The Associated Press - Saturday Dec. 7, 2013 09:20 ET

Dominique Maltais takes silver, Kevin Hill bronze in World Cup snowboard cross

Team competitions to take place later Saturday

Dominique Maltais, seen last season, got off to a strong start in World Cup competition on Saturday. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone/AP)

Canadians Dominique Maltais and Kevin Hill ended up on the podium Saturday at the season-opening snowboard cross event in Montafon, Austria.

Markus Schairer of Austria took the men's competition for his fourth career win and first since March 2009, while Eva Samkova of Czech Republic won the women's race.  

Schairer, who also led Friday's qualification, was the fastest starter in the final and stayed ahead of the field throughout the race. Last year's winner Omar Visintin of Italy came second, while Hill of Vernon, B.C. finished third.  

"Yesterday I had to start the qualifiers in 51st place and that was the worst start I ever had," Hill said in a release from Snowboard Canada. "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 mindset and it really paid off."

Schairer won three World Cup events and the world title in 2009 but had struggled with knee injuries since.  

Earning her second career victory, Samkova defeated 2006 Olympic bronze medallist Maltais of Petite-Riviere-Saint Francois, Que., and Helene Olafsen of Norway in the women's final.  

Maltais, 32, said she tried to get past Samkova between the third and fourth turns, but misjudged the timing.

"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."

Maltais said the semifinal heat was in a way more challenging than the final due to the level of competition.

"I wasn't able to take anything for granted," she said.

Maelle Ricker of Squamish, B.C., was unable to compete due to a concussion.

Canadian officials said that given that Ricker has already qualified for the Sochi Games, rest was the best course of action for the veteran competitor.

Men's and women's team events are scheduled for Sunday.

-- With files from

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