U.S. Athletes Compete On Home Snow At IPC Snowboard World Cup Aspen

By Brianna Tammaro | Feb. 04, 2016, 1:31 p.m. (ET)

Amy Purdy
Amy Purdy makes her return to the hill this weekend in Aspen for the IPC Snowboarding World Cup after taking off the 2015 season.

It’ll be a star-studded scene in Aspen, Colorado as top Paralympic snowboarders will race in the second world cup of the 2015-2016 season, including Team USA’s Amy Purdy. The 2014 Paralympic bronze medalist will make her return to competitive snowboarding after taking off a season to compete in Dancing with the Stars, tour with Oprah Winfrey and write a New York Times bestselling memoir.

With the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games just two years away, Purdy (Las Vegas, Nevada) has new goals and a renewed focus for the upcoming snowboard season.

“I will compete when I can and will do the absolute best I can,” Purdy recently said in an interview with the International Paralympic Committee. “I’m trying to take pressure off myself. This year for me isn’t about being the best; it’s about doing the best I can. I would love to make the U.S. team again, that is my goal.”

Purdy will reunite in Aspen with seven of her U.S. teammates from Sochi, including Evan Strong (Maui, Hawaii), Mike Shea (Castaic, California) and Keith Gabel (Ogden, Utah). The trio who made history with their Paralympic podium sweep in 2014 won’t have to venture far after competing at last weekend’s Winter X Games in Aspen. Finishing off of the podium, the U.S. athletes will seek redemption in the LL2 class on their home snow against X Games medalists Matti Suur-Hamari of Finland and Alex Massie of Canada.

Team USA’s Mike Schultz (Saint Cloud, Minnesota) continues his comeback in the men’s LL1 class after an injury derailed his 2015 campaign. After winning two bronze medals at the world cup opener in November, Schultz will be looking to stand a top the podium once again.  

Nicole Roundy (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Heidi Jo Duce (Ouray, Colorado) will be strong forces for the U.S. women after taking hardware in this season’s world cup opener in Landgraaf, Netherlands. Roundy won two bronze medals in the banked slalom LL1 while Duce captured silver and bronze in the LL2 class.

Landgraaf also witnessed an impressive world cup debut from U.S. newcomer Mike Minor (Waymart, Pennsylvania) who upset Austria’s world champion Patrick Mayrhofer to win the men’s UL class in banked slalom. Minor and Mayrhofer will face off again this week in Aspen.

In addition to Suur-Hamari, Massie and Mayrhofer, Team USA will face strong international competition from 2015 world champions Bibian Mentel-Spee and Chris Vos of the Netherlands and Manuel Pozzerle of Italy.

More than 35 snowboarders from nine countries will kick off competition Thursday with NorAm Cup competition, followed by two days of world cup snowboard-cross in Aspen at the 2016 IPC Snowboard World Cup. Follow U.S. Paralympics on Facebook and Twitter for updates with full results available on the IPC website.