By Sue Morning
Last week the Mammoth Mountain Ski Team calendar looked like a game of tic-tac-toe as Mother Nature continued to play havoc with the team’s plans.
In January the Korfiatis Kup, a FIS super G, was postponed due to the lack of snow and rescheduled for Feb. 6-7. But this meant that two FIS races were now linked with two USSA Open GS races. As a result, the Korfiatis Cup was changed from a FIS to a USSA Open race and paired with Brownlie’s Bullet for a four-day race series Feb. 6-9, opening it up to all U16 and older racers.
This wasn’t the last of the calendar changes, as the urban legend, “if you put a speed race on the calendar, it will snow” that has plagued the Mammoth Mountain Race Department for years again held true.
Pete Korfiatis, Head MMST FIS coach, described the scenario. “Though the MMRD was ready to race, Mother Nature had different ideas,” he said. “She came in with fury, and knowing how badly the mountain needed the snowfall, no one was upset. I’m very proud of our race crew, volunteers, swing and graveyard cat crew; they battled the weather with a smile on their faces and never doubted we would pull it off.”
Even with all of the MMRD hard work, the race had to be delayed four more days. Fortunately, all of the athletes were able to get in a super G on Thursday, but the race on Friday had to be halted due to the weather.
Brownlie’s Bullet, which was hit with the continuing storm on Saturday and Sunday, was reduced to a single day of very challenging racing.
In regards to how his athletes did, Korfiatis said, “All of them stayed focused and were in the game. The standout athletes in my eyes were Alex Colby, who took second for the U18 Men and Kayleigh MacGregor. We’ve been waiting for her to pop and she finally did placing second overall on the second day. Mammoth U18s went two, three in the ladies event with Nikki Norton grabbing the third step.”
Additionally, the U16s showed their strength against their peers, doing a great job for their first SG of the season in tough conditions, with Kevin Wolfe third in the SG; Elisabeth Heit, third and fourth in the SGs; and Cody Underkoffler second in the SG and fourth in the GS.
The U16s were again forced to cross another event off of their calendars when they received the following message, “Thank you for your patience U16 SG Feb 21-23 POSTPONED…” The U14s, who lost their GS races at Squaw Valley last weekend when a strong storm moved in on Friday, are now planning to join the U10s and U12s at the second Junior Village Championship race, “The Kittredge Tune-Up” Sunday, Feb. 16. A contingent of U18s will head to Jackson Hole for the U18 Nationals Slalom and Giant Slalom Qualifier, Feb. 15-18.
Final CNISSF Slalom Race Held Out of Necessity
The same storm that challenged the U16-21 races made it nearly impossible to complete the final two Inyo/Mono high school races on Feb. 7. The high school coaches, who were determined to get both races off as they were State Championship Qualifiers, made an on the spot decision to reduce the second race to a one run slalom. When the storm moved in and forced a lift closure before all of the athletes could get to the start, a call to the race department got a snowmobile to the site and the racers were hauled quickly up to the top of the course and the race was on.
In both races Mammoth High School skiers Sierra Gilfoy and Kyra McKee split the wins for the Girl’s Ski race and Lynn Regelbrugge captured a pair of second place results in the same events. Nathan Everson took the win in the second Boy’s Ski race, while teammate Ryan Foulke was the second place finisher twice. Tyler Searles won the first Boy’s Snowboard races and Fleur Connolly and Candice Berger each took a win for the Girl’s Snowboard division. Mammoth Husky skiers and snowboarders will now spend the next three weeks training before heading to the CNISSF State Championships to be held at Northstar, Mar. 3-6.