MT. BACHELOR, Ore. (Mar. 5) — Despite blustery wind and snow, Olympic bronze medalist and former Bend local Chris Klug (Aspen, CO) brought out the whole family Friday to watch him battle to a seventh place finish in the Mt. Bachelor Snowboard Classic Powered by Chevrolet, while teammate Stacia Hookom (Edwards, CO) launched into her third straight World Cup finals with a sixth place result to lead the American women.
The event will air ESPN Wednesday Mar. 24 at 2:30 p.m. ET.
“We’ve seen these conditions before, said U.S. Snowboarding head alpine coach Nick Smith, “but everyone runs the same course and I’m really pleased that the organizers decided to hold the race despite the weather. It was just like this when we were in Sweden and we raced — it’s a winter sport and this is what we do.
A near solid red and white podium, Swiss riders Heinz Inniger and Daniela Meuli topped both the men’s and women’s races, while teammates Urs Eiselin and Ursula Bruhin made it four of six with matching third place finishes. It was Meuli’s seventh win on the year and a career first for Inniger. Busting up the Swiss sweep was Mathieu Bozzetto of France and Manuela Riegler of Austria.
“That was a superb race,” said Inniger, who was bursting with excitment after his first win.” In the beginning, I had my problems in the qualification but I was getting better with every heat. I had nothing to lose and tried to gain the maximum. It’s crazy that I also beat Mathieu in the final.”
“I’m not sure what it is that I keep winning, maybe it’s because I eat a lot of chocolate, joked Meuli, who has wrapped up the women’s parallel title. “I’ve just become really confident with my riding regardless of the weather.
But it was 20-year-old Michelle Gorgone (Sudbury, MA) who shocked the World Cup leader and Mt. Bachelor winner by nabbing the No. 1 qualifying spot for her seventh World Cup final on the season. Yet two falls in the first round of 16 bumped her to ninth on the day.
“I’m a little bummed, but I felt really strong after qualifying and was so confident with my riding, said Gorgone, who heads to the World Cup Finals in Italy on Sunday. “I’ve learned so much this year and I’m continually hitting finals, so I’m pleased with the way my riding is going and I’m going to continue to push it.
Coach Smith couldn’t agree more saying that this season has been a breakthrough for Gorgone because she has realized that she can compete and beat the best in the world. Also in the final for the U.S. was Eric Warren (Bennington, VT), who finished 14th after opening the season with two consecutive World Cup finals, including a career best fourth at the World Cup opener in Valle Nevado, Chile.
The Mt. Bachelor Snowboard Classic continues Saturday as Lindsey Jacobellis (Bondville, VT) and Seth Wescott (Farmington, ME) go head to head with World Cup SBX leaders Karine Ruby of France and Simone Malusa of Italy. Jacobellis has won every World Cup SBX that she’s entered and is coming off a historic sweep in Joetsu, Japan, where she won two consecutive SBX races before capping the three-day event with a halfpipe victory.
Mar. 5 — PGS Qualification 9:30 a.m. PT, Thunderbird; PGS Finals 1:00 p.m. PT, Thunderbird
Mar. 6 — SBX Trials 10:30 a.m. PT, West Boundary; SBX Finals 1:00 p.m. PT, West Boundary
Mar. 7 — Big Air Qualification 9:30 a.m. PT, Midway; Big Air Finals 1:00 p.m. PT, Midway
FIS SNOWBOARD WORLD CUP
Mt. Bachelor, Ore. — Mar. 5
Men’s Parallel Giant Slalom Final
1. Heinz Inniger, Switzerland
2. Mathieu Bozzetto, France
3. Urs Eiselin, Switzerland
4. Siegfried Grabner, Austria
5. Daniel Biveson, Sweden