Whistler, British Columbia Tyler Jewell worried about the conditions and didn’t trust what he knows best.
With fog and rain being the biggest factors, Jewell, who lived in Steamboat Springs before and after the 2006 Olympics, finished 13th in Saturday’s event at Cypress Mountain, British Columbia.
“It came together for me here,” Jewell said. “I was peaked and riding good. I made a small judgment error on my first run and didn’t go at it enough. That’s really not my style. That’s something I’ll have to live with.”
Canadian Jasey Jay Anderson won the gold, Austria’s Benjamin Karl won the silver and France’s Mathieu Bozzetto won the bronze.
Fellow American rider Chris Klug finished seventh.
Jewell was the seventh seed after the qualification round and met the 10th, Anderson, in the head-to-head elimination round. Anderson, an obvious crowd favorite, was also a medal favorite. The 34-year-old has had more than 207 World Cup starts and 59 podiums and came into the event as the most experienced rider.
Jewell said that after the qualification round, he thought Anderson might be struggling. With fog and rain limiting the vision of riders, Jewell said he played the first run of the head-to-head elimination round safe.
“Visibility wasn’t so good,” Jewell said. “My first run, I backed off and made sure not to hit a hole. I should have trusted it a little more that there was going to be good snow, knowing they had good course prep.”
Jewell went into the second run 0.73 seconds behind Anderson. He had made up the time through two-thirds of the course, but when Jewell got to the bottom knoll, a slip cost him.
“That second run, I knew I had to do it,” he said. “I did it. I caught him, but I had to go for it a little bit more and took too tight of a line in that pitch and just chattered out a little bit.”
Klug had to sweat a little bit and got the final spot in the head-to-head elimination round, while Jewell qualified seventh. Each was able to attack the top and bottom portions of the course but struggled in the middle, where visibility was a challenge.
The conditions again were tough, and although the rain let up briefly — after pouring down in the women’s event Friday — the fog did no favors. From the finish, only the two bottom gates were visible. The big screen for fans was virtually useless, as cameras sometimes couldn’t catch the riders through the haze.
“I feel like we’re more salmon fishing than snowboarding,” Klug said after the qualification rounds. “I feel like I’m going on a surf trip, it’s so wet. I was joking this morning that maybe I should wear my wet suit for surfing rather than my speed suit for snowboarding. But it’s still rad. My family is here, and look at this crowd. They should all get medals for coming out here.”
Jewell will compete on the final two World Cups of the season and already is focusing on the 2011 World Championships in La Molina, Spain.
There, Jewell said, he thinks big things are on the horizon.
“I want to win a medal there,” he said. “I’ve put off for a year to get a medal at a big show. I believe that’s my destiny, and it will come to me.”