For many top riders, the Snowboarding World Championships serve as a stage to showcase their talents. But for Steamboat Springs rider Justin Reiter, this week's events in Whistler, British Columbia, were more like a classroom.
Reiter, who is a member of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, was the top American in Wednesday's parallel slalom race, placing 15th in a field comprised of the top Alpine snowboarders. It was the final Alpine event of the week at the World Championships.
"This was a really big event, and I wanted to do well, but I like to look at every competition as a learning experience," Reiter said. "I learned a lot about myself."
Canadian Jasey Jay Anderson won the event by downing France's Nicolas Huet in the finals of the parallel slalom. Anderson also won the parallel giant slalom, which was held Tuesday.
Austria's Siegfried Grabner was third, and Reiter finished 15th after falling to Switzerland's Simon Schoch in the first round of duals. Schoch, who qualified second for the duals, finished fourth in the final standings.
Reiter said he fell victim to some mind games in his dual against Schoch.
"I went in thinking I needed two great runs to beat him," Reiter said. "All I really needed were two good runs."
Reiter said he was having a good first run and held a slight lead over the Swiss rider as he headed down the final pitch to the finish line.
Unfortunately, Reiter elected to push a little harder and attempted a straighter, more aggressive line to beat Schoch. The line proved too straight as Reiter hit a hole and was knocked off course. Schoch took a full 1.2 second advantage into the second run.
Looking back, Reiter realized that it was an unnecessary move that cost him. He came back with a stronger second run, but was unable to overcome the time he surrendered in his first run.
"It was a good result for Justin and our team," Steamboat coach Thedo Remmelink said. "I am very happy with how Justin raced. We reached some very important goals, and we will continue to pursue those goals one step at a time."
Switzerland's Daniela Meuli won the women's event. She was followed by Austria's Heidi Neururer in second and Doresia Krings in third.
The top American was Rosey Fletcher in fourth place. Lisa Kosglow finished 10th, and former Winter Sports Club athlete Michelle Gorgone was 12th.
Other Winter Sports Club athletes competing included Kimiko Zakreski in 32nd, Johanna Shaw in 37th and Eden Serina in 52nd.
The Snowboarding World Championship continues today with a big air competition and will come to a close Saturday with the men and women's halfpipe events.
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