Hill lands World Cup silver medal

Vernon's Kevin Hill claims first-ever major international medal by taking silver in World Cup championships in Kreischberg, Austria.

When he saw the icy conditions for Friday’s snowboard cross competition at the world championships in Kreischberg, Austria, Vernon’s Kevin Hill knew he was in for a wild ride.

It all ended brilliantly for Hill as he earned his first major international medal with a silver. He also collected 5,000 euros for the result.

Hill, 28, was runner-up in each of the elimination rounds – from the round of 16 to the Big Final, a rather dicey position when only the top-two advanced.

In that Big Final, he had to come from  behind to assure himself the silver behind winner Luca Matteotti of Italy. American riders Nick Baumgartner and Nate Holland were third and fourth.

“I started the day a little unsettled, very excited to race but with extra added pressure from myself,’’ said Hill, eighth at the Winter Olympics last year.

“The course was one of my least favourites in the past few years, more so because of the weather leading to the event with warm weather and then freezing weather.’’

Those conditions made for high speeds and icy turns but Hill was in control.

“I worked hard to make it to the final,” he said. “When the gate dropped I left it on the line and got some luck. I’m very excited, I can’t thank the Canadian support team enough and now I’m ready to go get a medal at X-Games.’’

Christopher Robanske of Calgary was 27th and Baptiste Brochu of Saguenay, Que., 35th.

In women’s competition, two-time Olympic medallist Dominique Maltais of Petite-Rivière-St-François, Que., won the small final for fifth place overall. Tess Critchlow of Kelowna was 14th.