KREISCHBERG, Austria (Jan. 12) – The first medal of the FIS World Snowboard Championships went Sunday to Slovenian Dejan Kosir, who captured the men’s parallel giant slalom. Olympic medalist Chris Klug (Aspen, CO) had the top U.S. performance, finishing seventh with Pete Thorndike (Meredith, NH) in 11th place in sub-zero cold.

The surprise silver medalist was Simon Schoch of Switzerland, who knocked off Klug in the semifinals. Nicolas Huet of France was third and World Cup leader Mathieu Bozzetto of France in fourth. Eric Warren (Bennington, VT) was 23rd with Ryan McDonald (Entiat, WA) 29th in the field of 83 riders.

“It was freakin’ cold,” said alpine Head Coach Nick Smith. “It was 20 below, Celsius (-4 F.)…but the snow was epic. It was the best snow we’ve been on all year.

“All of our guys were really tentative coming out of the gate. They weren’t sure about the snow for the first three or four gates,” Smith said, “but when they saw it was good, they picked it up and rode more aggressively.”

Klug and Thorndike moving into the finals (top 16) was encouraging, Smith said, noting U.S. riders haven’t had two men in finals since the season opener in Chile in August.

“Klug rode consistent and disciplined all day,” Smith said. “He was eighth in qualifying and Pete was 10th. Klug met his nemesis (Switzerland’s Philipp Schoch, the Olympic champ) in the first round of finals and he just manhandled him, but then his brother got Klug in the next round. Klug put an arm down and he just couldn’t make up the time after that.”

The women run PGS Monday.

FIS SNOWBOARD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Kreischberg, AUT – Jan. 12
Men’s Parallel GS (16 make finals)
1. Dejan Kosir, Slovenia
2. Simon Schoch, Switzerland
3. Nicolas Huet, France
4. Mathieu Bozzetto, France
5. Siegfried Grabner, Austria
6. Gilles Jaquet, Switzerland
7. Chris Klug, Aspen, CO
8. Simon Salvati, Italy