By Leah Jones and Robyn Hakes

The Swatch Boardercross World Tour 2000, February 17-19, 2000 atMountain High, California was literally inches away from cancellation.But after a strom rolled in and filled in the course, the sky cleared upand the course was ready. For the racers, it was all about the top andthe bottom of the course. Out of the starting gate it was narrow andfast, and a s-curve took a lot of riders out. The key to finishing waspower through the lower portion of the course, where the snow wasslower.

February 17 and 18 were time trials, with 24 heats of racing on SaturdayFebruary 19. Before the first heat hit the course, everyone took amoment of silence in memory of Davide Marciandi, the boardercross racerwho died February 10, 2000. He was caught in an avalanche in Italy (seestory in More News Titled Marciandi Dies in Avalanche).

The race format was slightly different, with single elimination afterone Last Chance Qualifier run. There’s usually a losers bracket, butbecause it was so warm, event organizers were worried about the coursegetting too rutted up. The new format made for a much faster event.

Women’s winner Dena Melinn came up through the LCQ run to take it all inthe finals. “I’ve been doing the Swatch tour for about three years andthis is my first win. It’s great because I learned how to snowboard onthis hill about thirteen years ago. I haven’t been back in about eightyears. All my family is here, my dad, my mom, my brother, all hisfriends. Everybody’s been real supportive. I got a little lucky there inthe final, there were some crashes but I was able to get around them.”

Carlee Baker, Catherine Poetzl,, and Brigitte Koeck were the riders whocrashed. Catherine recovered to get second place followed by BrigitteKoeck to round out the top three finishers.

Canadian rider Drew Neilson took the 10,000 first place prize for themen’s division. This was his fourth boardercross win this year with theX-Games, the Gravity Games, a Kokanee Kross in Canada, and now this win.

Describing the finals, Neilson said, “It was fast and furious, it waspretty scary. If you could survive the first corner and stay on yourfeet, it was really tight. I was in the lead and lost it a bit on thesecond corner. Philipe made a move on the inside and then we drag-raceduntil the break-over. I managed just to get past him, landed really flaton the jump at the corner and then just hung in until the end. I justabout gave it up, Philippe Conte gave it a good charge,”

It was a photo finish, with Neilson coming out the victor. Blue Windowriders Phillippe Conte and Tor Bruserund came in second and thridrespectively.

The Blue Window/Santa Cruz team was a strong force today. With threeracers in the men’s final, they were destined to have at least one onthe podium “I think this was the first time I raced three of them at atime, maybe not, but in the final you always have to watch out for thoseguys, there good.”

Wrightwood Mayor Gordonaire was present for the event. It was the firstboardercross she’s attended and she loved it. “I hope it happens hereagain next year. The people involved are top notch, wonderful people, sowe want them back.”

Results for the event:
Men
1 Drew Neilson
2 Philippe Conte
3 Tor Bruserud
4 Harald Putz
5 Ernst Thue
6 Christoph Maierhofer

Women
1 Dena Melinn
2 Catherine Poetzl
3 Brigitte Koeck
4 Carlee Baker
5 Katharina Himmler
6 Bibian Mentel