By Amy Gard
Published: January 26, 2011
The fledgling American Ski Cross Association is sending John Teller, Pat Duran, and Biche Rudigoz to participate in the Winter X Games’ skiercross event in Aspen, Colo. This will be the first X Games birth for Duran, while both Teller and Rudigoz competed in last year's event. Two former Olympians and current board members of the organization, Casey Puckett and Daron Rahlves, will also be competing.
The team will be heading to the event off a spectacular World Cup win by Teller on Jan. 7 in St. Johann, Austria. "I definitely have pretty high confidence," says Teller. "I know I can ski with all the guys that will be there." Teller finished sixth at last year's Winter X Games.
|In the X Games mix: The American Ski Cross Association’s Biche Rudigoz , John Teller and Pat Duran, pictured,
along with Daron Rahlves and Casey Puckett. Photo: American Ski Cross Association
Puckett, a former X Games gold medalist in (2004 and ’07), is the director of the ASCA. Puckett, among others, helped form the non-profit organization this past summer, hoping it would be able to provide funding for ski cross athletes to participate in events such as the upcoming X Games.
Rahlves, 2008 X Games gold medalist, also participated in the development of the organization. Board member Michael Jaquet is pleased with how the season has been shaping up. "To say we are ahead of whatever realistic goals we set for ourselves this offseason with results is an understatement, and the fact that we are sending three World Cup-tested athletes to compete at what is regarded as the biggest race of the year also shows great progress and commitment by the ASCA," says Jaquet. "While our association has short and long-term goals, winning at X would give us a great lift in raising awareness and, ultimately, funding for our efforts."
This will be the fifteenth annual Winter X Games and the tenth consecutive games to be held at Buttermilk in Aspen. Over 250 ski, snowboard, and snowmobile athletes from around the world will be participating in the events. Admission to all X Games events at Buttermilk is free and open to the public.
The ski cross athletes will be competing Friday and Sunday.
Rudigoz shared that the X Games will have a bit of a different feel for the athletes than the skiing they've been doing overseas. "Americans are suited more towards big air, where the Europeans are more focused on the technical aspect,” he says.
Teller, Duran and Rudigoz have all been funded this season on the FIS Ski Cross World Cup by the ASCA.