Snowboardcross, Skicross Competition Kicks Off World Championships
Four women and five men make up the U.S. snowboardcross team set to compete in Thursday’s FIS World Championships qualifying round of competition. For the men, competitors include 2018 Junior World Champion Jake Vedder (Pickney, Mich.), eight-time X Games gold medalist Nate Holland (Sandpoint, Idaho), three-time World Championship medalist Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, Mich.), and first time World Championships athlete Mick Dierdorff (Steamboat Springs, Colo.).
“To make the World Championships team and compete with a guy like Nate Holland, who I have looked up to my entire life is truly an honor to me,” said Vedder. “I podiumed in my last race in Italy and I have a lot of confidence coming into this event. I am looking forward to the race on Friday.”
Holland also shared his excitement to have a race back on U.S. soil.
“It’s good to be back racing on home soil,” he said. “We used to have a lot more races in the U.S. and this feels like a reunion. Also, it adds to the drive to earn a medal at World Championships. I was planning on retiring last year at the Olympics, but I didn’t make that team. I decided to go to Switzerland at the end of the season and ended up winning a contest. After, I looked at the schedule for the next season and decided my goal was to make it to Worlds and to basically have my family and friends come watch me race on U.S. soil one last time. I’m going to throw it down on that course and see what happens. I am here to do a couple things, win, and then throw a party. ”
For the women, Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, Vt.) leads the way as defending champion. Jacobellis has never lost in a World Championship snowboardcross event. Joining Jacobellis are U.S. Ski & Snowboard teammates Meghan Tierney (Edwards, Colo.), and Stacy Gaskill (Golden, Colo.). In addition, Americans Anna Miller (Orem, Utah) and Livia Molodyh (Hubbard, Ore.) will also compete.
“I really like the course,” said Tierney. “It’s big and fast and I’m really excited to get things going. Also, I think it’s amazing to have the event here in Utah. Not only because my family and friends can come out and watch, but for all the young American girls coming up watching the sport.”
Miller also shared her thoughts on the course at Solitude Mountain Resort.
“I was not here two years ago for the World Cup, so this is a new type of course for me,” she said. “I think the biggest thing about boardercross is you have to be adaptable no matter what the course is going to be because it’s out of your control. You have to ride fast and do your best no matter what.”
On Saturday, skicross competition will commence with the seeding round of competition. The U.S. skicross team consists of one man and three women. Tyler Wallasch (Los Angeles, Calif.) will represent the men.
“It’s pretty special to represent your country at this level,” said Wallasch. “This will be my third World Champs, but this one is a little extra special being on home soil! I haven’t raced an elite level race in the US since the World Cup in 2012, so I’ve always looked forward to coming home! The track here is fast and looks promising for some close racing and some serious battles on Saturday. I’m looking forward to every second of it!”
For the women, Tania Prymak (Goshen, N.Y.), Leta McNatt (Ridgeway, Colo.) and Solitude Mountain Resort athlete Whitney Gardner (Zephyr Cove, Nev.) are set to compete.
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Friday, Feb. 1
1:00 p.m. - FIS World Championships men and women’s snowboardcross - Solitude, Utah - NBCSN & NBC Sports Gold
Saturday, Feb. 2
3:00 p.m. - FIS World Championships men and women’s skicross - Solitude, Utah - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold