National title, near miss for Vernon board athletes

Curt Minard wins gold, Kevin Hill silver at Canadian snowboardcross finals in Quebec

A pair of Vernon snowboardcross athletes took huge steps towards their goal of representing Canada next year at the Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics in South Korea.

Curt Minard repeated as Canadian champion in the para-snowboard upper limb category at the 2017 Sports Experts Speed Nation Nationals, presented by Mazda Canada and FA Design, at Quebec’s Mont Tremblant.

Minard ended up first overall after a pair of time trials, then won all three of his heats to capture his second national title.

“This year’s course was way more challenging,” said Minard, who won gold in 2016 at Chantecler in Quebec. He tuned up for nationals by finishing on the podium at a pre-Paralympics test event in Korea on a course similar to Mont Tremblant.

“There were lots of abrupt jumps and features at Mont Tremblant and I was thankful for the experience in Korea on a similar-style course. The first two runs in training, I got a feel for it and as I kept racing on it, it got to the point where I was just able to let it all out.”

On the same Mont Tremblant course, Hill – who competed for Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia – was on his way to a second straight national title when he was passed by World Cup team snowboardcross partner Chris Robanske of Squamish.

“I was coming down the course in first place but he passed me because he had a better line than I did,” said Hill. “I was bummed because I was leading the heats all day and in the final, but he had a better line than me.

“It was a tough one to lose. Usually I have crashes near the end that knock me out of contention but with this one, I was on pace from top to bottom. But if I have to lose a Canadian title, I’m glad it was to a great guy. It’s not a shame finishing second to Chris.”

The nationals marked the end of the season for both Minard and Hill. Each will now wait for selection to Canada’s Olympic and Paralympics squad. The teams are likely to be announced in December.

“I’m pretty happy overall with my season,” said Minard, who won gold for Canada at the World Amputee Hockey Championships in Finland. “It was my first full season on the World Cup circuit and I came sixth overall. I was seventh and eighth at the World Championships and I won a Canadian title.”

Said Hill of his season: “The year started rough but I started to peak as the year closed out. Everybody – myself included – believes you don’t want to peak too early. You know, 2013 was a rough year but I got things going as the Olympics came around. I peaked for them then, and I hope to do the same thing for 2018.

“I definitely want to return to the Olympics and this time, finish on the podium.”

Hill will spend the summer returning to another of his loves – BMX bike riding – to help cross-train for the 2017-18 year.

Minard plans to work on his strength and conditioning.

“Stay fit, work with some personal trainers and try to get a few extra seconds shaved off of my times,” he said. “My category is getting super tight. The difference between third place and sixth place, sometimes, is hundredths of a second.”

Alberta’s Gerrit Van Bruggen won the national para-snowboard cross lower limb championship. Van Bruggen has family in Vernon.


photo submitted Vernon’s Curt Minard (centre) celebrates his second straight Canadian Para-snowboardcross championship at Quebec’s Mont Tremblant. Minard beat out Ontario’s Adam Genge (left) and Quebec’s Jacob ____.

Just Posted

WATCH: Vernon ready to wheel out special cycling program

Cycling Without Age aims to give seniors and less-abled bodies free rides on specially made bike

Telus supports second chapter of Vernon reading program

Literacy initiative gains $10,000 boost

‘Mountain high’ sewer rates frustrate Silver Star property owners

Silverhawk Utilities said they are working to address the property owners association’s concerns

Queen Silver Star issues call for Vernon royalty

Applications sought for excellence program from North Okanagan teens

Overdose training challenge picks up in Vernon

Various groups and businesses working to save lives

Temperatures on the rise for the Okanagan Valley

Okanagan-Shuswap weekday weather update

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Vernon RCMP officers get their man

Individual arrested in takedown along Alexis Park Drive Monday afternoon

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Kelowna DJs organize own shows to fill gap in music scene

The DJs wanted to create somewhere people could enjoy their music safely

In Photos: Classic snowmobiles pushed to their limits in fun races

The Burner in Malakwa served as the venue for races show cases older sleds

Most Read