“I’m hoping the sun comes out,” said American racer Jeff Greenwood this morning, and he certainly got his wish. Golden rays shone down on an immaculate course for the mens’ Olympic GS qualification run, held February 14 at Park City, Utah.

The first racer out of the gate was Colorado’s Chris Klug, who laid down a spotless run, albeit lacking a little aggression. “I hesitated a little at the top,” he said. “Maybe because I fell up there yesterday.” He then added firmly, “But not tomorrow.” His time was fast enough to land him in eleventh place and keep him in the running for tomorrow’s medals.

It seemed for a while after Klug’s run that one of two things was happening: the course was getting faster, or the racers were getting gnarlier … perhaps a little bit of both. No one was falling, everyone was killing it, and a new leader popped up on the board after every few riders. Running seventh, Austria’s Alexander Maier came down with a smoking time of 36.28, holding the lead for the duration of two competitors, until Swiss-rider Gilles Jaquet blew doors?beating Maier by more than half a second and putting in the day’s winning run.

After the top sixteen-ranked men, things got a little dicey, and more and more people blew out on the difficult upper-section of the course. Canadian Jasey Jay Anderson ran into trouble on the fifth gate, costing him some time and putting him in fifteenth–the bubble spot. Anderson’s fellow Canadian and former Cross-M team-mate Mark Fawcett nudged American Jeff Greenwood out of the top sixteen before getting swiftly nudged out himself by another Canadian rider, Jerome Sylvestre.

When all was said and done, Gilles Jaquet was on top and only one American had weaseled into the head-on finals. Jaquet admits that there are some major differences between tomorrow’s format and standard parallel GS: “That way there’re two runs and it’s over. With duel, it’s much more work.” Nevertheless, the sixteen riders from nine countries who will compete in the Olympics’ final snowboarding event have their work cut out for them.

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JAQUET, Gilles 35.69 — Q
2 MAIER, Alexander 36.28 +0.59 Q
3 BIVESON, Daniel 36.42 +0.73 Q
4 RICHARDSSON, Richard 36.58 +0.89 Q
5 KOSIR, Dejan 36.71 +1.02 Q
6 SYLVESTRE, Jerome 36.86 +1.17 Q
7 BOZZETTO, Mathieu 36.90 +1.21 Q
8 GRABNER, Siegfried 36.94 +1.25 Q
9 KALTSCHUETZ, Stefan 36.97 +1.28 Q
10 KRASSNIG, Dieter 37.02 +1.33 Q
11 KLUG, Chris 37.17 +1.48 Q
12 COPP, Stephen 37.22 +1.53 Q
13 BEHOUNEK, Mathias 37.31 +1.62 Q
14 FEICHTER, Walter 37.33 +1.64 Q
15 SCHOCH, Philipp 37.34 +1.65 Q
16 HUET, Nicolas 37.49 +1.80 Q

17 FAWCETT, Mark 37.53 +1.84
18 EBNER, Markus 37.64 +1.95
19 FISCHNALLER, Roland 37.70 +2.01
20 GREENWOOD, Jeff 37.84 +2.15
21 SEGURA, Christophe 38.06 +2.37
22 NIEDERSTATTER, Kurt 38.22 +2.53
23 COSNIER, Charlie 38.41 +2.72
24 WEDDING, Ryan 38.61 +2.92
25 SCHOCH, Simon 38.63 +2.94
26 STEGGALL, Zeke 38.69 +3.00
27 THORNDIKE, Peter 38.85 +3.16
28 ASPMAN, Jonas 38.88 +3.19
29 ANDERSON, Jasey Jay 39.09 +3.40
KESTENHOLZ, Ueli DNF
KNAFELJ, Tomaz DNF
SALVATI, Simone DSQ