Ski races around the world are being postponed or cancelled on a daily basis due to the current warm and dry weather conditions, but, the Mammoth Race Department team didn’t let marginal snow conditions stop them from hosting the Mammoth Mountain Open Western Region FIS Series Dec. 19-22.
The race workers was able to pull off four days of racing for athletes representing the Far West, Northern, Intermountain, Rocky/Central and Eastern divisions.
When the racers headed home for the holidays, they took with them “gifts” results from two giant slalom and two slaloms.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Team members, including Nikita Norton, were able to capitalize on racing on their home turf. Norton, whose best FIS result in tech events was a fourth place in April 2012, ended up with a top ten result in every race.
She started out taking fourth and sixth in the GS events, then came back to win the first slalom and she finished up with a sixth place result in the final slalom.
Natalie Riffle narrowly missed having four top ten finishes.
On the first day, Riffel headed into the second run of the GS in third, but she wasn’t able to finish the run and had to settle for a DNF for the day. She put that behind her and came back to take 10th the next day and followed up with a pair of bronze medals for the two slaloms.
Lucas Underkoffler took fifth and ninth in the slaloms, and was in ninth place going into the second run of the GS, but a mistake midway through the second run cost him the finish.
He came back the next day to finish both runs and take seventh in the final GS.
Other local racers who took one or more top 15 results were: Casey Haveruk, Logan DeAngelis, Alex Colby and Tyler Wormhoudt.
While the FIS racers were taking advantage of the excellent racing conditions at Mammoth, members of the U16 team headed to Tahoe for two days of slalom racing at Heavenly, Dec. 21-22.
Their original schedule called for four days of racing, but the first two days of GS were cancelled at the last minute due to the lack of snow at Sugar Bowl.
Max Ziontz led the contingent on the scoreboard with a 12th-place finish overall (fourth for the U16s) the first day, while Cody Underkoffler followed up the next day placing 13th overall (10th for the U16s).
Joining Ziontz and Underkoffler with top 15 results for the U16 division were: Jimmy Wehsener, Whit Spain, Lachlan Anderson, Aidan Carrigan and Katherine Brown.
The annual Kittredge Cup on Dec. 28 had some changes in it, allowing all of the racers to make four runs.
Some racers literally swept their field, as was the case for U10 girls where Chaney Szeto beat her nearest challenger by 11.79.
The day also turned out to be a Szeto double podium win as Chaney’s older sister Siena took the gold for the U12 girls.
But it was the race between the U14 Boys that had the crowd biting their nails.
Charlie Regelbrugge, a first-year landed at the bottom of the course with a sub-30.0 time, but so did Erik Eisen and they were just .11 seconds apart.
Six U14 boys broke the sub 28.0 mark on the second run of the afternoon, but Regelbrugge’s morning time gave him the cushion that he needed to take the overall win by .16.
After a total of 400-plus runs, the following racers ended up on top for their divisions: U10 Girls, 1 Chaney Szeto; 2 Bryn Urdi; 3 Margerie McGlashan.
Among the U10 Boys, the winners were 1 Bjorn Karlen; 2 Quentin LeFrancois; 3 Parker Gumins; among the U12 Girls, 1 Siena Szeto; 2 Neave Anderson; 3 Tasman Mullins.
In the competition among the U12 Boys, 1 Lance Davenport; 2 Daniel Schneider; 3 Aidan LeFrancois. The U14 Girls finished 1 Sarah Ellis; 2 Mack Carkeet; 3 Eva Yguico.
The U14 Boys finish were 1 Charlie Regelbrugge; 2 Erik Eisen; 3 Cole Williams.
Perhaps the biggest winner was sponsor Tom Cage, who announced over 400 runs for the day. As the Szeto girls pointed out, “Tom is funny announcing” and “he can pronounce our last name.”