Klug back in the pack
Aspen, CO ColoradoAROSA, Switzerland – For the second consecutive day, Chris Klug failed to make the cut for head-to-head competition at the FIS Snowboard World Championships.The 2002 Olympic bronze medalist from Aspen finished 34th in Wednesday’s parallel slalom, the fourth-best result among the American men.Swiss brothers Simon and Philipp Schoch ended up in the final together, with Simon taking the gold and Philipp the silver. Slovenia’s Rok Filander was third.Stacia Hookom of Edwards led all U.S. riders with an eighth-place finish in her final professional race.Hookom’s career spans 12 seasons and includes seven World Championships appearances. Oregon’s Adam Smith (Bend, Ore.) and Justin Reiter of Steamboat Springs led the American men, finishing 12th and 13th, respectively.”It’s really tough and I’m going to miss it,” Hookom said, holding back tears. “My motto for the Worlds was: ‘What would Elway do?’ John Elway closed out his career with the Denver Broncos on top, and today I was wearing bib No. 7 – his number. Maybe I didn’t win, but I feel like I went out on top.”The first female to earn a spot in the U.S. Snowboarding program after the 1994 U.S. Championships, Hookom racked up 197 World Cup starts in four disciplines (giant slalom, parallel giant slalom, parallel slalom and halfpipe) and captured six national championships. “One of my biggest dreams was to win a World Championships medal,” she said. “It’s something I’ve always held an extreme [desire] for and it didn’t happen, so that’s hard. But I’m not disappointed in the way I raced – I’d rather have real races than have someone crash for me to move on. All of my races this entire week were tough battles. If only every weekend could be like the Worlds.”
This wasn’t my best work. I still stand by my original picks to win each of the snowboard contests at X Games Aspen 2023, but fate chose poorly. The main lesson? Don’t pick against Mark McMorris, Marcus Kleveland or Scotty James, unless you have a very good reason.