Nagano, Japan — Members of the FIS world cup tour tested the 1998 winter Olympic site. The competition was held at the Kambayashi Snowboard park just outside of Nagano, Japan. The site is built specifically for snowboarding and includes two lifts that service the giant slalom course as well as the halfpipe.
On Saturday, the giant slalom was won by USA team member Mike Jacoby. Mike was pretty stoked to win, especially by more than two seconds combined time. When questioned about the course, he stated that “the site is really nice and I’m really excited to get the chance to return for an Olympic event”. Taking second place, was Mike Kildevaeld of Denmark, who is the country’s only rider and who travels and trains with the US Team. Cruising in for third was Bill Enos of the US. In the women’s division, it was a big win for Sondra Vanert of Ketchum, Idaho. Riding really well in her first run, she beat everyone by nearly three seconds. Her second run was solid, resulting in the gold. Taking fourth was US team member Lynn Ott.
On Sunday, the slalom was dominated by the German team. Mathias Behounek, who took ninth the day before in the GS, scored a big win and took the gold. Just .13 of a second behind, Mike Jacoby of the US came in for second place. In the women’s division, German team member Heidi Renoth, who, like Behounek, also took 9th in the GS, took first place in the slalom as well. Not far behind was Stacia Hookom of the US who pulled in for a clean second place. Sandra Vanert who did well in the GS the day before, unfortunately took a nasty fall just gates before the finish. “Yeah it was a real bummer. I remember looking out ahead at the next gate, realizing I couldn’t get a line around it, and so I went right through the middle”.
On Monday, the halfpipe competition was taken hands down by upcoming superstar Dan Smith. Riding on his Wild Duck snowboard, Dan scored 81.7 points, beating second place winner Lael Gregory by 1.5 points. When asked how he won, Dan simply said “I just rode and tried not to fall, what else is there to say?” Coming in third was the tour leader Ross Powers who has taken two firsts and a second this year. Ross tied for third with Shinichi Watanabe of Japan.
The level of competition was the highest of the season, probably because the halfpipe was so good. Hand crafted by Japanese precision, the pipe was near perfection, which is promising when looking ahead to the Olympics. In the final round the runs were as follows: Shinichi stuck really nice clean airs, including back to back 540′s and a 720; Ross pulled off a 720 as well as a bad ass inverted 900 spin; Lael ripped an eight foot high 720 grab, as well as killer alley oops; Dan went off and stuck a clean 540, an alley oop McTwist, and a super layed out back flip to fakie. All of the winners boosted high on every hit and their straight airs were really nice. Dan, however, pulled through with his smooth skater style and snagged the gold.
Overall, the competitors were really psyched with the organization and quality of work put into the race by the Japanese at the newly built Olympic site. Next week, the next stop on the tour will be held once again in Nagano before heading on to Calgary.
1.Mike Jacoby, Hood River, Oregon, USA (1:40.64); 2.Mike Kildevaeld, Denmark (1:42.33); 3.Bill Enos, USA, Waterville Valley, New Hampshire (1:42.44); 4.Thedo Remmelink, Netherlands (1:42.55); 5.Peter Pechhacker, Austria (1:42.61); 12.Tom Lyman, USA, Whitefish, Montana (1:45.26); 24.Manuel Mendoza, USA, Whitefish, Montana ((53.36); 26.Antonio Davila, USA, Flagstaff Arizona (54.92); 33.Anton Pogue, USA, Hood River, Oregon (55.42); 56.Jeff Greenwood, Granby, Connecticut (1:00.95)
1.Sondra Vanert, USA, Ketchum, Idaho (1:47.53); 2.Manuela Riegler, Austria (1:51.04); 3.Karine Ruby, France (1:51.13); 4.Lynn Ott, USA, Bend, Oregon (1:51.42); 5.Birgit Herbert, Austria (1:51.60); Disqualified: Stacia Hookom, USA, Edwards, Colorado.
1.Mathias Behounek, Germany (1:26.82); 2.Mike Jacoby, USA, Hood River, Oregon (1:26.95); 3.Stefan Kaltschuetz, Austria (1:27.08); 4.Dieter Moherndl, Germany (1:27.40); 5.Ivo Rudiferia, Italy (1:27.44); 10.Antonio Davila, USA, Flagstaff Arizona (1:28.56); 14.Anton Pogue, USA, Hood River, Oregon (1:29.99); 22.Manuel Mendoza, USA, Whitefish, Montana (42.72); 26.Bill Enos, USA, Waterville Valley, New Hampshire (46.29)
1.Heidi Renoth, Germany (1:32.72); 2.Stacia Hookom, USA, Edwards, Colorado (1:33.58); 3.Karine Ruby, France (1:33.79); 4.Tanja Fischer, Germany (1:35.04); 5.Dorothee Fournier, France (1:35.26); Did Not Finish: Sondra Vanert, USA, Ketchum, Idaho.
1.Dan Smith, USA, Evergreen, Colorado (81.7 points); 2.Lael Gregory, USA, Eugene, Oregon (80.2); 3.Ross Powers, USA, South Londonderry, Vermont, and Shinichi Watanabe, Japan (77.0); 5.Taro Imai, Japan (73.9); 6.Dustin DelGuidice, USA, Mammoth Lakes, California (72.1); 7.Rob Kingwill, USA, Jackson Hole, Wyoming (71.6); 17.Tommy Czeschin, USA, Mammoth Lakes, California (66.6); 19.Jeff Greenwood, Granby, Connecticut (64.6)
1.Caroline Van Kilsdonk, Holland (56.4); 2.Annemarie Uliasz, USA, Huntington Beach, California (52.2); 3.Candice Druin, Canada (50.3); 4.Stacey Burke, Canada (47.9); 5.Cammy Potter, USA, Salt Lake, Utah (47.9)