Local riders pass boardercross test
On a great day for local snowboarders, Sweden’s Pontus Stahlkloo and Marguerite Cossettini of Australia were the king and queen of the hill, winning the Swatch Boardercross World Tour stop at Snowmass Ski Area in dominating fashion.
Wearing bib No. 1 after finishing first in Friday’s time trials, Stahlkloo won three heats and finished second in another to cruise to victory in the double-elimination format that sent six riders at once barrelling down a course full of banked turns, whoop-de-doos, dropoffs and jumps laid out on the Blue Grouse run at Snowmass.
Stahlkloo edged out Philippe Conte of France and Austria’s Harald Putz to pick up his first Boardercross World Tour win of the season.
“Apparently, this was my course,” said Stahlkloo, commenting on his time trial finish as well as the win. “It helps when you know you’re the fastest guy on the course. I’ve been placing second, third, second, but today it was my day.”
Cossettini, who tops the season boardercross standings, qualified just sixth in the time trials and then nearly flamed out in her very first run. She wiped out going over the infamous Murphy jump, a kicker in the middle of a banked turn, but recovered in time to finish third.
Only the top three finishers in each heat move on, meaning Cossettini advanced to the next round of the winners’ bracket. After that scare, Cossettini raced to second place in the semifinals and then beat Catherine Poetzl of Austria and Canada’s Erin Simmons, racing in her first event, to the finish line in the final heat to claim the gold.
“I’m just really stoked,” said Cossettini following the race.
Of the 48 men and 24 women who advanced beyond the time trial, a large contingent was on hand to represent the Roaring Fork Valley.
Travis McLain of Snowmass Village led the way for the local riders, finishing eighth despite crossing the finish line on his head in one heat.
“I had fun,” he said. “I was hoping to do well. I got a spot in the X Games, so I wanted to get in some practice here.”
Just behind Mclain in 11th place was Cooper Hall of Aspen, riding in his first World Tour event at the tender age of 17.
“I was hoping to be in the top 20,” said Hall. “I wasn’t expecting this, so I’m pretty happy.”
Quincy Kimbrell of Snowmass Village finished 26th, three spots ahead of Hall’s Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club teammate, fellow 17-year-old Christian Mosiman. Another snowboarder from Snowmass, John Norman, finished 42nd despite racing with a cast on one hand.
Two other local riders, Lucas Franze and Suzy Parker, also qualified for Saturday’s races but had to withdraw due to a dislocated shoulder and a concussion, respectively, suffered in their second time trial runs on Friday.
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After nine months of being shuttered due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Wheeler Opera House will reopen for local acts. A touchless reservation system will be open to 53 people for in-person at the venue. Online live streaming also will be available.