A kiss for the champ, John Teller.

A kiss for the champ, John Teller.

From the American Ski Cross Association—St. Johann, Austria — (Jan. 7) — American Ski Cross athlete John Teller of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., won the first Ski Cross World Cup of 2011 and the first World Cup Ski Cross ever for an American. Teller, who was third in the second World Cup of the season in December, won every heat on his way to victory under the lights in St. Johann, Austria. “I can’t believe it,” said Teller, “I owned every heat.”

On the most technical course of the World Cup season getting the holeshot was at a premium. “The Swiss guy (Alex Fiva) kept giving me the outside lane. He should have taken the lane from me but he didn’t… I got the holeshot every time except the final and even then I was able to make a pass on the final stretch,” said Teller.

Nick Zoricic from Canada, who placed second, was passed by Teller after winning the holeshot. “He swung a little low in the final turn. I was on his tails all the way down and when he went low I stayed high and passed him at the very end. It was awesome!” said Teller.

“I had a feeling he would do well after qualifying fifth but I had no idea he was going to win the whole thing,” said Casey Puckett, executive director of the American Ski Cross Association. “I knew going into this year Teller was ready to step it up but I never would have guessed he would be at the top of the World Cup rank list in the beginning of January.”

“This shows that we are real contenders on the World Cup,” said Puckett. “These guys are hungry and they are doing an amazing job.” Teller, along with Pat Duran and Biche Rudigoz, are three athletes funded by the American Ski Cross Association. They will be competing in the World Cup, the World Championships in Deer Valley, UT and the upcoming Winter X Games, held in Aspen, CO.

About the A.S.C.A.—Formed in 2010, the A.S.C.A.’s primary goals are to raise money to support American Ski Cross skiers on the World Cup and to eventually help them reach the Olympics and beyond. A 501 (C) (3) non-profit, the A.S.C.A. has a board of directors that includes two former Olympian Ski Cross Athletes in Casey Puckett and Daron Rahlves, both of whom competed on the alpine World Cup and in the Olympics as well for the U.S. Ski Team. Ski Cross, similar to Nordic Combined and Ski Jumping, is not a sanctioned or funded sport within the U.S. Ski Team so the A.S.C.A has stepped up to take over that role. To learn more about the A.S.C.A. and its fundraising efforts and to follow the U.S. Ski Cross Team year-round, go to their website, www.americanskicross.org.