A major international snowboarding competition is coming to Telluride. The Visa U.S. Snowboardcross Cup is on the slopes of Telluride Dec. 17-20. It is the only stop in the United States for the FIS Snowboard World Cup, and the second in a series of five Olympic qualifying events for SBX (Snowboardcross) and PGS (Parallel Giant Slalom).
Snowboardcross is a race that gets the adrenalin flowing, as heats of four athletes shoot out of a starting gate at the top of the run, and race through rollers, jumps, and bank turns, in an attempt to be the last athlete standing.
"We're thrilled to bring the World Cup to Colorado and Telluride," said Telluride Ski & Golf CEO Dave Riley. "Colorado is top choice for many athletes to train and we had great success last season with the U.S. team training. Now we're ready to have the national and international snowboard communities focused on Telluride and Colorado in the run-up to the Olympics."
The U.S. Snowboarding Men's SBX Roster includes Olympic champion Seth Wescott (Sugarloaf, Maine), five-time X Games gold medalist Nate Holland (Squaw Valley) World Championship bronze medalist Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, Mich.), World Cup winner Graham Watanabe (Sun Valley), World Cup podium performer Jonathan Cheever (Saugus, Mass.) Olympic halfpipe gold medalist Ross Powers (Londonderry, Vt.), and snowboarding legend Shaun Palmer (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.). They'll all try to snag one of four spots on the men's Olympic team.
Olympic silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, Vt.) will be at the event.
Parallel giant slalom athletes on hand include Michelle Gorgone (Boston), who took to the podium of two World Cups last season. On the men's side Tyler Jewell (Steamboat Springs) will be back in the race after an injury kept him from competition last season. Joining him will be Adam Smith (Bend, Ore.) who finished second in a World Cup last season.
Telluride will also host a team SBX exhibition competition. Team SBX pairs two riders from the same country on a team. One races the course against three to five other competitors and when that competitor crosses the finish line, the gate at the start triggers for the next teammate to begin racing.
PGS qualifications and finals are Thursday, Dec. 17. SBX qualifications are Friday, and the finals are Saturday, Dec. 19. The exhibition is on Sunday.