Team USA’s snowboarders sweep men’s world cup at Big White

By Katie Branham | Jan. 25, 2014, 5:36 p.m. (ET)

Mike Shea won his third world cup title of the season as he led a U.S. sweep of the men's lower limb impairment class at Big White Resort.

KELOWNA, B.C. – Team USA had an outstanding day as Mike Shea led the way for a sweep of the men’s top three spots in the lower limb impairment class at the International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing Para-Snowboard World Cup at Big White Ski Resort on Saturday.

Overall, Team USA won six of eight medals available with two golds, two silvers and two bronzes.

Shea (Castaic, Calif.) won his third world cup title of the season as he put together his two best runs in a time of 2 minutes, 29.95 seconds. The race for silver was extremely close as three-tenths of a second separated Keith Gabel (Ogden, Utah) and Evan Strong (Nevada City, Calif.). Gabel took silver in 2:31.74, with Strong rounding out the podium in 2:32.04.

“For the second time in history, Team USA had a successful sweep of the men’s lower limb class,” Shea said. “I couldn’t be happier for our team.”

For Shea, the conditions at Big White couldn’t have been better.

“The weather for today’s race was absolutely gorgeous. I was really able to work on my google tan. Sometimes gorgeous weather also makes for slushy and bumpy snow conditions, but luckily that’s just how I like it. I owe a lot to our wax tech for nailing the recipe today.”

Team USA has won the men’s lower limb title at every stop of the world cup series this season. Shea picked up the first two wins at Landgraaf, Netherlands and Copper Mountain, Colo., with Strong winning the second title at Copper Mountain.

In the men’s upper limb snowboard cross, Marc Dervaes (West Chester, Pa.) won his second consecutive world cup title. Dervaes recorded the three fastest times of the day in his class to win the title by more than 20 seconds.

On the women’s side, Heidi Jo Duce (Ouray, Colo.) and Amy Purdy (Las Vegas, Nev.) landed on the podium behind Bibian Mentel of the Netherlands. Duce won silver as she put together two runs in 3:05.51, with Purdy close behind in 3:06.72 to take bronze. Team USA’s Nicole Roundy (Salt Lake City, Utah) finished just shy of the podium in fourth place, less than a second behind Purdy.

Team USA will wrap up at Big White Ski Resort tomorrow with an additional world cup competition, before the World Cup Finals in La Molina, Spain on Feb. 10-12.

At each world cup event, athletes will earn points that help determine world rankings and qualification for Paralympic events. Scoring is based on finishing place, with athletes aiming for as few points as possible. To qualify for world cups and ultimately the Paralympic Winter Games in each discipline, athletes must remain under a certain point threshold.

Men’s and women’s snowboard cross for athletes with a lower limb impairment will debut at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games on March 14 as a part of the alpine skiing program. The U.S. Paralympic Snowboarding Team will be nominated in early February.

Complete results and more information are available at