John Teller, Kaya Turski come home and give Main Lodge love

Mammoth welcomed back a couple of its in-the-news athletes on Sunday, giving locals a chance to meet and ski with ski cross mega-star Johnny Teller and slopestyle skier Kaya Turski.

Hundreds of people jammed the Main Lodge sun deck for autographs, handshakes and high-fives, and if there were passers-by or out-of-towners who wondered what the fuss was about, here’s why:

Teller, coming off an X-Games gold medal and a couple of World Cup podiums, was just back from the FIS World Championships in Utah, where he placed fifth but won the so-called “small finals” in his event.

Canada’s Chris Del Bosco won the event, with Finland’s Jouni Pellinen second and Austria’s Andreas Matt third.

Turski, coming off her second X-Games gold medal in women’s slopestyle, copped a silver medal in the World Championships. In April, the Olympic Committee will decide if slopestyle is to be an Olympic event in the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.

“I’m very happy,” she said. “I landed my run and I skied how I wanted to ski.”

“It’s an honor to be part of the first-ever world championships for slopestyle, and I hope we put on a good show and I hope that the (International Olympic Committee) is stoked on us and that we’ll go forward to the Olympics.”

Teller was the only American to make last Friday’s ski cross finals. After qualifying for the finals in ninth, Teller skied well, passing his way through the first heat and the quarterfinals before finishing third in his semifinal race, missing the finals but earning a spot in the small final.

Teller took full advantage of his opportunity. He blasted into the lead, taking the hole shot at the first corner, and never looked back. “I had some goals coming into this season,” he said. “They were pretty high goals and I’d say I’ve achieved them.”

A surprise guest showed up, too, with Mammoth pro terrain skier Chris Benchelter on hand to take part.
Teller, Turski and Benchelter took skiers, mostly kids, on a lap-along, including a ride in the Super Pipe.