Whistler, B.C.—After winning the last World Cup snowboardcross race in October in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, U.S. Snowboarding’s Nate Holland (Olympic Valley, CA) stepped onto the podium again Thursday after finishing second in the first of two World Cup SBX races in Whistler. Five American men qualified for finals, including reigning world champion Seth Wescott (Farmington, ME), who won his Worlds gold at Whistler last January but finished ninth in the day’s event. Victory went to Italy’s Alberto Schiavon.

“Nate killed it all day, said U.S. Snowboarding Head SBX Coach Peter Foley. “He just rises to the occasion. The bigger the event, the more he focuses in and goes fast, and today was just another example.

Wescott, the next top U.S. rider, qualified first but went out in the quarterfinals after he got thrown too far off a bump and crashed. Shaun Palmer (South Lake Tahoe, CA) qualified second, but also was knocked out after crashing in his first finals heat to place 17th. Also making finals were Mark Schultz (Portland, OR; 19th) and Worlds SBX bronze medalist Jayson Hale (Sierraville, CA; 26th).

“We can only enter five athletes in a World Cup competition and to have all five make finals shows just how deep our team is, said Foley. “They are all podium contenders — and we still have two or three guys at home who are just as strong. These guys are just getting better and better all the time.

In the women’s SBX, France’s Julie Pomagalski beat out fellow countrywoman Karine Ruby for top honors. U.S. Snowboarding’s Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mtn., VT) was the only American woman to make the finals, placing 16th.

As for tomorrow’s SBX, said Foley, “Each rider has some little adjustments they want to make for tomorrow in the pack races, but everyone is riding so fast in qualifying. I think we’ll do even better tomorrow.

For complete results, visit the Web at:
http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=19396&cal_suchsector=SB.

RESULTS

FIS Snowboard World Cup
Whistler, B.C.Snowboardcross #1, Dec. 8, 2005

MEN
(32 make finals)

1. Alberto Schiavon, Italy
2. Nate Holland, Olympic Valley, Calif.
3. Paul-Henri Delerue, France
4. Drew Neilson, Canada

WOMEN
(16 make finals)

1. Julie Pomagalski, France
2. Karine Ruby, France
3. Erin Simmons, Canada
4. Deborah Anthioz, France