Race to the Cup in Steamboat winds up with Canadians on top
December 22, 2010
Steamboat Springs — Survival was the name of the game Tuesday afternoon at Howelsen Hill as a field of international snowboard racers faced tricky snow conditions and a course filled with speed bumps and death cookies.
"I wasn't really pushing to win," Canadian Matthew Carter said after capturing the parallel slalom title. "I just wanted to survive. The snow conditions made this race extremely difficult."
The young Canadian said he avoided the soft outside lines, chunks of frozen snow and the bumps that formed as the race progressed. He knocked off Ryan Rosencranz, of the United States, in the opening round of the finals. Carter then moved past teammates Darren Gardner, Patrick Farrell and Steve Barlow en route to winning the parallel slalom title.
"It was a little bumpy out there," Carter said. "I just tried to make a gameplan and stick to it. I'm really happy to get the win."
Carter topped Barlow for the title in the men's bracket of Tuesday's event. Vic Wild, who trained in Steamboat Springs, placed third by beating Farrell in the small final. Wild was on track for the title in the slalom event, but a mistake in the first run of the semifinals was more than he could overcome.
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"I'm a little frustrated with myself," Wild said after the race. "I underestimated some of the younger guys, and I never should have. "
Wild nearly overcame his mistake with an aggressive line that eroded much of the large lead Barlow held after the first run. But the effort fell just short, and Wild had to settle for the small finals to decide the third- and fourth-place finishers.
"I wasn't giving it 100 percent," Wild said. "But after losing in the semifinals, I decided to go all out."
Americans Michael Trapp, Converse Fields, Rosencranz, Jack Taylor, Christian Allen and Michael Plachter qualified for the finals. Fields, Rosencranz and Taylor were beaten in the opening elimination round. Trapp advanced to the round of eight before losing to Wild. Trapp was seventh in the final results, and Allen was eighth.
The Canadians also picked up a victory in the women's slalom race as Ekaterina Zavialova beat teammate Ariane Lavigne in the finals dual. Canadian Cora Fellows took third place after beating hometown favorite Madeline Wiencke in the small final. Wiencke won this race last year but was nonetheless happy with the fourth-place finish.
"Overall, I was really happy," Wiencke said. "It's been a pretty tough year, and even though I didn't get on the podium, I'm hoping this race will give me some confidence."
Wiencke is on the road to recovery after a series of concussions. The head injuries, one while training at Howelsen Hill in December 2009 and another from a competition in Canada in January, sidelined the Steamboat racer for most of the past season. It also impacted her training schedule this summer.
Tuesday's race marked the end of this year's Race to the Cup in Steamboat. Monday night's slalom featured a tough international field that made it feel more like a World Cup than a NorAm. The field for Tuesday's event wasn't quite as tough after the teams from Austria and Switzerland elected to skip the event.
Several other riders from Steamboat Springs also advanced to the finals Tuesday. Cassandra Wagar lost to Japan's Shoko Miyatake in the first round. On the men's side, Trapp lost to Wild in the quarterfinals.
— To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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