Snowboarders open with bang

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Steamboat Springs snowboarder Justin Reiter opened up his season with two top results at a NorAm Cup at Copper Mountain Resort that resulted in an invitation to compete on the World Cup Tour in Europe later this month.

" It was a good race and a good start to the season," Reiter said. "I finished second (in a parallel slalom), so I could have done a little bit better -- but overall I think I accomplished my goals."

Surprisingly, earning the World Cup start in Europe wasn't necessarily a priority for the snowboarder, who had been competing with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club for the past four years. He's also a member of the U.S. Snowboarding "C" team.

"My main goal this season is to set myself up for next year and the Olympics," Reiter said. "I wasn't really thinking about earning a World Cup start, but it was a nice thing to have happen."

Reiter will leave for Switzerland on Thanksgiving Day with 13 of his Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club teammates for a three-week tour of Europe. Reiter already had planned on making the trip, but now he will have to adjust his schedule.

Reiter will spend his time at World Cup events with the U.S. Team while the other Steamboat riders will be competing in a Europa Cup in Nendaz, Switzerland, (Dec. 4 and 5) and another in Rogla, Slovenia (Dec. 11 and 12). Reiter is scheduled to start in Laax, Switzerland, on Dec. 4 and Bad Gastein, Austria, on Dec. 17.

Reiter said he knows just how rare World Cup starts are in Alpine snowboarding, and he is happy to have earned the opportunity to get on the snow against some of the world's best riders.

"This is a very small team, and it's hard to make the World Cup cut," Reiter said. "This is an excellent opportunity and I'm hoping to make the most of it."

But Reiter wasn't the only Winter Sports Club rider making noise at Copper Mountain last week.

The two-day event, which took place Nov. 15 and 16, was the final part of a three-week training camp for the Steamboat Springs team.

Former Winter Sports Club rider Michelle Gorgone topped the women's field in first place in the parallel giant slalom on Nov. 15. Fellow American Lisa Kosglow placed second, and Dutch rider Nicolien Sauerbreij was third. Erica Mueller was the top Steamboat rider in seventh, Eden Serina was 13th, and Ashley Nice was 14th.

U.S. Team member Chris Klug won the men's parallel giant slalom that day and was followed by U.S. rider Eric Warren. Tyler Jewell led the Steamboat team in third, Reiter was ninth, David Manthei was 13th, and Vic Wild tied teammate Tim Heinel for 15th in the international field.

Kosglow topped the women's field in the parallel slalom Nov. 16. Sauerbreij was second, and Swiss rider Aprilia Hagglof was third.

Steamboat's Nice was 16th, and Serina was 20th. Gorgone placed ninth in the slalom event.

Canadian Philippe Berube edged Reiter for the win in the men's parallel slalom. Jewell was fourth, Manthei was seventh , Wild was 11th, Darren Ratcliffe was 13th, and Tim Heinel came in 17th.

"This was the same field as a U.S. World Cup," Steamboat coach Thedo Remmelink said. "Our results prove that our program is on track to become one of the best anywhere. I'm so proud of these kids and the way they competed against a tough international field."

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