Steamboat snowboarder Ester Ledecka leads way at PGS World Cup in Italy
December 15, 2017
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs-trained Alpine snowboarder Ester Ledecka, who rides for the Czech Republic, won the first parallel giant slalom World Cup of the winter Thursday competing in Italy.
A contingent of United States athletes, including Steamboat Springs' Maggie Rose Carrigan, didn't fare as well and failed to qualify for the event's finals.
Ledecka, who's been a member of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club snowboard race team, qualified first, then backed that up, winning each of her third rounds in the head-to-head, 16-rider bracket.
It wasn't a new position for her. She's previously landed on the World Cup podium 15 times in her career and won world championships in the event in 2015 and 2017.
She'll head into February's Winter Olympics as one of the medal favorites and as one of the most diversified athletes. She also plans to compete for the Czech Republic in Alpine skiing.
Carrigan placed 39th in Italy. Lynn Ott was 49th and Abby Champagne 53rd. All three are looking for a top-30 World Cup result to meet the international Olympic qualifying standards. It would likely take an even better result to meet the U.S. qualifying standards.
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They'll all immediately get another crack at qualifying Friday in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, for a second World Cup competition in as many days.
U.S. riders struggled on the men's side, as well. Michael Trapp was 38th, Robby Burns 39th, Ryan Rosencranz 46th, A.J. Muss 52nd and Converse Fields 58th. All trained with the Winter Sports Club.
Christian de Oliveira, a Steamboat athlete competing for Portugal, was 54th.
Vic Wild, a U.S.-born snowboarder who trained in Steamboat before becoming a Russian citizen, had a very strong day, placing fourth. His teammate, Russia's Andrey Sobolev, won the day's event.