After 10 runs down the face of Howelsen Hill on Monday, Steamboat Springs Alpine snowboarder Justin Reiter looked tired and a little out of breath.
But he was happy, very happy.
Reiter has just defeated his teammate Quinn Orb in the finals of the parallel slalom to win the first of two Race to the Cup events that will be held in Steamboat Springs this week.
Reiter, and the field of 42 men, will return to Howelsen today at 9:30 a.m. for the parallel giant slalom.
"Ten runs takes a lot of focus mentally and a lot of effort physically," Reiter said. "Since it's such a fast run, you never really get a break. I was very fortunate in how I qualified today, because I was able to have the blue course for every second run, and the blue course was a lot faster."
In the final, Reiter lined up against Orb for two runs to decide the winner.
"It's a really good program, so there is always a good chance it's going to come down to two Steamboat riders," Orb said. "Today, I was lucky enough to be one of them."
Reiter stayed as close as possible to Orb as he made his way down the tricky red course in the first run. In the second, he went for broke on the blue course knowing it was a tad faster than the other course.
"It is kind of a mental thing because you have to ride both courses anyway," Steamboat coach Thedo Remmelink said.
The coach thought his riders were successful because they stuck to their game plans for both runs.
When they fell behind on the red course, the riders did not attempt to straighten their lines in an effort to make up time. Instead they waited for the second run to make their moves.
"You never want to think there is a differential that you can't make up," Reiter said. "I knew that I needed to keep them close when I was on the red course -- I didn't want to put too much pressure on my second run."
Reiter's win highlighted a strong day for the Winter Sports Club.
Reiter and Orb helped the club take the top two spots. Steamboat's David Manthei lost in the consolation round to Jeff Greenwood, giving the Winter Sports Club three of the top four spots in the men's event.
"There are at least eight guys on this team who should be on the World Cup," Reiter said. "The best riders who are not on the World Cup are in Steamboat. Any one of those riders could have been sitting on top of the podium today, and I was very fortunate to be the one."
In fact, nine Steamboat riders qualified for the finals including Tyler Jewell, sixth; Tim Heinel, seventh; Darren Ratcliffe, eighth; Vic Wild, ninth; Zac Kay, 11th; and Walker Savidge, 15th.
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