American snowboarder Nate Holland wins his first World Cup snowboard cross in four years on Saturday in South Korea. (photo: U.S. Snowboarding)

Holland Wins Olympic Test Event

Bokwang, South Korea – The American snowboardcross men occupied two of three podium spots at the official Olympic test event for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games on Saturday, where Nate Holland, of Squaw Valley, Calif., took the win and Nick Baumgartner, of Iron River, Mich., was third.  The pair of Americans were separated by Pierre Vaultier of France.

Holland has had great success in his snowboardcross career, including seven X Games gold medals, but it was his first World Cup win in four years, when he won at Veysonnaz, Switzerland. It was a big win for the 37-year-old, who was sidelined for the first part of the season with injury.

“This season’s been brutal for me,” Holland said. “I sprained my pelvis in December and basically sat on a couch for a month so I’m not the strongest I’ve been and I still have some hip pain. It’s a long injury but I just have to wake up early and get the bones moving—once you’re in the gate all that goes away.”

Baumgartner overcame a low qualifying result to make it all the way to a World Cup podium for the 12th time in his career.

“Today was unbelievable,” he said. “I started out wearing bib 34, so I wasn’t super stoked on my time trial. I didn’t get to pick my lane all day. I only got the outsides, but I think I was winning every heat going down the first straightaway after turn one. I had great starts. Are you kidding me? I’m 34 years old—to beat these young kids at starts? That’s exactly what I wanted. I trained all summer for that and it’s paying off. I couldn’t be more stoked.”

American snowboarder Nate Holland wins his first World Cup snowboard cross in four years on Saturday in South Korea. (photo: U.S. Snowboarding)
American snowboarder Nate Holland wins his first World Cup snowboard cross in four years on Saturday in South Korea. (photo: U.S. Snowboarding)

In Saturday’s women’s competition, France’s Chloe Trespeuch took her first victory in impressive fashion. It was anybody’s race until the very end in the ladies’ big final, with Italy’s Moioli, wearing the yellow World Cup leader’s bib, looking like she would take the Olympic preview event like three years ago for Sochi 2014 until a small mistake on the course’s last feature slowed her up and allowed Trespeuch to slingshot past and across the line in first.

“I’m very happy about this victory because it’s my first World Cup win and I’m happy to do it on the Olympic course,” a beaming Trespeuch said from the finish area. “The course was very fun and there was a lot of action going on. It was amazing.”

Reigning Olympic champion Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic finished third, edging out Vermont’s Lindsey Jacobellis. Although she didn’t get the start she wanted, Jacobellis made the final and was in a good race position until she cased the last double coming into the finish, finishing just off the podium in fourth. It looked like Faye Gulini (Salt Lake City, Utah) was going to make the final, winning the lead-up heat until she knocked boards with someone. She finished ninth out of the small final.

By all accounts the 2018 Olympic event is sure to be an exciting one, as the athletes are very happy with the course, which is big with lots of passing opportunities.

“This venue kicks ass,” Holland said. “The slope is perfect, the jumps were big and there are some tactics and strategy involved. I like courses that are big and wide open with strategy—it makes you think a little more versus a holeshot scenario. And I’m stoked to see that this hill has the DNA of tactics, big jumps and fast speeds.”

The next stop of the snowboardcross World cup tour is in Veysonnaz, Switzerland March 4-6.

FIS Snowboard World Cup

Bokwang, South Korea – Olympic Test Event

Men’s Snowboard Cross

Rank Nation Name World Cup Points
1 USA HOLLAND Nate 1000
2 FRA VAULTIER Pierre 800
4 AUT HAEMMERLE Alessandro 500
5 USA DEIBOLD Alex 450
7 ARG WILLIAMS Steven 360
8 RUS GUZACHEV Aleksandr 320
10 ESP EGUIBAR Lucas 260

Women’s Snowboard Cross

Rank Nation Name World Cup Points
1 FRA TRESPEUCH Chloe 1000
2 ITA MOIOLI Michela 800
4 USA JACOBELLIS Lindsey 500
6 CAN ODINE Meryeta 400
7 BUL JEKOVA Alexandra 360
8 SUI HASLER Alexandra 320
9 USA GULINI Faye 290

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