After two races on the World Cup snowboardcross tour, Vernon’s Kevin Hill wants to climb higher.
Hill earned 21st- and 15th-place showings in his first two events – Montafon, Austria, and Telluride, Colo. The 26-year-old sits 19th in the world, and is No. 2 on the Canadian squad, heading into the next stop, Jan. 23-26, in Stoneham, Que.
In Austria, Hill qualified 21st on a speedy, technical course.
“The speed was so fast in time trials it was hard not to over-shoot the jumps which mostly everyone was doing, causing some serious injuries and course holds,” said Hill, who is sponsored by Bio-X, Oakley, Rancho Vignola and Fitness Maxx.
After earning holeshot (first rider through the first turn), Hill crashed in a bumpy turn No. 2.
In the team relay the following day, Hill paired up with veteran Rob Fagan of Cranbrook.
“Unfortunately in the semifinals I made a mistake, leaving Rob to make up a lot of distance,” said Hill. “We didn’t advance but still had a chance at winning the small final and placing fifth, which we did.”
Hill said the Telluride course is well-built, but “very straight forward and fast, which wasn’t a big help for me coming into the race at 165 pounds.
“When you look at it, in the snowboard world, heavier glides faster downhill no matter how you put it.”
That made Hill’s 11th-place in qualifying all the more impressive. He finished fourth in quarterfinals to secure 15th, while teammate Chris Robanske earned bronze.
Hill and Robanske teamed up for the relay and finished fourth.
“We had no problem going though heats with his fast starts and commanding lead,” said Hill. “In the finals, Chris left me with a slight lead which I took and ran with.
“Coming down the second straight everyone was able to draft me and glide past me plowing a runway ahead of them. It was disappointing to go from first place to fourth but there was nothing I could really do about it.
“At the end of the day, it was still a high leading the final and placing a solid fourth place against the best in the world.”