Noah Elliott returns for the 2018-19 World Para Snowboard World Cup season after winning two medals at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
The U.S. Paralympics Snowboarding Team returns to the snow after a historic showing at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 where Team USA brought home 13 medals, topping the snowboarding medal table and crowning eight Paralympic medalists. Ahead of the 2018-19 World Para Snowboard World Cup season, preview the top storylines in this world championship year:
The World Para Snowboard season has already made two stops prior to this weekend, but Team USA will make its debut in Pyha with three national team athletes and Paralympic medalists: Noah Elliott (St. Charles, Missouri), Keith Gabel (Ogden, Utah) and Mike Schultz (St. Cloud, Minnesota). Two-time Paralympic medalist Mike Minor (Waymart, Pennsylvania) is also set to compete independently. The world cup, taking place Dec. 30-Nov. 1, will be a valuable opportunity to preview the course and set expectations when the 2019 World Para Snowboard Championships are held there from March 26-31.
Pyha will contest the first snowboardcross competition of the season. Schultz will compete for the first time since winning gold in the event in his Paralympic debut in PyeongChang. The double medalist also returns as the world cup season champion, claiming the crystal globe after scoring the most points last season in the men’s LL1 class. His U.S. teammate, Elliott, had a breakthrough Winter Games in South Korea and will contest Schultz for the top of the podium in Finland.
Return of Paralympic Medalists
Though small, the U.S. Paralympics Snowboarding roster is mighty with three returning Paralympic champions and five Paralympic medalists for the 2018-19 world cup season. Brenna Huckaby (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), Elliott and Schultz led the charge for Team USA in their Paralympic debuts. Huckaby won two gold medals as the only U.S. athlete to go undefeated in individual competition in PyeongChang while Elliott and Schultz each won one gold and one silver.
Other U.S. Paralympic medalists include Brittani Coury (Durango, Colorado) who burst onto the scene when she won silver in the women’s LL2 class in banked slalom, and Gabel who also captured silver in the men’s LL2 division.
World Titles Up For Grabs
Despite owning Paralympic hardware, several U.S. athletes will search for their first world title when they travel to Finland again in March. Schultz, Elliott, Coury and Gabel each hope to add a world championship to their already impressive resume in banked slalom and snowboardcross. Schultz is aiming to edge out Dutch rival Chris Vos after taking silver – his first world championship medal – at the 2017 world championships in Big White.