By Susan Morning
Five Mammoth Mountain Junior Snowboard Team athletes earned automatic spots for this winter’s Dew Tour: Danika Duffy qualified for Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle; Brandon Davis for Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle; Abigale Hansen for Women’s Freeski Halfpipe; and Maddie Mastro, Chloe Kim and Kelly Berger qualified for the Womens’s Snowboard Halfpipe. Berger explained that the Dew Tour “is the most fun and exciting contest I’ve ever been to so being invited this year is beyond exciting! I’m also really stoked to watch the whole Olympic selection process start to take place.”
The first Dew Tour competition for the Mammoth group, the iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colo., started Wednesday, Dec. 11 with Mastro, Berger and Kim joining 22 other riders to take two runs down the pipe in the Womens’s Snowboard Halfpipe Qualifier. After the first run it was the 13-year-old Kim topping the scoreboard. Then, on her second run she upped the ante and bettered her score. “I just took it easy on my first run, well, not really easy, but I just wanted to land it,” said Kim. “Then, on my second run I just went for it, “ but so did Kelly Clark a Mammoth Mountain Team rider. Clark’s run moved her into first over Kim. Berger placed 18th and Mastro was 19th. Also competing Wednesday were Duffy and Hansen. Duffy placed 16th in the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle Qualifier and Hansen ended up 18th in the Women’s Freeski Halfpipe Qualifier. Davis will compete in the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Qualifier on Friday. Clark and Kim move on to the finals Saturday, Dec. 14.
FIS racers perform sensationally
Members of the Mammoth Mountain U18-21 Ski Team started their season on Dec. 7 at Alpine Meadows with the FIS Classification Slalom. Although the races were held in a freezing blizzard, the team’s performance was far from chilly. According to MMST coach Peter Korfiatis, “the first year FIS racers showed a tremendous amount of effort especially with the weather conditions, and their results showed it. Collectively the U18s showed the best performance of their life.” He then added, “There was a lot of confidence building.”
Korfiatis pointed out that Natalie Riffel, AKA “Bubby” came through with “the best podium finish for the U18 division.” He noted that Riffel who is only 17 years old “battled it out” all weekend against very strong and talented 23-24 year old Europeans to take fifth and six place respectively. In fact on Saturday, Riffel was not only the top U18, she was the one and only American in the top seven finishers. Korfiatis was quick to add that on the men’s side, “Lucas Underkoffler captured the top results for the Mammoth team taking fourth both days for the U18 age bracket.” He ended by saying “Things could not have gone any better.”
Other MMST athletes who raced at Alpine were: Erin Maidman, Alexa Wehsener, Kayleigh MacGregor, Chelsea Foulke, Hannah Everson, Alex Colby, Casey Haveruk, Logan DeAngelis, Alex Kochis, Austin Gumins and Justin Wallasch. The U18-21 racing action continues Dec. 14-15 with the WR Classification FIS Giant Slaloms at Mammoth Mountain.