Mother Nature takes over scheduling for championships races
Mammoth skiers compete in Championship events at home, Tahoe, Idaho, Utah and as far away as Alaska and Canada.
Mammoth hosts Far West U14 Championships
Mother Nature took charge of scheduling for most of the well-planned championship events that were on the calendar this week. The Far West U14 Championships at Mammoth was most likely the hardest hit. Athletes planning to attend the four event series planned for Thursday, March 22-25 were put on notice before the event even started with a announcement stating, “We are moving forward with the event, however please be prepared for daily adjustments to the schedule. The ROC together with the race jury will make decisions at the team captain’s meetings based on weather and snow conditions.”
The athletes and the storm both arrived Wednesday evening and no one was surprised Thursday morning by the 7:00 am update stating, “SL race is postponed until tomorrow Friday 3/23…Lots of heavy wet snow and wide out conditions.”
At 9:30 am Friday morning the racers were sent the following message, “Due to new snow, hill conditions, and avalanche control work (safety), there will be no races for the U14 Championships held today, Friday. The jury has decided that we will run U14 Slalom races on Saturday.”
On Saturday the racers woke up to bright blue skies, cold temperatures and lots of wind. As the racers lined up for the start of the slalom, the temperature with wind chill was -19, but the resilient athletes were ready to compete. Mammoth’s Bryn Urdi finished her first run in16th place. She took advantage of the between run break to warm up, regroup and headed back out for her second run turning in the sixth fastest run. She ended up taking sixth place for the day.
On the boy’s side after the first run three Mammoth racers looked like they were on their way to front-page results with Quentin LeFrancois sitting in third, Parker Gumins in fifth and Mitchell Parsons close behind in sixth, but the second run changed that. Parsons encountered some difficulties and sadly ended up finishing in 29th. On a better note, Le Francois was able to hold on and took fifth overall, while Gumins had a strong second run and moved up to take a podium spot in third.
Harry Blackburn, MMSST Director and Head U14 Coach, proudly commented on his athletes’ performances saying, “Stand out performances came from Bryn Urdi, Parker Gumins, Quentin Le Francois. Iain Ferguson battled back from a poor start draw to make it back to 23rd moving up 56 places. Kendal Spieler and Jack Lackey both first year U14s demonstrated solid fundamentals and powered though the tough conditions placing in the top 30 and will be strong contenders in next season slalom events. All of our Mammoth athletes gave gallant efforts with the soft snow conditions in the Championship slalom.”
Sunday, the racers arrived to another round of difficult conditions, but nonetheless they headed out to inspect their courses. Unfortunately, by 9:20am the call was made and again the athletes were greeted with a disappointing announcement, “Due to hill/snow conditions and poor visibility, the U14 Championship races will be cancelled for Sunday, 3/25/18.”
Later Sunday morning the racers, their families and coaches gathered for the U14 Year End Awards. Gumins was sixth overall in the Far West Skiing North Series U14 Boys, while Parsons was eighth overall. The U14 FWS season standings consisting of the six qualifiers from Squaw Valley GS, Northstar SL, Squaw Valley SG.
Blackburn summed up the week saying, “It was a tough four days at the U14 FW Divisional Championships held here at Mammoth Mountain with the biggest storm of the season descending on the resort with over five feet of new snow in two days and inclement weather for most of the series along with inconsistent snow conditions making for difficult racing. We only were able to get one out of three events off! It was not by lack of trying. Mother Nature just didn’t cooperate this week.”
U10 Championships held at Northstar
The U10s headed to Northstar on Wednesday for their Far West U10 Championships. They had already been put on notice that there might be a weather related schedule change and in fact it was implemented on Thursday. Fortunately, their championships didn’t suffer the same fate as their older teammate’s event. The schedule was changed with Thursday out, but eventually the U10 were able to race in all four of their events.
Mammoth girls with top results were: Addison Koenig in fourth, Margaux Schlumberger taking 11th, and Aspen Wight in 14th for the slalom. On Sunday in the Big G Koenig was fourth and Carly Neal was 12th. Later that day, the racers competed in a Parallel GS with Schlumberger finishing in 14th and Koenig taking her third top ten result finishing in seventh.
Both Schlumberger and Koenig earned 2018 Far West Skiing North Series U10 Overall awards with Schlumberger taking third and Koenig 10th place.
On the boy’s side Fritz Griffith was fourth in the slalom. In the GS Griffith was disqualified in his first run. However, all the U10s are allowed to take their second run for practice. In that run Griffith showed his talent by taking first. Unfortunately, his overall finish still stood as a DQ. Griffith just missed the front page taking 16th in the Big G, but he came back to finish strong taking 12th in the Parallel.
The U10s have one more weekend of competition left on the schedule. They will have the third and final Junior Village Championship race on April 14 and the following day they will finish their competitive season with the Speed Trap.
WR U16 Champs at Alyeska, Alaska
Five Mammoth U16s Erica Lynch, Sasha Mueller, Benjamin Wynn, Aidan Le Francois, and Daniel Schneider competed at the Western Region U16 Championships March 22-25 at Alyeska, AK. Lynch brought in the top Mammoth result finishing the series taking 18th in the Super G.
US Alpine Championships
The U.S. Alpine Championships took place March 21-26 at Sun Valley, Idaho. The event was one of the many that fell victim to the weather, but on March 23 they were able to get off the Women’s super-G. Local Olympian Stacey Cook was one of the 48 women to start. In a very rare occurrence for a high level, super-G race, one third of the field failed to finish. One of the racers who did cross the finish line was Cook who ended up eighth. When questioned about the unusually high number of racers who didn’t finish the race, Cook said, “It was so steep…that the minimum turning radius was 35 meters, but in World Cup the average is usually 50 meters and one of the World Cup skiers had skis that wouldn’t even turn at all. The race was in fact referred to as one of the “turniest” super-Gs ever seen.
On the road with MMSST’s Pretti and Smith
Canadian Gabby Smith traveled to Red Mountain Resort located in Rossland, British Columbia, for the 2018 SportChek Canadian National Championships, March 21-25. Smith had five days of racing slalom and GS. On the first day that was said to be a, “Beautiful day for racing at Red Mountain!” Smith was 15th.
While Smith was racing in Canada, her MMSST teammate Winston Pretti was competing at the Snowbird Western Region Open. Pretti was 14th in the GS and then turned in a pair of sixth place results for the two slalom races.
Charger Big Mountain #2
Mammoth Chargers took part in their second Big Mountain contest of the season on March 18. The event was original scheduled for earlier in the season, but was postponed due to the lack of snow. A few days before the event the athletes were informed, “If the weather doesn’t clear by Saturday afternoon, avalanche control finished or open by Sunday morning early the event will have to be postponed again.” But that wasn’t the case this time.
On Sunday morning the athletes gathered with their coaches on Hemlocks to ski the venue. This gave them the opportunity to pick out their line and ask questions. It was a “long day of hiking and skiing,” but in the end the following athletes earned podium results. Girls 9-11: 1 Kira Beerel, 2 Fiona Flavin, 3 Cassie Mabry; Boys 9-11: 1 Thomas Lackey, 2 Hayden Higashi, 3 Michael Mabry; Girls 12-14:1 Collette Wilson, 2 Nikki Sentovich; Boys 12-14:1 Cian Smith, 2 Evan Low, 3 Taj Gray; Girls 15+: 1 Skyler Low, 2 Caity Rahmeyer; Boys 15+: 1 Exie DeFelice, 2 Carson Dorough, and 3 Silas Wilson.
Less than a week later some of those same skiers traveled to Sugar Bowl for the Tahoe Junior Freeride Series Champs. In the Men 12-14 bracket Kai Bir was ninth, Cain Smith took 22nd and Evan Low was 34th. In the Female 15-18 group Skyler Low was 13th and Caity Rahmeyer was 15th. In the Men’s 15-18 age group Noah Smith took 11th, Peter Bucklin 13th, Kieran Gilmore 26th, and Carson Dorough was 32nd. Later that weekend the season Overall Results were announced with Bir, Smith and Evan Low taking 15th, 47th, and 60th for the Men 12-14; Rahmeyer and Skyler Low placed 16th and 19th for the Female 15-18; and in the Men15-18 Smith, Bucklin, Dourough, Kieran Gilmore and Exie DeFelice were 27th, 38th, 41st, 46th, and 48th respectively.
There are still a few events on the Charger calendar including their year-end party Saturday, March 31 and the Speed Trap scheduled for April 15.
U14 West Region Championships, Jackson Hole (photos courtesy of Harry Blackburn)
U10 Championships (photos courtesy of Emily Vivian)
Mammoth results for resent competitions
U16 WR Championships, Alyeska, AK
U.S. Alpine Championships, Sun Valley, ID
2018 SportChek Canadian National Championships
Snowbird Western Region Open:
Stop 4 TJFS Sugar Bowl Champs https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1g7FFmZC6kLca6gxTl46VR51inY9fHInK