Steamboat Springs Alpine snowboarder Justin Reiter races in March 2010’s Race to the Cup finals in Steamboat. Reiter last week made his first World Cup finals appearance in more than two years, qualifying at 15th in the parallel slalom race in Bad Gastein, Austria.

Photo by John F. Russell

Steamboat Springs Alpine snowboarder Justin Reiter races in March 2010’s Race to the Cup finals in Steamboat. Reiter last week made his first World Cup finals appearance in more than two years, qualifying at 15th in the parallel slalom race in Bad Gastein, Austria.

Steamboat's Reiter races back to World Cup finals

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— Italian rider Roland Fischnaller may have won the Alpine snowboarding race, but that didn’t stop Steamboat favorite Justin Reiter from celebrating his first appearance in World Cup finals in more than two years last week in Austria.

“I’m not sure if it was a breakthrough. I think it was more of a affirmation of my abilities,” Reiter said Wednesday.

It was a big step for Reiter, who elected not to compete in the 2011 season and was considering walking away from competitive Alpine snowboarding after failing to make the Olympic team in 2010.

After a year away, he returned to competitive snowboarding at the start of this season, when he returned to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, and broke into the finals in his third World Cup start since returning.

He qualified 15th in the parallel slalom race in Bad Gastein and lost to Fischnaller in the first round of elimination in the race, which was held Sunday. Reiter said that he would have liked to have climbed higher in the final results but that he was just happy to be back in the finals and was not disappointed with the loss to Fischnaller, who was ranked No. 2 in the FIS points list before the race in Bad Gastein.

Reiter was the top American in the race, which was won by the Italian. Fischnaller’s teammate Aaron March was second, and Slovenian rider Rok Flander was third in the final results. The only other American in the race was Tyler Jewell in 28th.

Reiter is hoping the finish will give him some confidence when he returns to the World Cup for races in Germany on Jan. 28.

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