By Amy Gard
Grindelwald, Switzerland — Two American Ski Cross Association (ASCA) athletes continued to have success on the World Cup this season, advancing to the finals at the latest ski cross World Cup held Thursday in Grindelwald, Switzerland. John Teller made it to the final heat and finished fourth, while Pat Duran, who had qualified a career-high ninth, finished nineteenth. Austria's Andreas Matt took gold, followed by Finland's Jouni Pellinen and Canada's Chris Del Bosco.
Teller became the first American to win a World Cup race earlier this season and still remains ranked fifth in the World Cup Overall Standings. He also took home this year's Winter X Games ski cross gold medal, edging out Del Bosco in a dramatic finish. The 27-year-old Mammoth Lakes resident is eager to see how the remainder of the season pans out for him and his competition.
"In the final I had the top three guys at World Championships so it was definitely tough competition," said Teller. "I'm trying to do as well as I can in these next three races to finish up being ranked in the top three. Andreas Matt was the World Champion last year and is the current World Cup leader, so trying to stick with (Matt and Del Bosco) and trying to beat them is going to be the key to me getting into the top three." Del Bosco and Pellinen are currently ranked second and third in the World Cup standings, respectively.
Casey Puckett, Executive Director of the ASCA, is happy to see such positive results from the team. "I'm psyched Pat stepped it up a little bit this race, and it's great to see Teller showing from race to race he's a definite favorite for a medal," said Puckett. "Those boys are getting some good experience at the top level."
Duran, who currently lives in Aspen, Colorado, placed ninth in the qualifying round, making it his most successful run since the beginning of the season.
About the American Ski Cross Association—Formed in 2010, the ASCA 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 ASCA 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 as 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, spurring the development of ASCA in order to take over that role. To learn more about the ASCA and its fundraising efforts and to follow the U.S.A. Ski Cross athletes year-round, go to their website, www.americanskicross.org.