NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson, surfer Ian Walsh, big mountain skier Chris Benchetler, pro snowboarder Eddie Wall and big wave surfer and stand up paddler Dave Kalama took on Huntington Beach, Auto Club Speedway and Mammoth Mountain to share their sports with each other on March 4.
The athletes took to the waves of Surf City USA before 7am for an early morning surf session. With the sun peeking out by 7:30 each athlete managed to catch a few of the 3-4 foot waves. Walsh and Kalama put on quite a show by handily catching the most waves in the session.
A quick drive to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana gave NASCAR champ and recent Daytona 500 winner, Jimmie Johnson, a chance to show the water and snow athletes what 200 mph on a d-shaped oval track felt like. After a few laps with Johnson, each athlete got the chance to drive their own car, courtesy of the Rusty Wallace Driving Experience.
A quick flight from Ontario airport delivered the crew to Mammoth Mountain, where fresh snow and blue skies awaited. Wall and Walsh took to the mountain on snowboards while the rest of the crew suited up with skis and were challenged to a lap on one of Mammoth’s world-famous race courses. Benchetler won the race by over a second, then showed the crew how it was done in the Unbound Terrain Park.
The day ended with a final top-to-bottom lap down Cornice Bowl and a memorable recap on the Main Lodge Sundeck.
In just under twelve hours, these athletes got a taste of some of the best that California has to offer. The ability to surf, ski, and drive NASCAR all in the same day is a difficult task, but in California, it’s all possible. –MMSA
(Photo: Peter Morning)