Gone are the days that a great freerider can show up to a boardercross and have a chance in hell. Today’s race, the first event of the Vans Triple Crown in Breckenridge, Colorado, was a sure sign of things to come.

Yesterday’s qualifier set the stage for the main event. Euros, veterans of the World Cup, and a couple Canadians (Gaffney and Neilson) basically cleaned house. Philippe Conte of France, who won his first big boardercrosses last season, posted the fastest time with a 47.46. Right behind him was his brother, Nicolas, a relative no-namer in boardercross, who this summer was heard saying, “I can’t just let my brother win everything.” Seth Wescott was the top U.S. rider in qualifying, finishing seventh.

So today, under long-awaited snowy skies, the absolute best riders from all over the world (man, if you’ve never been to one of these events you have to check it out. Grom heaven.) butted heads on what most of them considered a well-designed course. With the new snow the course was pleasantly slower today than yesterday–it started getting pretty hairball yesterday afternoon.

Ueli Kestenholz is standing right here.

“It was a hard battle, my neck is hurting.”

As is Line Oestvald (Line won the first stop of the Swatch BX Tour in Solden), “Oh shit. That’s what I wanted to say.”

Well what can you expect?; it’s their second language. It actually was an insane battle. Get a bunch of riders together who have no problem with speed and are hungry as hell to win the ten grand, and it’s an impressive show of controlled chaos. The course itself didn’t seem to present too many dangers for top riders (all the shitty riders get hurt during practice and qualifying so by the main event it’s pretty clean), but there was the normal quota of entanglements and blowouts.

The biggest thing to happen in boardercross is the advent of teams. The obvious powerhouse is the Blue Window/Santa Cruz team, made up of top Euro racers, freestylers, and boardercross specailists. In some heats the first three spots went to the men in green (Blue Window), and that’s also how the finals ended up.

Philippe Conte, who had the fastest time yesterday, landed on top today, too. Behind him was perennial ruler Berti Denervaud, and third was Tor Bruserud (formerly of the Palmer team). There were no U.S. riders in the men’s final heat, leaving us all asking: who’s gonna step up and take Palmer’s place? Shaun will only be seen at select events like the X-Games and the Gravity Games.

The women’s race was equally green. Austrian Ine Potzl, the leading lady of the Blue Window team nabbed her first medal in almost a year. “I almost forgot what it felt like to win,” she said after. Canada’s Maelle Ricker, who qualified second, also finished second. And yesterday’s top qualifier, Doris Krings (also of Austria) ended up third.

Who impressed me other than the podium folk? I seriously think that Ueli Kestenholz is one of the best riders I’ve ever seen. I didn’t want to say it when he was here, though. For women, I’m always stoked on Burton rider Marguerite Cossettini and her fluid riding; bad luck and a couple wipeouts landed her in ninth today.

Oh, you should see the pipe. Holy shit. More on that and who’s going off when I get home in a little bit. Big Air qualifying is going on now, too. Three inches, man! We’re up to a thirteen-inch base out here. Whew!

MEN’S SNOWBOARD CROSS FINAL RESULTS

Rk. Bib Surname Firstname Nat Sponsor time Purse 1 8 0 CONTE P PHILIPPE FRA 0 $10,000
2 9 0 DENERVAUD BERTRAND SUI 0 $6,500
3 43 0 BRUSERUD TOR NOR 0 $4,000
4 19 0 GAFFNEY SCOTT CAN 0 $3,000
5 11 0 MAIERHOFER CHRISTOPH AUT 0 $2,000
6 30 0 KESTENHOLZ UELI SUI 0 $1,000
7 78 0 NEILSON DREW CAN 0 $700
8 65 0 SCHULZ MARK USA 0 $600
9 64 0 BROWN JASON 0 $500
10 68 0 HUSER MARCO SUI 0 $400
11 58 0 EVANS JASON USA 0 $300
12 41 0 JANSSON HENNRIK SWE 0 $200
13 76 0 CONTE N NICOLAS FRA 0 48.17 $100
13 15 0 BONACINA FABRIZIO ITL 0 49.34 $100 13 44 0 BIE-LARSEN BORRE NOR 0 49.59 $100
13 2 0 MARCIANDI DAVIDE ITA 0 49.87 $100
17 75 0 DELERUE XAVIER FRA 0 48.68 $100
17 12 0 RAITMAIR GERNOT 0 50.06 $100
17 20 0 LAMOUREUX JUSTIN CAN 0 50.65 $100
17 116 0 BEAUREGARD ERIC CAN 0 50.89 $100
21 42 0 THUE ERNST NOR 0 49.95
21 77 0 JORDAN XAVIER SUI 0 50.16
21 7 0 BENSELIN HARALD SUI 0 50.27
* 21 18 0 IHAKSI JEFF CAN 0 51.41
25 112 0 JONES JEREMY USA 0 50.20
25 62 0 NEPTUNE RYAN USA 0 50.34
25 21 0 COWTAN CARL CAN 0 51.49
25 50 0 DEHMLOW LUCAS USA 0 51.95
29 3 0 SANTOPIETRO GABRIELE AUS 0 50.01
29 156 0 DOWD DAVE USA 0 51.33
29 128 0 GOLDBERG RUBE CAN 0 51.70
29 90 0 KONING MATTHEW 0 52.02
33 56 0 WESCOTT SETH USA 0 49.24
33 86 0 FINCH ANDY USA 0 50.62
33 106 0 FRIESEN MARK CAN 0 50.80
33 51 0 BOWER RICKY USA 0 51.08
33 189 0 SMART SHANE USA 0 51.46
33 85 0 WAINWRIGHT BEN CAN 0 52.08
33 170 0 DESCHENES GUY CAN 0 52.18
33 89 0 ROSENGREN MICHAEL 0 52.26
41 87 0 ROBERTSON CHRISTIAN USA 0 51.57
41 13 0 SANDOZ BASTIEN SUI 0 51.59
41 5 0 GMEINER AXEL AUT 0 51.75
41 66 0 SHRIVE MATT USA 0 51.91
41 195 0 NIERNBERG JOSH USA 0 51.99
41 93 0 LOUGEE RYAN 0 52.00
41 102 0 STIEG BRANDON USA 0 52.12
41 49 0 YOUNG TRAVIS USA 0 52.31

WOMEN SNOWBOARD CROSS FINAL RESULTS

Rk. Bib Code Surname Firstname Nat Sponsor time Purse

1 203 0 POETZL INE AUT 0 $7,500
2 228 0 RICKER MAELLE CAN 0 $4,500
3 202 0 KRINGS DORIS AUT 0 $2,200
4 214 0 JOHNSON AMY USA 0 $1,400
5 217 0 MAHANNA BRITTNEY USA 0 $1,200
6 220 0 PILAVAKIS NILLARD USA 0 $1,000
7 305 0 OLSON LESLEE USA 0 $700
8 212 0 KELLENBER KATHRIN 0 $600
9 239 0 COSSETTIN MARGUERIT AUS 0 $500
10 301 0 YAMADA MARNI USA 0 $400
11 224 0 OESTVOLD LINE NOR 0
12 226 0 FRIEDEN TANJA NOR 0
13 237 0 ZELL JULIE USA 0 57.11
13 307 0 MELINN DENA USA 0 58.96
15 232 0 FUKUDA MAYUMI CAN 0 57.28
15 209 0 PARKER SUZY 0 1:00.40
17 322 0 RUDISHAUS CORRIE USA 0 57.50
17 229 0 GLAZIER LORI CAN 0 58.52
17 238 0 SUNDBERG JAMIE USA 0 59.82
17 245 0 PISCHKE MEGAN USA 0 59.92
21 315 0 DALPIAZ JESSICA USA 0 57.79
21 201 0 PETERSEN SNOW 0 57.94
21 240 0 QUINN STAR CAN 0 58.23
21 250 0 WINTERSCH MARYL USA 0 1:00.04