March roars in like a lion, causing havoc with racers


Training cancelled, race on hold, event postponed due to weather…those are just some of the phases that have plagued the Mammoth Mountain Ski Team U14s for the entire 2013-2014 season.

As a result by March 2 the U14s had completed just four USSA races for the entire season. And it didn’t look like this was going to change this past week as one of the largest storms this season dumped three and a half feet of new snow just prior to the Stacey Cook SG Challenge, scheduled for March 1-2.

Harry Blackburn, Mammoth Mountain Ski Team Director and U14 coach quipped, “Schedule a speed event and you can almost bet it will snow! That orange fencing is a magnet for a storm! Maybe we should schedule speed in November!”  

Blackburn went on to describe the situation saying, “The snow is a welcome sight something we haven't seen a lot of this season, but it came as 150 of the Far West best U14 athletes gathered to compete for the North Series SG top honors. It was a tremendous effort from the Mammoth Mountain Race department, Mammoths Outside Operations and our volunteers to pull off the Stacey Cook SG Challenge. Wow, from 40 inches of powder to SG in two days. March definitely roared in like a lion and so did Mammoth’s U14 athletes.”

Even though the new snow wiped out Friday’s training run and made it impossible for the race to be held on Saturday, race officials insisted that the series was still “a go” for Sunday.  By race time on Sunday the skies that were clear in the early morning had clouded up, snow and fog blew in and what once looked like a decent day for a SG racing, quickly turned into a challenge for all involved.  But the MMRD doesn’t give in, even when confronted with almost impossible weather conditions and by late Sunday afternoon 150 U14 racers had two super G racesunder their belt.

Like many European World Cup races this season, the course fell victim to the weather and had to be shortened. As a result the fastest racer of the day to turned in a time of 34.77 compared to the full course that the U16s ran the following day with the fastest racer crossing the finish line at 1:19.55.  Although the U14 track time was quick, the times posted didn’t accurately reflect the conditions, which Blackburn called “the toughest race of the season.”“It was tight racing as the course was shortened due to the snow and weather never the less it lived up to its name The Stacey Cook Challenge.”Blackburn continued, “ ‘The Legion of Doom’ or ‘Sharp Lime Brigade’ as we call them, because the other teams know we just keep sending another hard charging athlete to the finish line” produced some new standout performances. Individuals like Conner Staley, Kendall Lach, Sam Buetner, Sheldon French, Cary Walker, Cody Jayne, Melanie Moyer, Evin Haworth, Bruno Amon Franceschi, Jade Steiner, Elan Preis in or just outside the first page some having their personal best result so far this season. Plus continue stellar top 15 results from Mack Carkeet, Eva Yguico, Cole Williams, Barrett Calvin, Luke Davenport, Charlie Regelbrugge, Erik Eisen. As they have all season long the entire Mammoth U14 team sent it down the racecourse. “

Blackburn, speaking on behalf of all of the U14 coaches revealed, “From all the U14 staff we want to congratulate everyone on your outstanding efforts this weekend. Keep up the great work. We’re super proud of everyone's efforts over the weekend. All the athletes deserved a medal. Those were not easy condition and nothing like our prep leading up to the event. We had perfect training the weekend before the race, hard fast snow. Then came the flat light, fog, wind, soft snow, and ruts. That’s ski racing. It’s not for the faint hearted. You have to be mentally strong to hurl yourself down a mountain at speeds close to 50 mph in those conditions.” Blackburn finish with, “They are a team always cheering for one another and supportive yet ultra competitive. A big shout out to Sarah Ellis who has been recovering from a bad fall while competing at the Alpine Meadows Parallel last month she was out there cheering on her teammates at the finish line! Now that's an amazing teammate!”

No sooner had the U14s wrapped up their series than the U16s took over the same arena for the USSA/Far West Wild West U16 SG race series on March 3-4. These Junior Championships Qualifiers meant a lot to the racers who had already had this series postponed and resited from Alpine Meadows.  Soagain the exhausted MMRD workers and volunteers became “Energizer Bunnies” dug in and helped the athletes complete their marathon SG series of three super G races in two days. But it wasn’t easy nor did it happen without some difficulties. On the first day just after the first few racers came down, the course became even more demanding when some deep ruts developed in the soft snow. But with constant raking and slipping by coaches, race workers and volunteers the course remained safe throughout the entire day. And by Tuesday afternoon, the 100 U16 racers had added more points to their quest to make the team going to the Western Region Marriott U16 Junior Championships at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, March 19-23.

Over the four day period a number of MMST racers took top 15 race results including: Sheldon French, fifth; Cole Williams, eighth; Barrett Calvin, ninth; Sam Beutner, 10; Charlie Regelbrugge, 11; Luke Davenport, 14; Bruno Amon-Franceschi, 15 in the U14 Boys first race and in the Boys second race: Connor Staley, third; Sheldon French, fifth; Barrett Calvin, 10; Erik Eisen, 11; and Cole Williams, 12. While in the Girl’s first U14 race Mack Carkeet was third; Kendall Lach, fifth; Cary Walker, 11; Eva Yguico, 15. The Girls second race produced two top 15 winners: Eva Yguico in sixth and Mack Carkeet in seventh place. MMST U16 top 15 race results: Elisabeth Heit ninth, seventh, 13; Cody Underkoffler seventh, 12, eighth; Kevin Wolfe ninth, 15, 12; Perry Moyer 10; 10; Grayson Dozier 14, 14 and Russell Malm took ninth in the final race earning him the Hard Charger award for the race.Over the four days all of the MMST U14 and U16 racers unquestionably lived up to their team motto “Challenge Accepted.”

March 1-2, USASA Slopesyle #1 and #2

Saturday, March 1 and Sunday, March 2 Mammoth Mountain hosted two very snowy USASA Unbound Slopestyle contests. Locals taking first place in their class on at least one day were: Connor Cosmano, Aaron Durlester, Jonathan Ford, Justus “Judd” Henkes, Tyler Inn, Peri King, Jake Langston, Tessa Maud, Haley Moss, Jordyn Nowakowski, Jeremy Page, Carson Reid, Kai Shafer, Alexandria Simsovits, Devin Tubbs, Trent Wallentine, and Kain Wilmot.

March 3-6, CNISSF State Championships at Northstar

Northstar held the 2014 California Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard Federation (CNISSF) State Championships March 3-6. Thirteen Mammoth High School skiers: Hayden Mannetter, Tim Wolfe, Sierra Gilfoy, Lynn Regelbrugge, Chelsea Foulke, Kyra McKee, Torrey Patrie, Sabrina Clevenger, Griffin Covert, Everest Webber, Ryan Foulke, Russell Malm and Nathan Everson were named to the team. Unfortunately, Foulke and Malm were unable to attend due to the last minute rescheduling and relocating of the three U16 SG races to Mammoth. While, Everson was unable to race due to an injury. Ten Snowboard athletes: Tyler Searles, Candice Berger, Sam Hein, Sabrina Wilson, Edwin Molina, Julia Cage, Tyler Wagner, Kenny Schreiber, Nathan Liuag, Fleur Connolly also traveled to Northstar. Race results were unavailable at press time, but will be covered in next week’s paper.

Local Athletes Show their Strength at Mammoth Revolution Tour

The U.S. Revolution Tour, a progressive venue for today’s top junior riders to take the competitive stage in halfpipe, slopestyle, and snowboardcross was held at Mammoth Mountain, Feb. 24-28. The series focused towards riders 13-19 years old is designed to serve as a stepping-stone for athletes making the transition from competing at the grassroots level to the elite level. Throughout the week a number of local athletes produced top results in various contests. In the Men’s Skicross held on Monday, Feb. 24, it was a battle of the siblings with current World Cup skicross competitor Tyler Wallasch taking first and his former MMST teammate Randy Malm capturing fourth. Tyler’s brother Justin was sixth and Randy’s brother Russell took 13. Both Justin and Russell are current members of MMST. One of MMST’s strongest skicross female athletes, McKenna Latt took a second place podium spot for the ladies.

Snowboard Slopestyle was held the following day with Mammoth’s Brandon Davis taking the gold for the men, while local snowboarder Danika Duffy was third and Mammoth Snowboard Team’s own Chloe Kim fifth for the ladies. Mammoth boarders Jedidiah Sky, Brock Crouch, George Scott, Drayden Gardner, and Seb Judge also competed. The Snowboard Halfpipe competition was held Wednesday under less than ideal conditions as the forecasted snowstorm moved in earlier than expected slowing the pipe with fresh snow and at times making visibility almost nonexistent.  True to form the Mammoth ladies toughed out the conditions in the Women’s Snowboard division and packed the podium with Chloe Kim taking first, Maddie Mastro second and Kelly Berger in third.Two other women also made the front page with Jenise Spiteri 11 and Danielle Brodrick 13. In the Snowboard Halfpipe Men’s division Drayden Gardner was fifth; Joshua Bowman 14 and Freeman Andrews 27.Benjamin Wisner, Director of Mammoth Mountain Snowboard and Freeski Teams summed up the demanding halfpipe event saying I’m, “so proud of all my riders putting down runs in some challenging conditions.” The event continued on Thursday with Ski Slopestyle, however no Mammoth athletes were in the contest and the Ski Halfpipe scheduled for Friday was cancelled due to weather.


CNISSF Nordic State Championships

A number of local students represented their respective schools at the CNISSF Nordic State Championships at Auburn Ski Club on February 22. Their results are as follows. Mammoth Middle School Girls: Meaghan Thompson, ninth; Sophia McKee, 16; Alexia Craven, 18; Hannah Linaweaver, 40. Mammoth Middle School Boys: Jared Mahler, fourth; Dominic Manzano, 11; Logan Van Winkle, 26; Cardiff Smith, 34;Tanner Bissonette, 44; and Barrett Manneter, 56. Mammoth High School Girls: Amanda Kirkeby, third; Katherine Janisse, eighth. Mammoth High School Boys: Trace Calvin, 12; Connor Kusumoto, 14; Calvin Forsythe, 17; Carson Bold, 18; Jack Roten, 25; and Jacob Mahler, 37.

Local Nordic Skiers Travel to Vermont for Junior National Championships

Five local athletes were named to the 2014 Far West Nordic Jr. National Team including: Trace Calvin, Connor Kusomoto, Carson Bold, Amanda Kirkeby and Laurel Fiddler (skiing for Bates College). According to the Eastern Sierra Nordic Ski Association, “They put in a lot of effort to get there and will be representing the Eastern Sierra at the 2014 Junior National Nordic Ski Championships in Stowe, VT, March 1-8.”