Junior Village Championships get underway
The first of three scheduled Junior Village Championship races was held on Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The race, sponsored by Footloose Sports was originally scheduled for the previous day. But, a last minute decision was made to move it back to give the soft snow a chance to set up, giving the young competitors an opportunity to race in more favorable conditions. The Mammoth Mountain Ski Team U10-U12-U14 athletes were pre-assigned to one of ten locally sponsored teams and awards were given out for both fastest times for men and women in each age division and for team combined times. To add more excitement for both the athletes and parents the race is set up in a dual format with two racers going head to head.
Stella Vanderhurst racing for John’s Pizza took the win for the U10 girls. Peak Productions’ Elinor Crall was second, followed by Sophie McMahan representing 365. In the U10 boy’s division Alexander Freestone, Fritz Griffith and Noah Nguyen took first, second and third places respectively. Both Freestone and Griffith raced for the GC Firewood team, while Nguyen represented the 365 team.
The U12 girls had a tight race for first and second place with Piper Wilkison (Petras) winning the first run in the red course while Siena Beeghly won the first run of the blue course. The teams switched courses and this time each of the girls had the second fastest time in their respective courses. Beeghly’s combined time came to 53.54, while Wilkison’s time was 53.36 giving her the win by a mere .18 seconds. Regan Clute (Mono Market) grabbed the third place spot. Greg Gazarian (Burgers), Jace Urdi (Peak Productions) and Cooper Hindshaw (Footloose) claimed first, second and third for the U12 boys podium. The three racers combined timed were only separated by a total of .30 seconds.
In the U14 division Neave Anderson (Mono Market) had a blazing fast first run that put her in first place going into the second run. She came back to have a solid third place run in the red course, but her combined times couldn’t be beat. Anderson’s time for the blue course was the fastest time for all competitors in that course. And her combined time would have put her in third for the U14 boys. Erica Lynch (Footloose) was right behind Anderson taking second in both runs to give her a second place podium spot. Although Byrn Urdi (Burgers) had the fast time in the red course, her combined time put her in third. Benjamin Wynn (Designs Unlimited) had the fast time overall in the red course. Wynn whose combined time was 49.97 was the only racer to break the 50-second mark. Quentin LeFrancois (GC Firewood) and Mitchell Parsons (John’s Pizza) rounded out the podium in second and third respectively.
Keeping in the fun theme that the JVC series is know for, “trophies” for first second and third were gift certificates to Mimi’s Cookie Bar. The prize for the winning team was the highly coveted “Big Cookie” also from Mimi’s that was shared by the Footloose Flyers team. Another fun component of the JVCs that was introduced last year is the Geriatric Village Championships. This race is for the adult teams who come out to support the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation. Team IRS-Incredible Retro Skiers with Mike Braun, Nora Urdi, Greg Whistler, Tom Szeto and Keith Archer was the fastest team of the day. Liz Barnt racing for Maximum Handicap and Braun took first place for the women and men respectively. The second JVC race is planned for February 12, weather depending.
On the road with MMSST
Over the past few weeks a number of local athletes have been on the road representing their home mountain. Here is brief synopsis of the events they participated in.
On January 2-5, 2017 MMSST’s Maureen Lebel and Maia Bickert were at Burke Mountain, VT for four Nor-Am Cup events. Lebel was 29th and 24th in the two GS races. Bickert was 41st in the first GS and placed 20th in the first slalom. On January 7-9, team member Alex Colby joined them at Big Sky Resort, MT for the FIS University Race. Here Lebel was 15th and 13th in the GS and 27th in the slalom. Bickert was 39th in the slalom. Colby was 38th and 40th in the GS races and 39th in the slalom. On January 15, after several days of weather challenges the World Cup downhill at Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, AUT finally got off with Mammoth’s Stacey Cook taking 29th.
Three former members of the Mammoth Mountain Ski Team have been hitting ski cross tours across Europe and Canada. On January 11-12, 2017 Justin Wallasch competed in Val Thorens, France Europa Cup placing 50th and 53rd. two days later his brother Tyler raced in Watles Italy World Cup placing 47th and 41st. Meanwhile, Russell Malm who spent his holidays back in Mammoth training with the Mammoth Mountain Ski Team was in Canada taking part in the Nor-Am Cup tour. On January 7-8, 2017 Malm was at Sunridge, AB where he placed 14th and 19th. A few days later on January 13-14, 2017 he was at Tabor Mountain, BC where he came in 13th and ninth.
Freeski and Snowboard
The 2017 Toyota U.S. Revolution Tour headed to the East Coast January 9-12, 2017 making its second stop at Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. At the second of four stops on the tour, Waterville Valley played host to two separate slopestyle competitions for both snowboard and freeski athletes with some of the world’s best junior athletes, including nine MMSST athletes competing on the sculpted jumps and jibs of Waterville Valley’s Exhibition Terrain Park.
U.S. Freeskiing rookie slopestyle team member Caroline Claire (Wilmington, VT) hit the podium twice in the back-to-back slopestyle competitions; Claire was first on Monday and second on Tuesday. On Monday, Claire was joined on the podium by local girl Grace Henderson (Waterville Valley, NH) in second and Marin Hamill (Park City, UT) in third. On Tuesday, the same ladies owned the podium, but in a different order: Henderson first, Claire second, Hamill third. Mammoth Freeski Team’s Haley Moss and Kathryn Alexander represented MMSST with Alexander claiming eighth in both competitions.
According to MMSST Freeski coach Jimmy Greenleaf, the competition was a “learning experience for both” of his athletes. “The East is difficult for Mammoth athletes. With the icy conditions they are out of their element. It’s tough, I had the same problem when I competed.” Greenleaf went on to say, “The East Coast and Park City athletes dominated the competition with only a handful of West Coast athletes at the event. The West Coast athletes just don’t get a chance to train on rough, icy take offs, especially since Mammoth has the smoothest and softest take offs.”
Unfortunately, Alexander tweaked her knee while in New Hampshire. But once she got home she saw her physical therapist that feels her knee will be fine, it just needs some rest. So she is planning to take a week off before the Mammoth Grand Prix. Greenleaf said he is confident she “will come out swinging.”
Thursday’s snowboard competition faced weather challenges, and the course was abbreviated due to visibility. Athletes did well considering the conditions, laying down their best performances on one jump and three rails. Julianne O’Neill (Breckenridge, CO) won the event for the women, with Samm Denena of Canada in second and Taelor Mattingley (Sandy, UT) third. Mammoth Snowboard Team’s Kinsley White, was 18th. According to her MMSST coach Michael “Nacho” Vaz White “the youngest and smallest” competitor, but he let it be know that she “didn’t let that bother her” in her first Rev Tour slopestyle event. Even though the weather was “really bad and foggy she had a good practice, overcame her fears and landed her first run.”
On the men’s side Lukas Caye (Minneapolis, MN) was the winner for the men, with Luke Winkelmann (Blowing Rock, NC) in second and Kirk Teare (Essex, VT) in third, while MMSST’s Liam Whiley made finals in the first comp to finish 11th, Judd Henkes was 14th, Cody Beavers 32nd, Kolman Lecroy 45th, and Denver Orr 51st.
Friday’s weather was cold but clear, and competition organizers were able to offer a full course to the athletes. For the men, U.S. Snowboarding pro slopestyle team member Mack topped the field, rookie slopestyle team member Farrell was second and Caye scored his second podium of the week in third. For the women, rookie slopestyle team member Healey was first, Haliee Soderholm (Salt Lake City, UT) was second and Anna Valentine (Sparta, NJ) was third. On this day, White moved up to take 10th for the women. Orr had a big move up to place 15th, Beavers took 18th, Lecroy was 40th. Although they did well the day before both Henkes and Whiley this day were unable to repeat their results on the “firm, bullet proof” course. Another MMSST rider who traveled to New Hampshire was Matthew Romanowitz. Regrettably, Vaz reported, “he suffered a knee injury” and was unable to compete. He is currently waiting for an evaluation and Vaz added, “Hopefully he will be back soon.” The next stop for a few of the elite members of the team will be the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix, Feb. 1-4 to be held at Mammoth Mountain. Immediately following that event will be a USASA Slopestyle comp on February 5 open to all team members.