New look, same top finishes for Steamboat snowboarders

Riders outclass competition in Copper Mountain's Race to the Cup

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— The face of Alpine snowboarding took on a new look at a Race to the Cup event in Copper Mountain this week, but the good news is that riders with ties to Steamboat Springs continue to capture top spots.

On Tuesday, organizers of the NorAm-level event used the triple-slalom format, which was unveiled for the first time this season.

“It was new for everybody,” Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club coach Thedo Remmelink said. “At the end of the day, everybody was smiling and saying, ‘This is fun.’”

In the triple slalom, the top 27 riders after qualifying compete against one another in three-rider heats. The winner of the one-run knockout advances in the brackets while the other two riders are eliminated.

Winter Sports Club racer Michael Trapp, who finished ninth in a parallel giant slalom race Monday, topped Olympians Tyler Jewell and Rok Flander, of Slovenia, in the final heat to pick up his first victory of the season. Flander came in second, and Jewell finished third. Justin Reiter, who also trains with the Winter Sports Club, topped the small finals to place fourth.

Riders who call Steamboat Springs home also fared well in the women’s race, with Cassandra Wager finishing second to Canadian Caroline Calve. Steamboat riders Meghan Graham and Madeline Wiencke advanced to the small finals. Graham was fifth, and Wiencke was sixth.

The Race to the Cup event in Copper Mountain opened with the more traditional parallel giant slalom race on Monday.

Flander topped the men’s field by beating out Reiter in the final. Reiter, who has come back after taking a break from snowboarding after the 2010 season, was second, followed by Canadian Michael Lambert in third. Jewell was fifth.

Caroline Calve led a 1-2-3 finish for the Canadians on the women’s side. Ariane Lavigne was second, and Ekaterina Zavialova was third.

Steamboat took a full team of riders to the events at Copper Mountain. Remmelink said he was impressed with the team’s veterans and encouraged by the results of several of the younger riders, including Rosina Mancari, Maggie Rose Carrigan and Garrett Denney.

— To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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