Ski race seasons ebb to a close; athletes eye Olympic Games


Teller, Cook, and Mammoth High School racers end on high notes

The ski and snowboard racing seasons began drawing to a close last week, with Mammoth athletes turning in one of their finest seasons ever.

On the World Cup circuit, both skicross sensation John Teller and downhiller Stacey Cook solidified their bids for a medal at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. At home, Mammoth skiers took home the state championship with a superb all-around performance at Mt. Shasta.

Meanwhile, on the snowboard side, Mammoth-sponsored rider Kaya Turski won the gold medal at the Voss/Oslo FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships, while at home, Abigale Hansen, Madeline Riffel, Nicolo Monteforte, and Tyler Wallasch each received invitations to take part in the 2013 Freestyle Junior Worlds Competition in Valmalenco, Italy, later this month.

Teller finished his season with a gold medal in the national championships at the Canyons, Utah, then followed it up one week later by taking third in the World Championships in Voss, Norway.

To do it, Teller had to negotiate a course that featured some demanding jump-to-turn sections, technical step-up combinations, and one huge negative traverse.

“There were a couple of opportunities where I felt like I could have passed,” Teller said, “but I was just moving up next to a couple guys and I just couldn’t quite get there. It was good, though. I’m happy with it.”

Next up for Teller is the World Cup Championships on Sunday, March 17, in Are, Sweden.

Cook withdrew last weekend in the World Cup Championships but indicated she was happy with her season, which began with two podium finishes at Lake Louise. When it was all said and done, she attained the No. 4 world ranking going into next season.

“It’s never awesome to end the year with an anti-climatic cancellation,” she wrote in a Facebook post, “but I still had the best year of my career with two podiums, a sixth at the World Championships, and a final season ranking of fourth.”

Next up for Cook are the Alpine National Championships at Squaw Valley on March 21-22.

While Teller and Cook were setting the world on fire, the Mammoth High School skiers and snowboarders were busy at Mt. Shasta, winning the state title despite near-blizzard conditions.

In addition to the ski title, the Huskies also took first in their division in Men’s Snowboard, Men’s Ski, and Women’s Ski.

As a result, MHS won the division awards for combined ski.