Steamboat's Reiter struggles in Alpine snowboarding event

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— Steamboat Springs’ Justin Reiter battled emotions all day Wednesday at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.

He was confident, even feeling like the day belonged to him.

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But Reiter couldn’t get out of the qualification of the men’s parallel giant slalom event, finishing 23rd.

Hours later, though, Reiter was able to watch best friend and fellow former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club member Vic Wild win a gold medal for Russia.

“Conditions early on were not suited to my style,” Reiter said. “It was probably the hardest snow I’ve ridden in five years.”

On Tuesday, it rained most of the day before turning to heavy, wet snow in the mountains during the night. Officials were worried it would keep raining, making the Alpine snowboarding course mushy.

So officials put down a layer of fertilizer, salted the course and then boot-packed it.

Temperatures overnight got much colder than expected, and the course froze.

“Everything they did was more for a ski race,” Reiter said. “I’m really bummed. I’m looking forward to slalom, but right now I’m bummed.”

Reiter will have another chance Saturday when snowboarders line up for the parallel slalom event. Reiter was third at the World Snowboard Championships last year.

Two other Alpine snowboarders with ties to the Winter Sports Club also struggled Wednesday.

Canadian Caroline Calve lost to eventual silver medalist Tomoka Takeuchi, of Japan, in the quarterfinals. Calve led after the first run but couldn’t overcome a slip in her second run.

Ester Ledecka, another former Winter Sports Club member riding for the Czech Republic, also couldn’t get out of the quarterfinals. Ledecka lost to eventual gold medalist Patrizia Kummer, of Switzerland.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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