TELLURIDE – “Sunny Telluride opened its doors to the world's best snowboarders Tuesday as the LG FIS World Cup kicked off with the first of two parallel giant slalom competitions,” is how the news blitz from Telluride’s debut World Cup event went global Tuesday, Dec. 14, at approximately 6 p.m., mountain time, after the medals were handed out for the first day’s competitions.
Telluride Ski and Golf Co. CEO Dave Riley was still flying high Wednesday morning on the string of successes that led to the perfect-pitch launch of the historic event. “We’re very excited to be hosting the World Cup in Telluride for the first time,” he said. Riley praised the Telluride community for its teamwork to make sure “things are going right. The community has really come together to help make this a success.”
International Ski Federation (FIS) and U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) officials are happy, too, he said. “From every indication I’ve seen, the FIS and USSA folks as well as the competitors,” he said, “are extremely impressed with Telluride.
“I was talking with some of the high-level officials today,” Riley said Wednesday, “with USSA, and they’re basically just thinking they’ve found the promised land.”
Riley went on to predict even better things to come. “I’ll put it this way,” he said. “The World Cup, I believe, will be a catalyst for Telluride on an international level.”
American athletes did not fare well in Tuesday’s competition, with Fraenzi Maegert-Kohli of Switzerland and Matthew Morison of Canada winning the event, while Michelle Gorgone (Boston) finished 11th for the U.S.
In the first of five Olympic qualification events for the discipline, “Maegert-Kohli was followed in the women's results by Germany's Amelie Kober in second and Kimiko Zakreski of Canada in third,” summed up writer Lindsey Sine, on the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Assn. website.
American coaches had no excuses for their lead athletes’ less-than-stellar performances. “It was a very disappointing day, from my side,” said U.S. Snowboarding Alpine Head Coach Jan Wengelin. “We've had great support from Telluride with the training on the hill, so there are no excuses.”
A problem took out Gorgone, the sole U.S. woman in the finals, on her first run, sticking her with a hefty time differential she was unable to make up; she finished 11th.
“On the second run she made up a lot of time on the other rider's advantage,” Wengelin said, “but it wasn't enough.
“Could she have made it?
“Yes, she could have,” he answered his own question.
In the men's race, Austria's Benjamin Karl was second and France’s Mathieu Bozzetto ascended the podium in third place.
Americans Justin Reiter (Steamboat Springs) and Chris Klug (Aspen) had aimed for a podium finish, for the home crowd, but, after finishing a slim margin behind their counterparts in the first run, they too were unable to catch up.
Klug wound the day out in 15th and Reiter in 16th.
“It's there in all the athletes, but they just need a little bit of work and a little bit of confidence to go in the right direction,” Wengelin said.
“We've just got to look ahead to Thursday,” when the racing resumes, with the second PGS competition and Visa Snowboardcross Cup races on Saturday.
But Telski’s Riley, sounding more coach than CEO, predicted great things for the Americans in upcoming events. “They’re looking forward to doing well in Bordercross,” he said of the U.S. team. “They did well at Copper Mountain in the half-pipe, last weekend; America did well in the half-pipe. We’ve got a very strong lineup in Bordercross, too,” he added. “We’re all waiting and watching to see how the competitors will do this weekend.”
– With reporting by USSA’s Lindsey Sine OFFICIAL RESULTS
2010 LG FIS World Cup
Dec. 15, 2009 - Telluride, CO
Parallel Giant Slalom
1. Matthew Morison, Canada
2. Benjamin Karl, Austria
3. Mathieu Bozzetto, France
4. Andreas Prommegger, Austria
5. Jasey Jay Anderson, Canada
15. Chris Klug, Aspen, CO
16. Justin Reiter, Steamboat Springs, CO
1. Fraenzi Maegert-Kohli, Switzerland
2. Amelie Kober, Germany
3. Kimiko Zakreski, Canada
4. Claudia Riegler, Austria
5. Doris Guenther, Austria
11. Michelle Gorgone, Boston