge in a tight group likea boardercross race, but the Europeans (who are mainly hard boot riders)are very adept in the icy conditions. This one will come down toindividual skill and speed control.
Making an impressive showing against an array of world class competitorswere Melissa Nicholson, Tristan Herbert and Elia Hamilton all membersof the Mount Snow Ride On! Team. Another local boarder, Theadore Rauh,qualified 34th and will take a shot at the $35,000 cash purse.
Jason Brown, who placed first at the Bear Mountain, California, eventcame in just ahead of Italy’s Fabrizio Bonacina, Copper Mountain’swinner. Each will be looking for a second North American win as theybattle riders from more than 12 countries, including Bertrand Denervaud,the Olympic boarder from Switzerland. Marguerite Cossettini(Australia) has been the boarder to beat in the women’s competitions,taking first in both previous U.S. stops. However, this time, one ofboardercross’ toughest female athletes, Pepi Ahonen (Finland) will addedto the mix and Nillard Pilavakis, female world champion and a native NewEnglander, is on her home snow.
The action begins tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. Mount Snow marks the lastU.S. stop of the Swatch Boarder-X World Tour Presented by Airwalk. The next event will take place in Laax, Switzerland. The tour airs onESPN2 and a special behind-the-scenes look will appear on Fox’s BoardWild. The Swatch Boarder-X World Tour Presented by Airwalk issanctioned by the International Snowboard Federation (ISF) and issponsored by Swatch, Airwalk and ONeill.
Men’s Top 10 Qualifiers In Order:
1. Bertrand Denervaud (SUI), 51.95
2. Davide Marciandi (ITA), 52.64
3. Tor Bruserud (NOR), 52.78
4. Philippe Conte (FRA), 53.12
5. Pontus Staahlkloo (SWE), 53.35
6. Jason Brown (USA), 53.35
7. Fabrizio Bonacina (ITA), 54.08
8. Laurent Besse (FRA), 54.11
9. Michael Toelderer (AUT), 54.43
10. Alexis Chretien (FRA), 54.72
Women’s Top 10 Qualifiers In Order:
1. Nici Pederzolli (AUT), 60.88
2. Ine Poetzl (AUT),62.60
3. Marguerite Cossettini (AUS), 62.73
4. Pepi Ahonen (FIN),63.27
5. Maria Pfurtshellr (AUT),63.92
6. Claire Gastaud (FRA), 65.48
7. Mayumi Fukuda (CAN) 65.95
8. Nillard Pilavakis (USA), 68.29
9. Christina Krieg (USA), 70.30
10. Brittney Mahanna (USA), 70.43