WILMINGTON, New York ??вЂќ Through rainy weather, the State Farm U.S. Snowboard Cup, part of the Nokia World Cup tour kicked off with a battle between the Schoch brothers of Switzerland in the parallel giant slalom competition Thursday at Whiteface.
The State Farm opener featured all six Olympic medal winners from Torino.
The race between Philipp and his brother Simon on Draper’s Drop was a rematch from the Olympic Games last month in Torino where Philipp won gold followed by Simon in second.
In the men’s final run, it all came down to the Schoch brothers once again. After a nasty spill landing Philipp in the fence, Simon was in the lead heading into the finals. In the end, however, Philipp overcame the automatic 1.5 second deficit and came out on top over his older brother, just as he did at the Winter Games in Italy, to capture the gold medal. Simon finished second Thursday, followed by Austrian rider Andreas Prommegger in third.
Racing against Simon doesn’t seem to bother Philipp. In fact he really enjoys it. “It’s always fun to run against him,” Philipp said about his brother, “When I win, it’s ok, and when Simon wins it’s also ok. It’s the best final that you can have.” It was Philipp’s second straight Whiteface PGS World Cup title.
Rounding out the top five in the men’s event were Austrian Siegfried Grabner in fourth and Nicolas Huet of France in fifth. Tyler Jewell of Sudbury, Mass. was the top finisher for the United States in seventh place.
Consistently good runs throughout the day proved to be just the thing French rider Julie Pomagalski needed to take home the gold in the women’s event. Pomagalski, who will also be competing in the snowboard cross event this weekend, was satisfied with her ability to edge out the current World Cup leader and Olympic gold medalist, Daniela Meuli of Switzerland, and has high hopes to take over the lead in the World Cup standings.
Meuli took second in the event, followed by American Stacia Hookom of Edwards, Colo. in third. Hookom took a face-scraping fall early on in the race, but was able to hold on to her spot on the podium after her semi-final run put her in front of Canadian Alexa Loo.
Following Loo’s fourth place finish was Ursula Bruhin of Switzerland in fifth and Michelle Gorgone of Sudbury, Mass. in sixth.
American Rosey Fletcher of Girdwood, Alaska finished the final race of her career in ninth place. Fletcher, who took the bronze medal in the Torino Olympics, will retire after her visit to Lake Placid and does not plan to compete in the World Cup finals to be held next week in Japan.
Exciting snowboard action continues throughout the rest of the weekend at Whiteface. The men and women’s half pipe qualifications get underway on Friday morning, followed by the half pipe finals and the women’s snowboard cross qualifications on Saturday. Saturday night the action moves to the Olympic Speed Skating oval for the Saturday Night Jam.
World Cup athletes will be towed in by snowmobile to get huge air as they jump into the quarterpipe. Live entertainment by the North Mississippi Allstars kicks the night into high gear at 7pm with the quarterpipe action set for 8pm.
The State Farm U.S. Snowboard Cup wraps up with the men’s snowboard cross qualifications and the men and women’s snowboard cross finals on Sunday.