Mammoth Mountain, the home mountain of Ski Cross X Games Gold Medalist John Teller, adds to its renown of six decades of world class ski racing by introducing the nation’s premier Ski Cross junior program. Designed with the full support of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area operations, including the promise of exclusive training access on a NORAM level track throughout the 2012-13 winter season, the program is poised to be far superior to any other available in the United States. The 52-week program, which began Nov. 8, is currently accepting applicants 16 and over. Additionally, spring camps will also be offered in May and June, based on conditions.
Mammoth Mountain’s development of the track and program is leading the way for Ski Cross in the U.S., explains Pete Korfiatis, Mammoth Mountain Ski and Snowboard Team’s Performance Director: “We are so excited about this program and Mammoth Mountain’s support. Mammoth management looks at our team as an asset and is committed to providing the support we need to keep producing world-class athletes. No other program in the country compares on this level of mountain support and training access.”
With exclusive year-long training, conditioning programs and spring camps, Mammoth Ski Cross programs are designed to facilitate varied levels of skiers. The program is currently aimed at FIS age 16 and older. “These kids have had exposure to a lot of terrain, raced at a competitive level, and have already gone through the ranks of development programs where they’ve been able to establish good skiing,” says Ski Cross Coach James Tautkus, who comes to Mammoth from Park City, Utah. As a coach with Rowmark Academy, Park City Ski Team, Western Region Speed series and other US Ski Team camps, Coach Tautkus’ high-level exposure to alpine racing will be a major asset to the program, not to mention his enthusiasm for Ski Cross: “The sport itself is fantastic. I love the vibe of it, the competiveness, the tactics; I grew up as a ski racer, and this is a very exciting event to participate in.”
Regular season training on a Mammoth Mountain NORAM level track is unprecedented. “It’s going to be a hard charging track built by Mammoth’s world-class track designers, with air awareness training achieved through our Unbound Terrain Parks that are ranked in the top five in the country,” explains Korfiatis, who adds that the opportunity to train alongside World Cup athlete John Teller, as well as current team members Tyler Wallasch (U.S. Junior World Ski Cross Team) and Madeline Riffel (who is World Cup qualified), is invaluable. “If you’re going up against the best and hanging close, chances are you’re getting pretty good. To be able to have that access to that caliber is a huge benefit,” he says. Michael Gregory, Director of Unbound Terrain Parks, expressed his strong commitment to Ski Cross: “We’re excited to be at the leading edge in the development of the highest level program and bringing in a new generation of ski cross racers at Mammoth. Ski cross is a very exciting sport and we’re committed to the development of a superior program.”
The team’s travel schedule will focus on the NORAM schedule, with the opportunity to go to Europe based on results. Opportunities for younger athletes in a development context will be introduced within the Mammoth program. For those in school, the Winter Tutorial program through the Mammoth High School’s Independent Learning Center allows student athletes to enroll in an academy environment in Mammoth while training and competing with the Mammoth Mountain team without sacrificing academic progress.
(Photo courtesy MMSA)