Mammoth Hosts Jeep King of the Mountain

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Take a former freestyle skier from Framingham, Massachusetts, and ship him to Santa Cruz, California, where he learns to surf. Then return him east to Vermont. Such was the path of Jason Starr, who invented Starr Surf Skis. He has a patent pending for his new split-paddleboard skis that glide Nordic-style on flat water and carve on big waves. The skis are 10 feet long, 12 inches wide, and made from fiberglass and foam. Bindings range from a simple neoprene foot strap to an alpine-style setup with a DIN setting. They may not be in every local ski shop this fall, but they’ve gained some traction: The Salomon Freeski TV Team filmed with the skis off the coasts of California and Hawaii last October. “The first time I surfed on them, it felt like snowboarding,” says Starr. “All I could think about is that getting skiers into big waves would open up a whole new world of skiable terrain.” —Berne BroudyPhoto by Dan Brown.

Mammoth Mountain, CA, Dec. 6, 2001--The Jeep King of the Mountain Downhill Series, comes to Mammoth Mountain December 6-9. The 2001/2002 events feature an impressive lineup of talent in the skiing world including Olympic Gold Medallist Tommy Moe and two-time World Cup Champion Kyle Rasmussen of the United States, Rob Boyd and Brian Stemmle of Canada, Olympic Gold Medallist Jean Luc Crétier and David Pretot from France, Pietro Vitalini and Alberto Senigagliesi of Italy, and from Switzerland three time Olympian Daniel Mahrer and William Besse.

If you're looking for gold medallists, you'll have a better shot at finding them in the Jeep King of the Mountain Series than at the Olympics. It is there that the two most recent Olympic champions Jean Luc Crétier (1998) and Tommy Moe (1994) have chosen to bring their talents to bear. In large part, they've decided to race as pros because of the new excitement the Jeep King of the Mountain brings to the sport. Unlike in Olympic competition, racers of the Jeep King of the Mountain series must make two runs in each downhill event. This forces the athletes to maintain their level of competition for more than one run. In addition, the Jeep King of the Mountain series doubles the incentive, with competitors vying for both individual and team titles. Both runs are important for the team title, therefore eliminating the possibility that a poor first run could make the second run unimportant.

The result is racing of the highest intensity. "The level of competition has increased the past few years", says Switzerland's Daniel Mahrer. "We're fighting for every hundredth of a second."

Being the first stop of the series, the racers are anxious to get their racing legs back on; furthermore, there is added pressure at Mammoth because its course traditionally yields the fastest times in professional downhill racing. California favorite Kyle Rasmussen will be fiercely defending his 2000/2001 individual title and will attempt to capture the team title as well with the help of his partner Tommy Moe. The race is open to the public and a spectator area will be available for viewing the finish line complete with a big screen to catch all of the action along the course. All of the athletes will be on hand to meet fans and give autographs. A sponsor village will be set up with raffles and giveaways for race-goers. All of the action will be taking place at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area December 6-9.

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