Mammoth athletes ‘crush it’ at weekend X-Games, half-marathon championships
Mammoth’s athletes took to the Colorado mountains and the Texas marathon courses last weekend, and the results can be summarized in two words.
“Crushed it,” said Mammoth Recreation Manager Stuart Brown.
Johnny Teller (ski cross) and Kaya Turski (ski slopestyle) took gold medals at the Winter X-Games in Aspen, while Tyler Flanagan took home a bronze in snowboard slopestyle.
Meanwhile, in Houston, the Mammoth Track Club’s Jen Rhines won the U.S. Half Marathon Championships, establishing her personal best.
On the men’s side, Patrick Smyth of the Mammoth Track Club placed third.
Back in Aspen, three Mammoth snowboarders showed up big in a new event, called Snowboard Method. This event is almost all about style and big air.
Though the Mammoth riders did not place in podium positions, Mason Aguirre, Jack Mitrani and Greg Bretz finished 4-5-6.
Teller’s finish in ski cross was the most breathtaking – perhaps of any race in the weekend.
Teller, who has two World Cup podium finishes, including a gold medal in St. Johann, Austria on Jan. 7, narrowly edged out Chris Del Bosco, who led the majority of the race.
Ski Cross legend Casey Puckett, 38, took the bronze medal, despite not being on a ski cross course since the Olympics last February. Puckett is the executive director of the American Ski Cross Association (ASCA), and Teller is the organization’s highest profile athlete.
“It feels amazing, especially in front release by the ASCA. “All our races have been in Europe for the World Cup, so to do it here is amazing.
“I’ve got a lot of family and friends here and it’s just incredible.”
Teller took the podium at the World Cup in St. Johann, Austria on Jan. 7, becoming the first American to win a World Cup.
It was a captivating race, with Del Bosco narrowly leading Teller, and Puckett trailing.
“I was still skiing well but I wasn’t fast enough to be able to catch those guys,” Puckett said.
“Really about halfway down I just started rooting for Teller to overtake Del Bosco. I was rooting for Teller and just waiting for an opportunity.
“If those guys messed up I was going to capitalize, but it didn’t happen.”
In the quarterfinals and semifinals, Teller skied alongside Del Bosco and began to form a series of tactics
“In the semifinals, I kind of came behind him and was looking for areas that I might be able to pass him, and I was able to make one stick in the finals,” Teller said.
Turski, meanwhile, was defending her gold medal at the 2010 X-Games.
“I feel elated right now,” Turski told SkiRacing.com.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself. The level of competition here is so high, all the girls killed it.
“I luckily had a good first run, a great cab 7 and nailed the cannon. That really eased the pressure.”
Turski held off hard-charging Keri Herman, whose final run score of 93.33 earned her the silver medal.
Flanagan took his bronze on the strength of a humongous frontside 9 to cab 12 to backside 12, stomping his way onto the podium in his second run. It was Flanagan’s first X-Games medal.
Jen Rhines/Patrick Smyth
In Houston, Rhines finished in a personal-best 1 hour, 11 minutes, 14 seconds.
“You always have to be happy when you run a PR [personal record],” Rhines said. “You never know when you’re going to have ups and downs. I’m just going to enjoy this today.”
Smyth, also representing the Mammoth Track Club and a running partner with Josh Cox, finished third in men’s division, behind former Mammoth Track Clubber Ryan Hall.
The championship was run on a new course to give Rhines, Hall, Smyth and their fellow competitors a glimpse of the course make-up for Houston’s hosting of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials next January.
On Wednesday, the Freestyle National Championships opened in Deer Valley and Park City. Turski was scheduled to compete Thursday afternoon, while Teller was to race today (Friday).