Australian snowboard cross rider Josie Baff has claimed the sixth World Cup podium of her career, with a silver medal performance in Sierra Nevada, Spain. 2024

Australian snowboard cross rider and NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) athlete Josie Baff has claimed the sixth World Cup podium of her career, with a silver medal performance overnight in Sierra Nevada, Spain, in what could be described as her very own “Steven Bradbury” moment.

In the women’s final, the 21-year-old was trailing at the back of the field and looking likely to miss the podium, but on the finish line, race leaders Chloe Trespeuch of France and Great Britain’s Charlotte Bankes sensationally collided, leaving Italy’s Michela Moioli and Baff to cross the line and take the gold and silver medals.

As the race jury reviewed the contact, both riders remained down. Trespeuch was lying flat on her back only centimetres on the wrong side of the finish line, while Bankes had the presence of mind to shuffle over it on her backside. With the result confirmed, a concerned Baff then dashed back from the finish area to help Trespeuch onto her feet, while Bankes was able to walk gingerly down the slope alongside Moioli.

Teammate and fellow NSWIS athlete Belle Brockhoff was unfortunately on the wrong side of the close racing on the tight course in Spain, with the three-time Olympian taken out in her quarter-final heat in a three-rider collision. Brockhoff was advanced to the semi-final, but was unable to start after the crash, giving her a final ranking of eighth.

 “Today was a lot of fun,” said the 2023 World Championship medallist Baff from Jindabyne in the NSW Snow Mountains.

“I was making a few mistakes in the earlier heats and I’m glad I was able to get my head in the right place and be in the game.”

“I seem to have been in a small-final curse for the last couple of races, so I was super happy to make the big-final. Hopefully everyone can get to Cortina in good nick – there was a nasty crash in the final, so I hope everyone is all good and ready to race again.”

Josie Baff

In the men’s event, NSWIS athletes Cam Bolton and Adam Lambert both performed well making it through to the small-final, finishing in fifth and sixth place respectively.

The podium performance sees Baff move into third place on the FIS World Cup standings on 333 points, trailing Trespeuch in first place on 490, with Brockhoff in fifth with 323.

Canadian Eliot Grondin is in first place on the men’s standings with 620 points, with Bolton in third place on 292 and Lambert in ninth on 177.

Five events remain this season, with the next event set to take place on March 9 in Cortina d’Amprezzo, Italy, site of the 2026 Olympic Winter Games.

Article and image courtesy of OWIA

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