Archive - Dec 2010 - Sports Article
In Mammoth, we run. And run. Then we run some more.
Whether itâ€™s the New York City Marathon, the Boston Marathon, the Las Vegas Marathon or wherever distance runners gather, the Mammoth Track Club came up big in 2010.
One of the questions among us this past year is whether we are a ski town or a runnersâ€™ town.
Weâ€™re both, of course, and the runners are catching up fast.
Ryan Hall, who left the track club late in the season, nevertheless represented us well, finishing fourth in the Boston Marathon in April, just ahead of fifth-place finisher Meb Keflezighi.
While those in Mammoth obsessed about snow last weekend, Mammoth’s Ski Cross star, Johnny Teller, was in Innichen, Italy competing in Sunday’s World Cup race.
Not only competing: Teller made it to the podium for a third place bronze medal, behind winner Scott Kneller of Australia (a former Mammoth Mountain Ski Team racer) and Switzerland’s Alex Fiva.
While radical new designs are taking hold in snowboarding and recreational ski design, one thing hasnâ€™t changed much.
â€śRace skis have not changed that much at all,â€ť said Robin Falkingham, the longtime ski racer supplier at Command Performance in Mammoth.
â€śThe race ski hasnâ€™t changed dramatically because the race courses havenâ€™t changed dramatically.â€ť
He said the only difference in the past couple of decades has been that the skis have become shorter, but thatâ€™s not out of design considerations, but because of the materials with which skis are now built.
Bryce Eller is standing on the precipice.
He is 17 years old, a senior at Mammoth High School and a championship-class downhill skier on the Mammoth Mountain Ski Team.
When he looks over the edge, he is peering at greatness, even if he himself doesnâ€™t quite know that yet.
Ranked second in the United States for his age group, Eller, at 5-11 and 195 pounds, is carrying a lot of weight each time he enters the gates. The number of eyes watching each of his runs is a bit astonishing.
June Mountain locals refer to it simply as “The Chair.”
It is arguably one of the top carnival rides at either June Mountain or Mammoth, and if you’re going to ski or ride June, “The Chair” is de rigueur.
It is Chair 1, marked on the June Trail Map as J1, and though as slow as molasses in January, it has taken skiers up the hill since 1961. As in straight up.
In celebration of 50 years of operation, June Mountain will offer lift tickets for only $5 on opening day of the 2010-2011 winter season.
Scheduled to open on December 16, 2010, June Mountain has already received more than 6 feet of natural snowfall in October and November.
What happens in Vegas, stays in â€¦ Mammoth.
The Mammoth Track Club came up the big winner on Sunday in Las Vegas, where Mammothite Josh Cox won the Rockâ€™nâ€™ Roll Las Vegas Marathon, while Mammoth TC runners also captured the menâ€™s half marathon and the womenâ€™s half marathon.
There were 28,000 runners. Ours came up first and best.
Jack Copeland knows about warm-up runs. So does John Armstrong.
For 10 years Copeland was the director of the Mammoth Mountain Ski School before moving to the fourth floor as an executive. Armstrong was director of the Mammoth Mountain Ski Team, and holds a certificate from the Ă‰cole Du Ski Francais â€“ about as high ranking as any ski school in the world.
â€śWarm-up runs are very important for getting the blood going and for the connective tissues in your body,â€ť Copeland said.
â€śYou have to learn about the day,â€ť Armstrong said.