Teagan Turner wins World Junior snowboard title

“She showed up, stayed focused and laid down the run she wanted to lay down”

By Than Acuff

After delays and venue changes in a foreign land, Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team (CBMST) athlete Teagan Turner threw down one of the top runs among all snowboarders, both boys and girls, to take the Freeride World Tour (FWT) Junior World Championships girls snowboard title in Kappl, Austria on Thursday, January 25.

Turner made the cut for the prestigious event when she placed third at the FWT North American Freeride Championships last April. After spending her competitive snowboard career on the regional and national circuit, Turner jumped into the big pond in Austria facing champions from around the globe.

“There were riders from Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, everywhere,” says CBMST coach Eddy Cohn, who was with Turner in Austria. “Only 13 girls got the invite to Worlds including the two-time defending world junior champion. The level of competition is definitely pretty high.”

“I usually see the same girls at the comps here, but I was up against people I’ve never even seen ride before,” says Turner. “I didn’t know what to expect.”

Turner and Cohn arrived in Austria ahead of the competition to get Turner familiar with the new terrain and the vastness of the European mountain ranges.

“We knew we’d have one day getting used to being in the Alps, which is very different,” says Cohn.

“The venue was so beautiful,” says Turner. “The mountains there are crazy.”

Turner and Cohn got a chance to check out the venue, but the weather proved troublesome for event organizers, and no one was sure what was in store for the athletes.

“We never really knew what day the event was,” says Turner. “They kept pushing it off. They finally said, ‘it is confirmed to be on this day, unless it’s not’.”

Ultimately, the decision was made to move the competition to a different venue and set it for Thursday, January 25. In the meantime, Turner got a chance to ride around and check out the surrounding resorts.

“We went around and checked out other ski areas near Kappl,” says Turner.

But with the new venue came a new game plan as coaches, including Cohn, and competition officials spent the day before the event preparing the venue, including adding some man-made jumps.

Given the addition of freestyle opportunities in a freeride comp, Turner had to tweak her plan to make the most of her run, incorporating the features built into the venue as well as riding the natural terrain available. Not only that, but some rain was added into the mix, making for interesting conditions.

“The snow was really weird,” says Turner. “It was sticky but soft.”

Then the winds came and while the resort was removing chairs from the actual lifts because of the wind, the athletes were transported to the top of the venue via snowcat.

“That was super cool,” says Turner. “Everyone in the cat had different accents and it was super cool to meet everyone.”

Turner was the fourth of 13 girls to drop into the venue on the big day and opened her run with a bang as she stomped the biggest air at the top of the venue, carried that momentum into two more drops and linked in the jump features before coming through the finish line.

“The middle jump was perfect for the line I wanted to ride,” says Turner.

“When she crossed the finish line, she’d won,” says Cohn. “Whether she finished first or wherever she ended up, she put down the run she wanted to put down and that’s a win.”

Turner and Cohn waited patiently as the remaining nine snowboarders, including the defending world champion, dropped into their runs and then waited even more as it wasn’t until the third athlete in the next event that Cohn and Turner found out, officially, Turner had won the world title. 

“I’m so proud of her,” says Cohn. “She showed up, stayed focused and laid down the run she wanted to lay down.”

“I just wanted to stay on my feet and lay down my run,” says Turner. “Just getting invited is a huge honor and coming home with a win is such a bonus and all the support from everyone is just so awesome.”

Crested Butte resident Ben Blackwood has been a judge on the FWT for years and was on the judging panel in Austria, and Turner’s run certainly stood out among his fellow judges.

“The entire judging panel was in agreement, she had the best run of the day,” says Blackwood. “The word that kept coming to my mind was ‘confidence.’ She had her line dialed in her mind and went out and executed it beautifully. It was really consistent and smooth.”

Turner is now back in Crested Butte and will continue competing on the regional and national level looking to make it back to NorAms again this year. Furthermore, at her age, Turner remains in the hunt for one, possibly two, more junior world titles.

“I have judged several competitions in recent years that Teagan was a part of, and it is incredible to see the progress she has made as a snowboarder,” says Blackwood. “And I think she is just going to get stronger and stronger.”

“She’s 16 years old so she has two more years before she is even eligible for the adult tour,” adds Cohn.

“I would love to compete at Worlds again, just for the experience,” says Turner. “Getting to meet all of those different people was so cool.”

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