Schairer, Samkova win season-opening snowboard World Cup events

Markus Schairer of Austria took the season-opening men’s snowboard cross World Cup event Saturday for his fourth career win and first since March 2009, while Eva Samkova of Czech Republic won the women’s race.

Schairer, who also led Friday’s qualification, was the fastest starter in the final and stayed ahead of the field throughout the race. Last year’s winner Omar Visintin of Italy came second, while Kevin Hill of Canada finished third.

Schairer won three World Cup events and the world title in 2009 but had struggled with knee injuries since.

Earning her second career victory, Samkova defeated 2006 Olympic bronze medalist Dominique Maltais of Canada and Helene Olafsen of Norway in the women’s final.

Men’s and women’s team events are scheduled for Sunday.