Vernon duo excellent at X Games

First time in Aspen, first time competing at the Winter X Games, first gold medal for Vernon’s Josh Dueck.

Vernon’s Kevin Hill (front) leads a pack of riders during action at the FIS Snowboardcross World Championships in La Molina

Vernon’s Kevin Hill (front) leads a pack of riders during action at the FIS Snowboardcross World Championships in La Molina

First time in Aspen, first time competing at the Winter X Games, first gold medal for Vernon’s Josh Dueck.

Joined by wife, Lacey, at the finish line, Dueck won gold Sunday in the Mono Skier X race, winning comfortably over American Brandon Adams. Great Britain’s Sean Rose took the bronze, all three X Games rookies grabbing the podium placings.

“This is the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” Dueck told an X Games correspondent as he soaked up cheers from the crowd at the bottom of the Buttermilk Mountain course.

Dueck and Adams were the only two really in contention for gold as a mishap at the start gate knocked down two of the four opponents.

In men’s snowboard cross, Kevin Hill, also from Vernon, followed up his 21st-place finish at last year’s X Games with silver this time around.

The 24-year-old finished in one minute 29.856 seconds, a fraction behind gold medallist Nick Baumgartner or Iron River, Mich., winning $15,000.

“It’s an amazing event that I used to dream about being in when I was a kid and now my dream has come true,” said Hill.

The men’s course featured an enormous jump right before the finish line, which forced several riders out of weekend competition due to injuries. Three of Hill’s Canadian teammates on the world cup circuit will miss this weekend’s stop in Korea after crashing on that jump.

Hill, who grew up riding on Silver Star, said his experience as a free ride snowboarder, and as a pro BMX racer, helped his confidence in the air.

“Jumping a BMX bike is pretty intimidating. If you case a jump on a bike, it’s the worst thing. On a snowboard you can absorb the landing a little bit. On a bike, it’s just wheels and metal.”

Vernon’s Justin Dorey finished sixth in the skier Superpipe competition at X Games.

Hill started his snowboard cross season in France for a Europa cup where he turned in one of his best performances to date to claim gold.

Next it was a trip to La Molina, Spain for the world championships, where Hill qualified 24th overall.

“At least I was though to the finals on race day,” smiled Hill, noting the course was built mostly of man-made snow.

After advancing to the quarterfinals, Hill bumped with an Italian rider just before a 55-foot jump and crashed out of the competition, settling for 14th overall.

“I was out for the day but not injured which was all that really matters in the end,” said Hill, who is sponsored by Fitness West, Attridge Ski & Board and Dunas.