Local WSC athletes ride to top finishes

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— Braving bitterly cold conditions, Justin Goto and Matt Drinker each won recent snowboard races for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

In what coach Thedo Remmelink called "survival" conditions, Goto, Drinker and fellow Winter Sports Club athlete Erica Mueller rode to impressive finishes in a Nor-Am event in Mont Ste. Anne, Quebec, on Jan. 19.

"It was the coldest day of the season," Remmelink said. "It was really windy with very humid air. It is typical for Quebec."

Goto captured first in the slalom race with a combined score of 66.13 points, beating Canada's Philippe Berube and teammate Drinker, who finished third at 67.17.

Drinker opened competition in Mont Ste. Anne with a first-place finish in the parallel giant slalom with 120 points, defeating Berube by 24 points.

Mueller rode to two fourth-place finishes in the slalom (80.28) and giant slalom (70.00) events.

She was the top American in each race.

"They did very well, I think," Remmelink said of his Alpine snowboard team. "I saw improvement in their overall riding. I took both the results and the riding in consideration and they did make improvements."

Remmelink, originally from Holland, is in his first year as the Alpine coach, and though the competition at the International Ski Federation event in Quebec wasn't on par with the Grand Prix events, he did believe it was a good field for his Winter Sports Club athletes.

The slalom and giant slalom races in Mont Ste. Anne were the first of the Nor-Am season.

Remmelink said the overall winner of the Nor-Am series automatically earns a spot in World Cup competitions, so racers like Goto, Drinker and Mueller certainly have something to ride for.

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