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Huckaby Wins; Five More on the Podium in Pyhä Snowboard Cross

By Ryan Odeja
February, 8 2024
Brenna Huckaby and Dennae Russell of the U.S. on course in Pyha
Dennae Russell (left) and Brenna Huckaby (middle) of the U.S. racing in snowboard cross in Pyhä, Finland. (Simo Vilhunen).

The U.S. Para Snowboard Team completed their second snowboard cross World Cup event of the season in Pyhä, Finland, Wednesday morning with five athletes on the podium, bringing the podium count for this event to 10 overall. 

It was a freezing, windy day in central Finland, with temperatures hovering around -2 degrees Fahrenheit. Athletes adorned tape across their faces to protect themselves from the environment. 

Brenna Huckaby continued to dominate her field, finishing first once again in the LL1/LL2 classification. Huckaby has podiumed in every World Cup event so far this season. Following behind Huckaby was Dennae Russell, who finished third for the second time this weekend. 

On the men’s side, Mike Schultz (LL1) earned his best result of the season, finishing second.

“The last two weeks in Finland have been a lot of fun with the team and super productive with my performance. With the delayed start to my season, I couldn't be happier with my results after the two World Cup events and bringing home a couple of silver medals,” said Schultz. “Next up, [I am continuing] preparation back in Minnesota for my next World Cup snowboard cross and banked slalom competitions in Italy.” 

Keith Gabel (LL2) also had a season's best performance and first podium.

“I feel boardercross suits my riding style well [vs boarder cross]. I’ve been training hard at my home mountains in Aspen and coaching with the local program, so that’s forced me to rethink some of my riding and make some adjustments,” said Gabel. “My focus moving forward is to continue my progress this season, chipping away at my weaknesses and building on my strengths. The World Cup season is a marathon, and it’s important to focus on the process vs the results.”

Mike Minor also finished third in the UL classification, adding his second podium of the week. Joe Pleban (LL2) finished sixth. 

Looking forward, the team is sticking in Pyhä for a few more weeks to continue training before heading into their next World Cup in Grasgehren, Germany, for two more snowboard cross events Feb. 22-23.