TELLURIDE – Telluride has gained a reputation as a great destination for world-class skiing, and following recent performances from local athletes, there is no doubting that the town is also known for breeding some world-class skiers.
Last week, Telluride-raised mogul skiers smoked their competition on the regional, national, and international levels, proving that this ski town has more than just awe-inspiring terrain to brag about.
Telluride Ski and Snowboard-trained mogulist Joe Discoe, from Ridgway, a member of the U.S. Ski Team for the past five years, earned his first career podium at the World Cup level at last week’s World Cup contest at the Listel Ski Fantasia resort in Inawashiro, Japan. His third-place victory in the Dual Moguls event followed a thrilling series of runs, in which he adeptly knocked out all but two other challengers in this high-stakes competition.
Discoe had just come from from Russia, where he competed on the Sochi Olympic mogul course. The experience, he says, led to a sharper focus – and in turn, more aggressive skiing during his trip to Japan.
Singles day dawned unlucky for Discoe, since the grip came off his pole mid-run and caused a distraction. The duals competition, however, gave Discoe every opportunity to shine. After qualifying in sixth place thanks to a clean, solid first run, Discoe faced off against a Norwegian skier in his first dual. “I skied faster than I ever have that day,” he said, describing the course as one of the “gnarlier” courses on the World Cup circuit, due to its steepness. “I skied the top section solid and fairly slow, but after the first jump I let it go from there and flew past most people in the middle section,” he said of his first and subsequent duals runs, all of which he won except one, throwing in D-spin and backflip mute-grab tricks along the way.
Discoe’s bronze medal-winning performance marked the first time a Telluride skier has landed a World Cup win since the days of Caleb Martin, TSSC’s current head coach and freestyle director, who competed on the World Cup circuit more than a decade ago.
“Hopefully I can carry the same momentum into future events – which I plan on doing,” Discoe says of the road ahead, which includes trips to Sweden and Spain for competitions. “It is good to know that I can be up there on the podium, that I can ski to that level… knowing I already have one podium is going to make me push harder to try and win next time,” he said.
Meanwhile, TSSC freestyle skier Keaton McCargo has been making waves on tour with the NorAm circuit, one level below the World Cup, blasting her way onto not one but two podiums with back-to-back wins at the Val St. Come single and dual moguls competitions last week in Canada.
“I kept a positive attitude, skied with confidence and just went for it,” McCargo said this week from Vermont, where she is training for the final NorAm of the season to be held this weekend at Stratton Mountain. Her gold medal-winning performances in both mogul events last weekend followed her third-place finish earlier this month at the Telluride-hosted NorAm dual moguls event.
McCargo’s recent series of high-ranking results on the NorAm tour bodes well for this TSSC skier, who stands a chance of winning a start at the freestyle World Championships this spring. She says she’ll keep her same plan of attack – skiing aggressively and with confidence – at this weekend’s NorAm event in Vermont; and, with luck, keep her winning streak going.
Meanwhile, closer to home, some of Telluride’s up-and-coming young skiers let their presence be known at the State Championships, held in Steamboat Springs for the top 35 girls and top 50 boys ages 13-18 in the state.
Morgan Osborne posted the best Telluride finish in the single moguls event, taking fifth place overall and second place in his age group. Following him were Benni Solomon (12th) Clement Cabrol (14th) Bridger Johnson (25th) and Tyler Jansen (46th).
For the girls, it was Emma Spaulding who found the podium in second place in her age group, taking 13th overall. Close behind was Brianna Brown in 15th, with Kenzie Zaumseil in 20th, Skylar Nunn in 25th and Ava Jodlowski in 30th.
On Dual Moguls day, Skylar Nunn finished eighth for the girls while Morgan Osborne took ninth for the boys, marking Telluride’s top finishes in this high-thrills, head-to-head race.
"It was an exciting weekend for TSSC Freestyle as athletes found success at the World Cup, NorAm, and State level. I think Telluride locals take a lot of pride in their mountain and skiing, and it's awesome to see the athletes representing our town around the globe in such strong fashion," TSSC freestyle Director and Head Coach Caleb Martin said of the team’s recent successes.
On the horizon for the team’s younger skiers is the upcoming Junior Nationals event, March 5-10, at Park City Mountain Resort. The country’s top-ranked 60 men and women 18 and under are invited, and they include local skiers Keaton McCargo, Kealey Zaumseil, Morgan Osborne, Benni Solomon, Thomas Rowley, Clement Cabrol, and Skylar Nunn. Emma Spaulding and Bridger Johnson are alternates.