The FIS Junior Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championship action moved to the racecourse today with competitors going head to head in the Ski and Snowboard Cross Individual Finals. The Junior World Championships are being held at Cardrona Alpine Resort as part of the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ.
Ski and Snowboard Cross qualification rounds were held on Sunday (26 August) with each racer having one run to post their fastest time and make the top 16 cut in the men’s ski field, top eight in the ladies’ ski, top 32 in men’s snowboard or top 16 ladies’ snowboard.
Kristina Paul (RUS) claimed her third straight Junior World Championship title in the ladies’ snowboard final today, rounding out her Junior career on a high.
“I am very happy to finish my junior career so well,” said Paul.
Livia Molodyh (USA) finished in the silver medal position and Sophie Hediger (SUI) bronze.
Canadian Mikayla Martin crossed the line in first place in the women’s ski final. Mazie Hayden (USA) second and Elliane Hall (GBR) third.
“I’m very happy,” said Martin. I put a lot of pressure on myself in this race and I was able to execute under pressure, so it feels good.”
GB’s Oliver Davies had no doubt that he would be chasing the Junior Worlds title for men’s ski cross but it wasn’t plain sailing. He explains:
“That was the ambition but the first couple of runs the start wasn’t the best and I was in second both times. But the final is anyone’s game. I needed a big start and the big start came. It’s amazing to win, I can’t even describe it.”
Sandro Siebenhofer (AUT) was second and Maxim Vikhrov (RUS) third.
The men’s snowboard final was a battle to the finish. Mike Lacroix explains:
“I hear someone say ‘woah’ next to me, I look over and his board’s right by my head, and then we made contact going in to turn five and I went down.”
Maximilian Rathgeb (GER) then shot through in to the lead only to crash on the second to last bank.
Jade Vedder (USA) emerged as the winner, claiming his first Junior World Championship title. Eliot Grondin (CAN) finished second, Mike Lacroix third, Rathgeb fourth.
For NZ alpine ski racers, brother and sister Ben and Kate Richards, competing at the Junior World Championships on their home mountain was too good an opportunity to pass up, albeit in a different discipline. Both successfully qualified through to the final rounds, with Ben finishing seventh and Kate eighth in their respective fields.
“It’s a bit different, adapting from alpine in to another type of discipline but it’s been fun,” said Richards.