U.S. Snowboarding has tough showing at Telluride World Cup PGS, readies for SBX

Posted By: The Ski Channel on December 15, 2009 5:40 pm

The U.S. Team snowboarders had a tough run at the LG FIS parallel giant slalom World Cup today in gorgeous Telluride. Even though the ski home of superstar Tom Cruise delivered its usual sun-splashed, powdery conditions, only one American athlete did well–Michelle Gorgone, who notched an 11th place. Fraenzi Maegert-Kohli of Switzerland and Matthew Morison of Canada won. It was the first of five Olympic qualification events for the discipline.

Germany’s Amelie Kober followed Maegert-Kohli in second for the women, with Kimiko Zakreski of Canada in third. ”It was a very disappointing day from my side. We’ve had great support from Telluride with the training on the hill, so there are no excuses,” U.S. Snowboarding Alpine Head Coach Jan Wengelin said.

Gorgone was the only American woman in the finals. The veteran boarder was running fast, but ran into an error during her first run, which left her with a tough time differential. ”On the second run Michelle made up a lot of time on the other rider’s advantage, but it wasn’t enough. Could she have made it? Yes, she could have,” Wengelin said.

In the men’s race Austria’s Benjamin Karl was second and Frenchman Mathieu Bozzetto took the bronze. Justin Reiter (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Chris Klug (Aspen, CO) were each shooting for the podium–and definitely capable of reaching it. However, Klug ended up in 15th with Reiter 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.”

The racing in Telluride continues on Thursday with the second PGS competition and Visa Snowboardcross Cup races on Saturday. SBX athletes 2006 Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott, X-Games gold medalist Nate Holland and World Cup winner Graham Watanabe will each gun for their spots on the 2010 Olympic team.