Klug finds second wind for second win
COPPER MOUNTAIN ” In PGS snowboard racing, the competition can change with every knockout round. And racing back-to-back two days straight will make for further inconsistency.
Aspen’s Chris Klug was unjostled by such patterns and won the Continental Cup races at Copper Mountain both Monday and Tuesday.
“I was still spent from yesterday,” said the Olympic bronze medalist on Tuesday. “But I was still hoping I could pull it off again. I was up against some serious competition in the finals and semifinals as well.”
That competition included a semifinal duel against 2002 Olympic silver medalist Rich Rikardsson from Sweden and a final against 2001 World Championships silver medalist Daniel Biveson. Klug said he made a big mistake during his first run against Biveson, cutting close enough to tweak his shoulder on a gate at the top, which threw him off course and through several ruts. He finished his first run .85 seconds behind the Swede.
“That second run I just put on my blinders and tried to put as much pressure as possible on Daniel,” Klug said. “When I crossed the finish line I expected him to be right there next to me, but he wasn’t. He had crashed three-quarters of the way down and I never knew it.”
Klug noted that Tuesday’s win gave him another 500 points, keeping his World Cup seeding secure after being on injury status since breaking his collarbone at the Winter X Games in Aspen last season.
Daniel Biveson ended up taking second Tuesday with fellow American Eric Warren in third and Rikardsson fourth.
On the women’s side, Edwards racer Stacia Hookom didn’t fare as well in Tuesday’s race to follow up her third-place finish Monday.
Canadian Alexa Loo won the women’s race Tuesday and was followed by Japan’s Ran Iida in second and Nathal DesMares from France in third.
“I made it into the parallel finals, but I messed up on my first run,” said Hookom, who is starting her 12th year with the U.S. Snowboard Team and is crossing her fingers that she can land the necessary fourth place on the World Cup this season to become one of only two women eligible for the U.S. Olympic Team.
“It’s pretty high elevation, and the fatigue level is substantial,” Hookom said. “I think you can see that, at least from the women’s side, with the difference in podium finishers Monday and (Tuesday).”
Racers said the course on Copperopolis was bumpy and became extremely rutted after beginning qualifying runs in the dark around 6:30 a.m. both Monday and Tuesday.
The next competition for the alpine snowboarders will be Dec. 16-18 with more PGS racing in Le Relais, Quebec.
The United States Ski and Snowboard Association contributed to this report.