It was Aspen’s Chris Klug and Girdwood, Alaska’s Rosie Fletcher who landedon the top step of the podium after today’s giant slalom at Breckenridge,Colorado–the second Grand Prix event of the season.
Following behind Klug on the minute-twenty course was long-time racer,Mike Kildevaeld in second, and that seriously crazy Canuck Jasey JayAnderson on the bottom step. The podium was a study in diversity, themild-mannered, always polite Klug standing between two of snowboarding’sbiggest (for lack of a better term) personalities.
On the women’s side, Boulder’s Lisa Kosglow finished in the second spotand Vail’s Stacia Hookom rode to third. Sondra Van Ert, who posed a threatafter railing the second fastest time on her first run, gave it away aftermissing a gate on run two.
It was a cold start on Breck’s Cimarron run, an undulating, doublefall-line slope of about a thousand vertical feet. Morning temperatureshovered close to zero, but the clear, almost cloudless day warmed to acomfortable twenty something by the time the race was underway.
Klug called the forty three turn course the longest of the season. It wasa test of not only technique, but stamina. As he rounded the breakover atthe top of the second run, all could see his gritted teeth. While Klug, whoactually likes weight training, but also stays in shape by mountain bikingand moto-ing, basically beat the course into submission, othersall-together lost the fight.
Top-ranked riders like Ian Price fell prey to the burly rutted turns ontheir first runs, opening the door to the finals for riders that otherwisewouldn’t have had a chance. Ian dislocated his shoulder twice during hisrun and finally, swinging his arm to relocate his shoulder, missed a gateand called it quits.
Jeff Archibald, who placed first after the first run with a time of119.43, couldn’t hang on for a second run, going down and ending up out ofthe top slots.
Rosie faced the same pressure as Jeff, going into the second run on top.Fletcher’s thoughts after the first run: “I’ve got people nipping at myheels right now, so there’s no way I can think about taking it easy–it’s alot easier to make up time on such a long course.”
But, regardless of the long course, nobody made up anything on Rosie.Places behind her shifted slightly between the top girls, Lisa Kosglowjumping from fourth to second and Sandra falling back. Stacia Hookom whowas, until recently, considered a slalom specialist, remained in third.
Tomorow we’ll be checking out the big air contest and sunday is thehalfpipe finals.