Mammoth skier John Teller only needed an inch or two to win a gold medal in Ski Cross at the X-Games Sunday in Aspen, but he had the speed and he had the inch.
Teller, who has two World Cup podium finishes, including a gold medal in St. Johann, Austria on January 7, narrowly edged out Chris Del Bosco, who led the majority of the race.
Ski Cross legend Casey Puckett, 38, took the bronze medal, despite not being on a ski cross course since the Olympics last February. Puckett is the executive director of the American Ski Cross Association (ASCA), and Teller is the organization’s highest profile athlete.
“It feels amazing, especially in front of a home crowd,” Teller said in a press release by the ASCA. “All our races have been in Europe for the World Cup, so to do it here is amazing.
“I’ve got a lot of family and friends here and it’s just incredible.”
The 27-year-old Mammoth Lakes resident took the podium at the World Cup in St. Johann, Austria on January 7, becoming the first American to win a World Cup.
It was a captivating race, with Del Bosco narrowly leading Teller, with Puckett trailing.
“I was still skiing well but I wasn’t fast enough to be able to catch those guys,” Puckett said.
“Really about halfway down I just started rooting for Teller to overtake Del Bosco. I was rooting for Teller and just waiting for an opportunity.
“If those guys messed up I was going to capitalize but it didn’t happen.”
In the quarterfinals and semifinals, Teller skied alongside Del Bosco and began to form a series of tactics.
“In the semifinals, I kind of came behind him and was looking for areas that I might be able to pass him, and I was able to make one stick in the finals,” Teller said.
Teller’s next stop is Deer Valley next weekend at the FIS World Freestyle Ski Championships.