It’s been a rough winter for the Mammoth Ski and Snowboard Team members whose main goal is competition. All winter long competitions and races have been postponed and or canceled. It seems as though no competition is immune. As reported last week the Junior Village Championships held on January 16 were one of the few races to take place and even those races were postponed a day. But, what was only briefly mentioned in that article was another race that ran that day, the Geriatric Village Championships. The GVCs was started last year by the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation as a fun way for parents and friends of MMCF to hone in on their skiing or boarding skills all the while experiencing what their athletes go through to race. The parents form teams, have several practice sessions and then race between runs of the JVCs. For years parents have lined the sides of courses cheering on their athletes, now it is the athletes’ turn to do the same for their parents. When all is said and done the winners of the JVCs take home Mimi’s Cookie Bar coupons, while their parents are awarded geriatric vitamins and hot packs. In the first GVC race of the season the fastest team of the day with handicaps was Team IRS-Incredible Retro Skiers. Team members are blazing fast skiers Mike Braun, Nora Urdi, Greg Whistler, Tom Szeto and Keith Archer. The Potluckers followed them with team members Caroline McGlashan, Randol Curtis, Melissa Curtis, David McGlashan, Tim Wight, Doug Griffith and Petra Griffith. Holding down the third spot on the podium was the Maximum Handicap Team represented by Liz Barndt, Mike Martyr, Jim Sewell and Tania Rodriguez. Barnt racing on a snowboard and Braun took first place for the women and men respectively. The next JVC and GVC races are scheduled to be held February 12.
This winter it has even been hard for MMSST members to get training time on the hill, much the less race. Harry Blackburn, MMSST Alpine Development Director wrote to his athletes on January 18 saying, “Well after four blue bird days Mother Nature will again point the snow machine in our direction…We have our plan and Mother Nature has hers and right now she is in the driver’s seat. If we look back on the past five years, it will go down as one of the most consistent training scenarios Mammoth and the Far West has ever seen due to the prolonged drought. Now the snow gods are playing catch up…over my many years I have seen plenty of seasons where the weather just doesn’t give us a break to run gates with any consistency and this might be one of those seasons…The drought had it’s positive influences with day after day of hard snow and blue bird days, but let’s face it skiing the mountain when there’s all kinds of snow is way more fun and exciting.” Four days later Blackburn issued the following, “Stay Home! All programs have been cancelled…stay put and be safe!” With the weather clearing it looks like it will be a go this week for the high school races at Mammoth on Thursday and Friday. The Wild West U16 Qualifiers at Squaw Valley, the U10-U12 GS at Alpine, the North U14 slaloms at Diamond Peak are planed for this weekend and for the FIS racers a week of competition at Schweitzer Mountain Resort, ID.
On the road with MMSST
This past week more events were added to the list of changes and in the end only the U19’s got to race and even then their race was reduced from four days down to one. The Elite Tech Astle Memorial was scheduled for January 17-20 at Squaw Valley. The race was to have consisted of two GS races and two slalom races, however after one day of racing GS the series was canceled. In that race that did take place MMSST’s Mack Carkeet was sixth (14th overall) and Sydney Snelbaker 30th for the U16 women. Maia Bickert took second (fifth overall) for the U21 women. In the U16 men’s division Barrett Calvin was 14th, Ben Ellis 26th, Casey Felgar 27th, Luke Davenport 29th, Thomas Knowles 35th, Perry Moyer 37th, Sheldon French 41st and Erik Eisen 42nd.
Several former MMSST members had results in Europe and the U.S. On Friday, January 20 Russell Malm, along with brothers Justin and Tyler Wallasch competed in the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix skicross at Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah. Malm was 25th, Justin 23rd and Tyler was the top U.S. male in seventh place giving him this season’s national titles for skicross. Wallasch, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in March of 2016, was happy with his seventh-place finish. “It’s been amazing. The last time I was here was 2013, the year before the last Olympics. It’s been a long time away from home. It was almost foreign to come back, but having my family here and friends was awesome. I’m coming back from injury this season so it’s been a tough season at the World Cup level, but it’s nice to come home and get in the heats and racing like I know I can. Still some ways to go but I know I can do it. Obviously I want to win, but coming back from injury, the goal has been delayed. It’s been more set around my recovery and not just going out every day and sending it to try and win. I have to take it a little slower (but) the goal still remains the same: win races and try to get an Olympic medal.” The next day in Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany Stacey Cook raced in the World Cup downhill where she was 18th in a race won by another American Lindsay Vonn.
At the FIS World Cup held Jan. 16-21 in Laax, Switzerland. Mammoth Pro riders Brock Crouch and Bradon Davis finished 24th and 44th respectively in the Laax Open Men’s Slopestyle comp. Chloe Kim won the qualifying round and then on Saturday, Jan 21 she came back to win the finals for the ladies’ halfpipe. Another local pro rider Kelly Clark was fourth. Greg Bretz took ninth for the men. After also winning the season opener at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain in December, Kim made it back-to-back World Cup wins by taking top honors in Laax. She now leads the FIS halfpipe rankings, and isn’t expected to slip from the top anytime soon—Kim is absolutely dominating the competition; she used a run to win at Laax that was almost exclusively switch, featuring only one frontside spin and it was a 1080. “I’m so stoked that I was able to put down some good runs today,” Kim said of her win. “I couldn’t be any happier.” She went on to add, “I was really excited about my victory lap but obviously I wanted to do better than in my second run but unfortunately I fell on the 1080. But you know, I’m just trying to beat myself in every possible way.”