Snowboard World Cup returns to Ruka
This Thursday and Friday, Ruka, Finland, will host the 2014 FIS Snowboard World Cup season's second halfpipe competition.
About 75 snowboarders from 20 nations will compete in the 145 metres long 22-foot superpipe which was perfectly prepared by FIS Technical Advisor Alli Zehetner over the past couple of weeks. Besides battling for precious World Cup points riders will also strive to qualify for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games in the antepenultimate contest of the qualification period.
Qualifiers for the Ruka World Cup are taking place Dec 12 with the semi finals and finals scheduled for Dec 13.
Main favourites in the sole halfpipe World Cup event on European soil, which will be primarily held under flood light are the Finnish rippers led by 2013 FIS Snowboard Freestyle World Cup title winner Janne Korpi and 2011 Ruka winner Markus Malin.
2013 Halfpipe World Cup Standings runner-up Yiwei Zhang (CHN) as well as Dimi de Jong (NED) and Arthur Longo (FRA) are also top contenders for a podium finish.
On the women's side of things, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Halfpipe World Cup champion Xuetong Cai of China and her fellow countrywoman Jiayu Liu are the ones to beat while French riders Lucile Lefevre, who clinched the 2011 Ruka World Cup and Sophie Rodriguez seem to be their main competitors for victory.
The 2014 FIS Snowboard Freestyle World Cup
The 2014 FIS Snowboard Freestyle World Cup consists of three events (halfpipe, slopestyle and big air) and features a total of nine competitions with the third event and thus second halfpipe contest of the season taking place in Ruka, Finland, mid of December, 2013.