After strong finishes at the NorAm Cup snowboard-cross competition at Copper Mountain, Colo. last week, a pair of Warfield natives have been invited to compete at the World Cup event in Blue Mountain, Ont. this weekend.
Twins Tommy and Mitch Pitman got better as the week wore on at the Copper Mountain event.
Tommy finished ninth on Thursday, then flew down the course on Friday, only to be eclipsed at the finish line by Chris Mahaney of the U.S. for second-place on the podium.
Mitch also improved his standings, finishing 10th on Friday, after a respectable 16th place finish on Thursday.
A rigorous training regimen is obviously paying off as their results mark significant improvement from last year’s race in Copper Mountain where Tommy finished 19th and 25th and Mitch placed 26th and 27th respectively.
The twins trained hard all summer, with trips to Mt. Hood Glacier for training in July, followed by a two-and-a-half week stint with the Canadian national team in Austria in October, and a week training in Whistler with Team B.C. last month.
Based on his time trials in Austria, Tommy was also invited to the World Cup event at Telluride, Colo. in December where he finished 50th.
“That has been one of Tommy’s goals to be invited to an International World Cup where he could compete against the best of the best,” said Valerie Pitman, the twins’ mom in an email. “As far as high level riders, this event would have the same caliber of rider as those who would attend the Olympics.”
Snowboard-cross is an exciting and unique sport where athletes compete in heats of four to six racers, with the best qualifying times moving on to the next round.
SBX courses are typically quite narrow and includes cambered turns, gap jumps, berms, drops, and steep and flat sections designed to challenge the riders’ ability to stay in control. It is not uncommon for racers to collide with each other.
No two courses are the same and there are few training facilities available. At events like the NorAms and World Cup, boarder-cross athletes are only allowed a limited time on the course to practice before the race.
After the World Cup, Mitch and Tommy head to Vermont to compete in a NorAm competition at Killington and then to another NorAm at Big White. They expect to return to the World Junior SBX championships in Turkey at the beginning of March. The team will be announced likely in mid-February.
The 19-year-old twins join national team members Robert Fagan, Chris Robanske, Kevin Hill, and Jake Holden in the Blue Mountain World Cup race, as well as Anthony Damour, Justin Pasutto, and Mathew and Patrick Tunnicliffe.