Trent Wallentine won his age division at the USASA nationals at Copper Mountain April 3-10
Mammoth ski and snowboard teams shine following fundraiser
Driving a van full of teenagers to Colorado is no easy task, especially when you throw in sandstorms, snowstorms and too much Miley Cyrus. Nonetheless, Mammoth Head Snowboard Coach Ben Wisner and Head Freeride Coach Benny Ryerson report that Mammoth Mountain was once again well represented this year as MMSA’s athletes successfully completed a seven day trip to Copper Mountain for the 2010 USASA Nationals April 3-10.
Over 1,500 competitors competed in the invite-only series that consists of half-pipe, slopestyle, slalom, giant slalom and skier/boarder-cross. It’s a long road to Nationals; in order to qualify each competitor needs to complete the season with a first place ranking within their region for their respective discipline.
The snowboard team finished the week with 17 top ten finishes, with Trent Wallentine leading the pack with a first place in Overall Title for the 7-and-under category. Wallentine placed first in giant slalom and boarder-cross, second in slalom, third in slopestyle and seventh in half-pipe. “ He’s a great kid, very modest,” said Wisner. “He’s kind of shy so he actually didn’t want to go up and get his medals on the podium.”
The Freeride ski team rounded out the week with 21 top ten finishes. Abigail Hansen placed first in half pipe, third in slopestyle and first in skier cross which resulted her getting a first place Overall Title for 10-12-year old division. Hansen isn’t new to Nationals. Last year she podiumed with three first place finishes.
The trip wasn’t all business. Both teams spent a day riding a foot of fresh powder at Copper as well as a full day at the renowned Woodward at Copper Mountain facility. “Woodward is great,” claimed Ryerson, “the fact that the kids have access to trampolines and foam pits equal a lot of progression. The facilities they have at Woodward are something Mammoth desperately needs.”
With that in mind, MMSA recently concluded the third annual Mammoth Invitational, an event to expand Mammoth’s commitment to youth sports development with the idea of ultimately constructing a new state of the art training facility. The Mammoth Center for Excellence, as it’s called, will consist of lockers, a video room, a strength training room, vert ramps and head offices for the ski and snowboard teams. Director and Head Coach for the MMSA ski team as well as Vice President of the Mammoth Community Foundation, Mark Brownlie, told the Sheet, “We’re on track, it’s been a great fundraiser that’s gaining a lot of momentum.”
This year the Mammoth Invitational raised a healthy $333,000. According to a press release from Daniel Hansen, MMSA’s Public Relations Manager, “The three-day event included ski racing of multiple disciplines, on-mountain activities, banquets, a silent and live auction, an awards ceremony and more … Taking home the top honors for the event was Team Andorra consisting of Ray Gallagher, Bud Cole, George Diltz, Garret Noonan and U.S. Ski Team Athlete Alice McKennis.
The 2010 Mammoth Invitational brought an elite level of athletes to Mammoth Mountain including former Olympians Stacey Cook, Daron Rahlves, Steven Nyman, Keely Kelleher, Erik Fisher, Errol Kerr, Kaylin Richardson, Alice McKennis, Leanne Smith, Trevor White and Greg Bretz. Also present were U.S. Ski Team Athlete Travis Ganong, freeskier Chris Benchetler and many others.
During the live auction, MMSA CEO Rusty Gregory reportedly stood atop a Hyde Lounge table and asked two other bidders to match his $3,000 bid for Chris Benchelter, resulting in a $9,000 three way bid for a day with the accomplished local skier.
This enthusiasm for the Invitational is testimony to MMSA’s commitment to youth sports. “We have arguably the best terrain parks and snow conditions in the world,” said Wisner. “We just need to improve the facilities.”