Perhaps the most surprising thing about Jake Teuton’s emergence as one of the best skiers in Revelstoke is the fact he started off as a snowboarder. Until he moved to Revelstoke six years ago, Teuton rode a single plank in boarder cross and slopestyle competitions out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
“Being up here, there wasn’t that big of a snowboarding crew when I was younger, and the mountain is better to ski. That’s what made me do the switch,” he told me. “I had done snowboarding for a while at that point. Back in Steamboat I was training every day. I just got bored of it and wanted to try something new.”
Teuton, 17, will be the lone local at the International Freeskiing and Snowboarding Association’s North American Junior Championship at Revelstoke Mountain Resort this week.
He’s had a pretty good competition season this year. It started with a crash at Red Mountain, but that was followed up by a first place finish at Whitewater, 25th at Fernie (where he was first after qualifying but crashed in the finals), third at Lake Louise, and fifth at Wrangle the Chute at Kicking Horse.
He goes into the championships ranked 23rd overall in the Junior Events Tour of America standings and is aiming for a top three finish.
“It’s how it seems to go – either top three or I fall,” he said. “I don’t want to be fifth at all.”
Teuton grew up in Steamboat Spring, a ski town in Colorado. He started skiing at the age of two, but wound up taking up snowboarding. It wasn’t until moving to Revelstoke that he returned to skiing, at first splitting time between the two and then switching fully to skiing.
“I remember my dad brought me a brand new snowboard setup from Society and I didn’t touch it once. I just skied all the time,” he said.
Jake Teuton about to hit a big air in Montana Bowl. Photo contributed.
He joined the Revelstoke Freestyle Club, coached by Trent Kappler; and the Revelstoke Mountain Freeriders, coached by Izzy Lynch. The first gave him experience in mogul skiing, which he said has helped him in the world of freeride competitions.
“You need to know how to bash into moguls pretty solidly and still come out alright,” he said. “Learning how to suck it up and do quick movements on your skis is something really important moguls teaches you.”
If you see Teuton at the resort, it’s likely he’s going big. His 2011-12 season edit shows him smoothly doing 360s in pillow fields, navigating big alpine lines and throwing big back flips on backcountry booters.
There’s footage of him dropping a 60-foot cliff, and airing over the traverse out to Greeley Bowl. All of that has got him the attention of sponsors – Salomon for skis, boots and binding; Smith Optics, Planks Clothing and Strafe Outerwear. It’s also gotten him some heli-skiing time.
His competition highlight was a third place finish at Wrangle the Chute in 2012 – an event that pitted him against adults. He says his best experience on skis was the first week of December this winter, when he enjoyed endless deep powder days.
Teuton told me he tries to keep a light-headed mentality when going into anything. He said that and confidence were key to his skiing.
“Once you start stressing about it, that’s when bad things happen,” he said. “If you’re not confident you’re not going to land anything.”
Teuton is set to compete in the qualifiers on Friday, April 5, and, if he makes it, the finals on Saturday, April 6. Both days are scheduled for North Bowl, and he said he’s got a few lines planned out.
“I definitely have a home advantage there. I’ve done North Bowl so many times.”