It wasn’t exactly the best start to the season for Squamish’s Maëlle Ricker, but the snowboard cross season is still young.
Ricker placed 13th at the first World Cup race of the season in Austria on Saturday (Dec. 8) and told The Chief it wasn’t the ideal start to her season.
“It wasn’t great,” she said with a chuckle. “I can’t say I’m happy with it for the amount of training that we did. I haven’t gone out in the first round in a long time. It was a little hard on the ego.”
Despite the slow start, Ricker said she’s had a busy offseason and feels as good as she did heading into the 2009-’10 season, when she became an Olympic gold medallist on home soil.
“I definitely felt like I got strong again this offseason compared to the last two seasons,” she said. “I wasn’t in as good a shape as I was going into 2010 the last two seasons, but I feel great right now.”
Ricker said her training regimen includes a lot of dryland training, along with both road and mountain biking and a considerable amount of time in the gym. She also said her shoulder, which has been a thorn in her side the past few years, is as good as it’s been in a long time.
“It feels good, but from what I understand it will never get back to its original strength,” she said. “I definitely notice that there’s a difference between my two shoulders, but I’ve been working hard on trying to get it stronger and having more mobility.”
She said one of her goals for this year is to improve her form and get on as many podiums as possible.
“I want to work on my movement when I’m riding,” she said. “I feel like I was a little bit stiff in my movements the last few years. I’d also love to win the World Championships. I’ve won FIS, but never managed to stay on top of the podium at the worlds.”
Ricker said she’s also focusing on getting as familiar as possible with the Sochi course for the 2014 Winter Olympics, confirming that she will attempt to represent Canada at the XXII Winter Olympic Games and try to re-capture the gold she won in 2010.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the Sochi track,” she said. “We’re going over there for a test World Cup race later this season and it looks like it’s going to be a good challenge. They have similar snow to what we have here on the West Coast; there’s quite a bit of moisture in their snow. I’m definitely used to that kind of snow, so it’s great.”
She said the present and future of the snowboard cross team looks bright for Canada, with longtime teammate Dominique Maltais, along with Carlee Brenneman and Michelle Brodeur as names for fans to watch.
“Dominique is riding really well this year,” she said, noting that Maltais won the race in Austria. “And we definitely have some good young girls too. It’s nice to see how much better Carlee and Michelle are getting on their boards. They’re making huge progress. I’m happy to see the younger girls doing well.”
Ricker and her teammates are now in Colorado, with qualifying races happening on Thursday (Dec. 13) and finals on Friday (Dec. 14). A team event will close out the competition on Saturday (Dec. 15).
For more information on the team, visit www.canadasnowboard.ca.