MONTAFON, Austria - Dominique Maltais won silver and Kevin Hill took bronze in snowboard cross on Saturday, the only Canadians to finish on the podium at a World Cup event in Austria.
Maltais was unable to pass Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic, who took gold. Still, it was a step up for the 32-year-old from Petite-Riviere-Saint-Francois, Que., who qualified ninth earlier in the day.
"I thought I was fast in the course and maybe I was a little too relaxed," said Maltais of the qualification round. "I ended finishing with a time that wasn't what I was hoping for".
Maltais did not let that minor setback affect her and she was able to concentrate on the actual races.
"The objective was to be more engaged and that's what I did," said Maltais. "The semifinals heat was stacked, even more so than the finals so I wasn't able to take anything for granted".
Maltais had a specific strategy in the final heat against Samkova.
Olympic champion Maelle Ricker, from Squamish, B.C., wasn't able to take part in the race. She suffered a mild concussion in training and returned to her home.
"The strategy was to stay very close to her and try to pass between the third and fourth turn. I ended arriving a little too early and wasn't able to make the pass," said Maltais. "I'm still very happy with the results. A second place tells me that things are going well. Obviously the objective is to be perfect and there are lots of great upcoming races to win. That's my goal."
Hill was also all smiles after grabbing his first-ever World Cup podium, finishing third behind Markus Schairer of Austria and Italy's Omar Visintin of Italy.
"To finally get on the podium feels great and it's the perfect year to do it," said Hill.
After a disappointing season last year the Vernon, BC native felt he had nothing to lose.
"Yesterday I had to start the qualifiers in 51st place and that was the worst start I ever had," said Hill. "I felt I had no pressure and was able to go for it. I ended up qualifying in second place. Coming into the race today I had the same mind set and it really paid off".