STRIKING GOLD WITH SKIER X
Interview by Patrick Bernard
Half of a ski. That is all that separated first and second in the Men’s Skier X final. That half-of-ski belonged to California’s John Teller, who knocked off defending champion Chris Del Bosco to capture the gold at the rescent X Games held Jan 27-30 in Aspen Colorado. He used a daring maneuver to pass defending Skier X champion Chris Del Bosco and win a surprise gold medal by half a ski length. In doing so, Teller made sure one of the Winter X Games’ strangest streaks lived a 14th year: no man has ever repeated as Skier X champion. A fusion of motocross and downhill racing, Skier X represents one of the most demanding competitions in ski racing today with skiers racing over tabletop jumps, banked turns, rollers and gaps.- In the 2010 Winter Olympics, Skiercross was the only new sport to be added.
It’s been a very good year so far, for the part-time car mechanic from Mammoth Mountain. In Early January John Teller became the first American to win a World Cup ski cross race. Late January saw him strike Gold at the X Games. Revolt In Style caught up with the current # 1 Ranked US Skiercross racer:
RIS: So, Where were you born and where do you live now?
JT: I was born and raised in Mammoth Lakes, Ca. and still live there, it is the best mountain on the planet!
RIS: As far as I know Skiercross aka Skier X is a relatively new sport most recently debuting at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. What got you into it and how long have you been racing professionally?
JT: I raced the traditional alpine ski racing for most of my life. I stopped racing for 2 years and then was talked into trying ski cross out by a couple of friends I fell in love instantly. My second race ever I won $1,000. That was a nice bonus for skiing on a weekend. I was asked to come and ski with the first U.S. Skier cross team the next year, that was the 07, 08 season. I was invited to ski with them shortly after on the world cup circuit. I have been competing internationally ever since
RIS: What are some long term goals and what events do you plan on competing in for the 2010-2011 season?
JT: I would like to be ranked in the top 10 internationally or better by the end of this year, and I am planning on making the 2014 Olympics in Russia. I would love to make the podium in the X games this winter. I was invited to X games after making the finals last year. I should be racing the entire World cup year and have been invited to the Red Bull Hutten Ralley in St. Anton Austria. World championships are in Deer Valley, Utah this year and that will be the only World cup event in the U.S
RIS: So Its got to get a little crazy racing down the hill, any fights or anything wild ever happen during the race or when its over?
JT: All of the skiers are pretty good about leaving everything on the hill but things can get heated some times. The racing is nasty enough everyone is pretty happy when you make it down without any casualties!
RIS: What race offers the biggest prize money and where is it?
JT: X-Games is the biggest pay day. 25,000 dollars was what first place took last year.
RIS: You are currently the #1 ranked US Skier X racer and were very close to making the 2010 Olympic team, who are the other top Americans and internationals that you compete with?
JT: Biche Rudigoz and Pat Durran are the other athletes on the U.S. Team. There are so many other competitors on the circuit and they all can be a threat and can do well at any time. It is definitely a hostel environment.
RIS: John Can you tell us a little about the World Cup win, and you’re current World Ranking?
JT: The win in Austria was amazing. It meant a lot to me because no other American has ever won. It was a night race and there was 7000 people there watching. I had that track dialed. There was another world cup at the same time as X Games so currently I am ranked 9th right now.
RIS: The X Games were insane. Its was a demanding course, the Quarters and Semis were tough and you beat two great racers Chris Del Bosco and Casey Pucket to win the gold, How did you get it done?
JT: X was awesome. I had a rough time in the first race and was in 4th at one point and had to pass to make it through. I had made a mistake so I was pissed for the rest of the races. The semi, I tried to sit back and watch Del for some passing opportunities. I had a good idea what I needed to do and the plan came together in the final. I also just placed 5th at the world champs in Deer Valley as well, so that was a good accomplishment.
ABOVE IMAGE: From left, Chris Del Bosco, Casey Puckett, and John Teller fly over the last jump in the Men’s Skier X finals at Winter X Games 15. Teller ended up winning by inches. Photo by Gabriel Christus/ESPN Images
Questions, Comments or Ideas email Patrick@revoltsd.com