2014 Mighty Mite World Championships
The 2014 Mighty Might World Championships took place on March 22, with all of the pomp and circumstances of a true international event. The day started out with a photo session for each of the seven countries being represented, followed by Woolly leading the Parade of Nations down Broadway. Then the pint-sized racers decked out in full race gear headed off to Fascination for an inspection run with their coaches. The excitement and enthusiasm of the crowd could be felt from the top of the course to the finish. Parents shouted, cowbells rang and the race was on. As the first racer came down the course, you quickly forgot that the racers aren’t very big, aren’t very old and haven’t been racing for very long compared to many of their older courter parts. After the athletes completed their two runs they joined their family and friends in the Mountainside Conference Center to hear which team prevailed. As the event announcer Tom Cage, entered the room the excitement increased and shortly thereafter the top three teams were called to the podium. Third place went to Team Scotland and second place was taken by Team Germany. Cooper Hindshaw, Kate Gray, Sierra Wight, Skye Peterson, Bryce Brenkus, Katherine Truax, Ashlynn Parsons, Sebastian Tontti, Casey Norman, and Luca Lynch who made up Team Norway won the 2014 Mighty Mite Championship. Hindshaw also was the fastest racer of the day, with Dylan Jeffries (Team Scotland) and Grant Schneider (Team Switzerland) in third. The Mighty Mites will wrap up their season next weekend.
Junior Village Championships
The third and final Junior Village Championship race was held, Sunday, March 23. The race, sponsored by Roberto’s Cafe, brought together 11 teams of U10, U12 and U14 age racers all hoping to earn the prized championship cup for their local sponsor. The dual race always a favorite with both racers and fans was made even more exciting with the colorful commentary delivered by Kittredge Sports owner Tom Cage. Cage had an additional interest in the race, as he is also the sponsor of the Kittredge Kruisers Team, who came into the final race in sixth place. Sitting in first place were the GC Firewood Burners with 40 points, John’s Pizza Works had 37 points for second place and the Designs Unlimited team was in third place with 32 points. But as Cage noted over the past 22 years he had seen teams that were down the ladder move up in the final race to take the win, as he put it, “Anything can happen.” The U14 racers did their runs first and Barrett Calvin racing for the Burners set the pace with his lightning fast time of 19.77. He was closely followed by Cole Williams (Jersey Mike’s) in second and Erik Eisen (Kittredge Kruisers) and James Gooch (Footloose Flyers) who tied for third. However it was a “best of two runs” format and the four athletes returned to make their second runs all with the desire to take the fastest time of the day. All but Williams bettered their times, while Sheldon French (John’s Pizza) joined the “19 second club” with his second run time of 19.78. In the end Calvin remained in first, Eisen moved in to second and Gooch held on to third place for the U14 men. On the women’s side, it was Eva Yguico (Beachmint Bombers) who produced the fastest time for the women in the first run, only to come back and better her time in the second run to hold on to first place overall. She was followed by Mack Carkeet in second and Kendall Lach in third.
All too soon the racing action had ended and it was time to see who would take home the coveted trophy. The winning times were announced for each division, and then the giant Mimi’s Cookie trophy for first place in the Roberto’s race was presented to the Kittredge Kruisers. In addition to winning the race the Kruisers gained 25 points toward the overall point total. However, it wasn’t quite enough to put the team into first place. That title went to John’s Pizza Works who had a total of 52 points compared to the Kruisers 50 points. The Beachmint Bombers who won the title in 2013 graciously returned the trophy to the 2012 winners, John’s Pizza Works.
MMST Coach Munsey Joins Zila and Dugan on Podium at Banzai Tour
The Rahlves’ Banzai Tour is racing in its purest form. Big mountain freeride meets ski/boarder-cross action. Over the winter the tour took place at four Lake Tahoe, CA resorts in head to head action four at a time, top to bottom, down a wide-open course over natural terrain and snow conditions. The final event in this ultimate test of ski and riding skills was held March 15-16 at Sugar Bowl with three Mammoth athletes finding their way to the podium.
Now in its fourth season, the RBT has more momentum than ever. Top skiers and snowboarders from North America lined up against Lake Tahoe area athletes laying it on the line to defend home turf and a $15,000 purse at each event. Solo timed qualifying runs on Saturday ranked the top 32 men ski/board and the top 16 women ski/board into brackets for Sunday’s finals. The finals matched up four competitors at a time with the top two in each round advancing until the remaining four battled it out for the Rahlves’ Banzai win. One of those four for the women was Mammoth Ski Team Coach Kara Munsey, who landed on the podium in third place. Former MMST racer Cory Zila took the same position for the male skiers and Mariah Dugan was second in the Women’s Snowboard division.
Daron Rahlves, Banzai Master, World Champion, USA Olympic ski racer, Winter X-Games Skier-X Champ and pro big mountain skier is the event organizer and responsible for its growth and success with the help of host resorts, event partnerships and competitors. He is involved in the operation of the RBT, assisting competitors and mingling with the fans. At each event he took a qualifying timed run, but didn’t compete head to head until the “Super Final” at his home resort, Sugar Bowl. Munsey reported that,” Zila also qualified to compete in the super final, where the top four male skiers from the tour competed against Rahlves with a chance to beat him and win $5,000. Rahlves, however, proved he is still the Banzai master and soundly crossed the finish line first.” After the event Munsey described her experience saying, “The Silver Belt Banzai course was a wild ride with big bumps, mandatory airs, high speeds, and a lot of action.”
USSA U16 Junior Championships at Jackson Hole
Nine Mammoth Ski Team athletes (Katherine Brown, Elisabeth Heit, Cody Underkoffler, Kevin Wolfe, Grayson Dozier, Ryan Foulke and Perry Moyer) were part of the West Team that took part in the USSA U16 Championships at Jackson Hole, WY, March 20-23. The completion was tough, but the Mammoth athletes had some break through moments including Ryan Foulke’s 58th place result in the super G after starting second to last out of 90 racers. In the second super G, a non-championship race, Brown moved up from 70th to 42nd place. However, Underkoffler saved the best for last race with his fifth place finish in the slalom. The U16s will spend the next week training for the Far West Tech Finals, scheduled for April 3-6, at Alpine Meadows.
All photos by Sue Morning.