Tele boy Bennett goes big [photo:Seth Andersen/David Clifford Photography]
The inaugural Winter Teva Mountain Games wrapped up Sunday in Vail, drawing a mix of amateur and top adventure athletes in comps like mixed climbing, ski mountaineering, and snow biking. The event also proved to be a major kid magnet: On the roster, 18 kids under age 14, including 10-year-old Vail local Andrew Rogers, who entered the Vail Uphill race, a 2,200-vertical-foot slog to the top of the mountain.
[photo: Zach Mahone]
Top of our list of emerging badasses to watch: 13-year-old telemark skier Bennett Drummond, who threw down some huge freestyle tricks in the Telemark Big Air comp on Saturday night. Big-air tele skiing is coming in hot on the heels of freestyle skiing and snowboarding, and the Teva Games was its first major coming-out party. But despite his young age, Drummond, who started skiing when he was 19 months old, isn’t exactly a newbie to the sport. He's been freeheeling for the past four years and last winter, his first season on the competitive circuit, he won the junior in the Mountain Hardwear Big Mountain Telemark Competition Series, hitting 43 mph down a 200-foot chute on one of his runs.
On Saturday evening at the base of Vail Mountain, Drummond—one of 8 top tele freestylers invited to participate in the "dueling trick session"—ratcheted up the awe factor once again, hucking a 70-foot gap and launching over a raging fireball produced by a gigantic blow torch on a course shared by freestyle snow bikers. Vail local Christopher Ewart, 23, won the event and nabbed $2,500 in prize money, while Drummond scored $100 in cash from the Games' “Random Acts of Radness” purse for being the youngest competitor to go big. Keep your eye on this kid—and the sport.
Teva big-air champ Christopher Ewart [photo: David Cliford]