The official start to the alpine snowboard season is the indoor parallel slalom event at Landgraaf, Netherlands - an event famous for the soft snow, tricky lighting and shadows, and the party atmosphere.
Quebec's Jasey Jay Anderson got his World Cup season off to a strong start with a bronze medal, dueling Aaron March of Italy for the last spot on the podium.
Benjamin Karl of Austria beat out French rider Mathieu Bozzetto in two runs for the gold medal, although Bozzetto was incredibly sharp despite taking a year off from competition.
Other Canadians were Michael Lambert in 12 th place and Matthew Morison in an uncharacteristic 45 th .
Although Anderson rarely seems happy without a gold medal, he was pleased with his performance.
"I was aiming for a top-eight today," he said. "This is an excellent day, for me to finish third. We made lots of small modifications to our equipment system throughout the summer, and they are not done all the way through, specifically in slalom. I am not 100 per cent comfortable with the system. We are definitely on the right path, and that's really positive for the times to come.
"In the first two round of qualification I slowly adapted to the new system. The line is different, the pressure points are different, my position on the board is different, so there are a lot of small factors to which I have to adapt."
Bozzetto edged Anderson in the first of two runs, and while Anderson made some ground in the second run it wasn't enough to move on.
The women's race ended up a battle between Amelie Kober of Germany and Doris Guenther of Austria that went to Kober after two runs. Claudia Rigler of Austria edged out Johanna Shaw in the small final for the bronze medal.
The Canadians were solid with Caroline Calve and Kimiko Zakreski in 10 th and 11 th place respectively. Alexa Loo was close behind in 14 th while Ariane Lavigne was 38 th .
Overall the Canadian Snowboard Federation has been strong to start the season. In the halfpipe opener at Cardrona, New Zealand in August, Brad Martin of Squamish placed sixth. The top-10 included Shaun White, Ryoh Aono, Antti Autti, Markus Malin and other top names in the sport. Dominique Vallee was 23 rd on the women's side.
In the snowboardcross opener at Chapelco, Argentina, Whistler's Maëlle Ricker and Quebec's Dominique Maltais were first and third, while Mike Robertson was sixth for the men.