Reiter, Mueller finish strong |

Reiter, Mueller finish strong

Last season was rough for Steamboat Springs snowboarder Erica Mueller. Last week was even harder.

“I found out last week that I might have lost my World Cup spot,” Mueller said from Copper Mountain on Thursday.

But instead of feeling sorry for herself, the U.S. Team veteran has decided to focus on the things that will make her faster in the upcoming season. She looked strong this week at the Race to the Cup event at Copper, and now she is hoping that the results and another World Cup spot will follow.

“I’m not sure what’s going to happen (with my World Cup spot),” Mueller said. “I just plan to keep building on the things that I’m doing and focusing on the things that will make me faster.”

She racked up a pair of top-10 finishes at the Race to the Cup events and said she is feeling stronger than ever on her board.

In the first parallel giant slalom Wednesday, she raced to a seventh-place finish. The result wasn’t as good as she might have hoped, but Mueller felt she was riding well enough to push for a podium spot.

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“The result wasn’t that impressive, but I feel like I’m riding well right now,” Mueller said. “If I keep working hard in training and riding like that in the races, the results will follow.”

Switzerland’s Fraenzi Maegert-Kohli won the women’s race at Copper on Wednesday. She was followed by Patrizia Kummer in second and Canada’s Kimiko Zakreski, who trained for several years in Steamboat, in third. Steamboat rider Mimi Wiencke was 13th.

Mueller added a ninth-place finish Thursday in the women’s parallel slalom race. Canada’s Alexa Loo won the race and was followed by Maegert-Kohli in second and Kummer in third.

“Erica impressed me,” coach Thedo Remmelink said Wednesday. Remmelink was in Summit County coaching 18 riders from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. “She’s been in a bad place. She lost her World Cup spot, and I know that was hard for her mentally. But she came out and raced really well this week. I think she saw the light, and I think we are going to see more good things from her in the future.”

Tyler Jewell, who also trained in Steamboat for several years before earning a spot with the U.S. Team, led the Americans in Wednesday’s parallel giant slalom with a fourth-place finish in the men’s race. Teammate Justin Reiter was sixth, and Zachary Kay was 13th. Canadian rider Jasey-Jay Anderson won the men’s race by knocking off teammate Matthew Morison in the finals. Olympic silver medalist Simon Schoch (2006) placed third.

Reiter said no American finished in the top four of Thursday’s parallel slalom. He reported that Schoch won the race and was followed by Anderson in second and Roland Haldi in third. Reiter was the top American, in sixth place in the final standings.

“It was a decent week for me,” Reiter said. “I’m a little disappointed that I made it to the finals but just missed the podium.”

Reiter plans to return to Steamboat Springs and to continue training leading up to the start of the World Cup season in December. He also is nursing a sore knee.

The Copper Mountain races boasted a top international field, with riders from the United States, Canada, Switzerland and Sweden. Mueller said poor snow conditions in Europe brought many of the international riders to the United States for early-season training. Steamboat will host a Race to the Cup event in early January.