PALMER — Leif Mumma has been busy since graduating from Palmer High School after the fall semester. Mumma has been competing in junior freeskiing competitions around the world and picking up podiums along the way. Mumma won the Jim Jack’s Cowboy Up Junior Freeride Challenge at Stevens Pass, Washington, on Feb. 3. Mumma also earned a podium with a third-place finish at the Junior Freeride event in Kicking Horse, British Columbia. Mumma was the recipient of the Jim Jack’s Spirit Award as well as taking home the top spot.
“They give out that award to whoever they thought represented freeride skiing the best,” Mumma said of the sport, which is a specific style of downhill skiing that rewards creativity.
Jim Jack died in an avalanche in 2012 at the age of 46. Jack was the head judge for the Freeride World Tour and influential among the freeskiing community. Mumma’s style is high risk, high reward, and he was rewarded for his style and spirit at Stevens Pass.
“I just tried to ski really, really smooth and the snow was really fun. The venue is not super long, not a ton of features. I tried to ski as fast as I could and get as much big airs as I could,” Mumma said. “I ended up pretty good, winning by three points.”
Mumma took a slim lead of 1.63 points into the final run and smashed the send button when he turned in the highest scoring run of the competition, beating out 20 other competitors with a combined score of 63.2667.
Mumma took a straight line from the top over a spine and flew 20 feet through the air off of the end. Mumma sped down a side cliff and aired again in his final run. Mumma got a chance to compete on his home turf in January. Mumma led the field at the Alyeska Freeride Classic after the first run on the South Face on Jan. 26. Mumma ended up in fourth place, but enjoyed spending time competing against his teammates from the Alyeska Freeride team.
“I’m having a lot of fun right now. My first two comps didn’t go super great, I had a little bobble at Snowbird and ended up 18th,” Mumma said. “Hopefully next few weeks I can just keep ripping it up.”
Mumma currently holds third place in the season rankings for male skiers under 18, sitting 83 points behind second place and 616 points behind the first-place skier. Mumma plans to compete at a national competition at Grand Targhee in Alta, Wyoming, in early March and finish out the season with two competitions in Canada, including the American Championships back at Kicking Horse in April.
Contact Frontiersman reporter Tim Rockey at firstname.lastname@example.org.