Archive - Sports Article
March 11th, 2011
Try a trip down âThe Hoseâ
As if you didnât notice, spring skiing more or less opened this past week, with warm temperatures and longer hours of daylight.
For backcountry skiers, it is the best time of the year. The gullies and canyons are filled in with about as much snow as theyâre going to get, making the steeps a little less steep, with wonderful corn snow on the way shortly.
There are hundreds of great spots to ski in the spring around here.
But the Sherwins keep drawing us in.
Partly itâs because theyâre so darned accessible â right out our back door.
One look at the course map for the 2011 Mammoth Winter Biathlon and you know this is serious business.
It resembles an Olympic course.
It has a stadium built into the hill that looks out to the shooting lanes and across the lanes where competitors will pass three times during the course of the race.
Thus, spectators will be able to keep up on whoâs in the lead, how often the lead changes, who is shooting when and whoâs taking their penalty laps.
âBiathlon is changing and becoming much more spectator friendly,â said Race Director Mike Karch.
There will be no cross-country track skiing this winter on the public trail system.
An effort by the townâs recreation department to make a compromise with Mammoth Nordicâs Brian Knox fell through on Tuesday, when Knox turned down flat a compromise proposal.
âYour proposal requiring our volunteer staff to train your staff to professionally operate and maintain Mammoth Nordicâs grooming equipment is a commitment, in the middle of this winter, I regrettably cannot make,â Knox wrote in a letter to the Recreation Commission.
Knox did not slam the door all the way on next winter, however
Imagine skiing along a sparkling blue river, skies whispering softly over the white, blanketing snow.
Imagine the river, blue, silver, indigo, glimmering, a ribbon of color in the white land.
Imagine the quiet; perfect, joyous, broken only by the riffle of the river, the whoosh of the wings of a blue heron flashing far above.
The Owens River cuts a wild and wide path through upper Long Valley, flashing down to Crowley Lake from its birthplace at Big Springs, southeast of Lee Vining.
As Village Championship races go, last Tuesdayâs race seemed to be as normal as normal can be, aside from various off-the-wall costumes.
And then Jimmy Morning appeared.
One of Mammothâs iconic skiers and coaches, Morning was injured in a Super G crash two weeks earlier, earning him a hospital stay and a couple of weeks in bed.
Morning didnât race in Tuesdayâs dual Giant Slalom on Fascination, but his appearance made the beautiful racing conditions and bright sunshine even more radiant, and warmed up the Happy Hour party at Rafters.
Melissa Margulies is going to the Super Bowl. Not to watch, but to play.
Sheâs a rookie star on the Los Angeles Temptation football team.
L.A. plays the Philadelphia Passion during half time. The teams are part of the Lingerie Football League.
Margulies, who grew up in Mammoth and ran track at MHS, as well as USC, always wanted to play pro baseball. Sheâs not far off, as both safety and running back for the Temptation.
Kaya Turski won the silver medal Thursday in slopestyle at the FIS freestyle skiing world championships in Utah.
Turski scored 41.70 points in the final as she navigated the obstacle course of rails, jumps and other features. Athletes are judged on their tricks in the terrain park.
âIâm very happy, I landed my run and I skied how I wanted to ski,â Turski, the X Games gold medallist, said in a news release.
Thereâs this thing about Patrolmenâs.
It a little gem of a black diamond groomer run that parallels Chair 2/Stump Alley Express, and itâs so tucked away that not many skiers find it, even on a crowded day.
The reason the cognoscenti like it so much is that they can make of it what they want. Ski it one way, and itâs more of an advanced intermediate than black.
Ski it another way and thereâs freestyle and tree skiing to be had.
But the real pull on Patrolmenâs is that a skier can generate some ungodly speed as the run bends its way onto a wide approach to Chair 2.
You canât exactly call them the Twin Towers, because theyâre hardly ever on the basketball court at the same time.
But Mammoth Huskies Alejandro and Francisco (âCiscoâ) Flores are most definitely identical twins, so much so that coach Jason Patterson has needed to devise a few tricks for telling them apart.
âThey wear different colored shoes,â Patterson said, âso thatâs how I can tell them apart most of the time.
âAnd they wear their hair slightly differently.â
A first time visitor to a Husky practice wouldnât know, though.
Itâs early in the game, but itâs likely that Mammoth will host a 10-day running camp this summer.
And if it goes ahead, it wonât be like any other running camp anywhere.
âI want it to be more than just going to a fat farm, said Visit Mammothâs John Urdi.
âThey should be coming here and enjoying the hiking we have, the cycling, maybe even fishing.
âMaybe on one of the days the runners would go into Yosemite and maybe do some running in the Valley.
âThereâs lots of possibilities.â
The tentative â very tentative â name for the camp is a âFit-cation,â he said.
Mammothâs athletes took to the Colorado mountains and the Texas marathon courses last weekend, and the results can be summarized in two words.
âCrushed it,â said Mammoth Recreation Manager Stuart Brown.
Johnny Teller (ski cross) and Kaya Turski (ski slopestyle) took gold medals at the Winter X-Games in Aspen, while Tyler Flanagan took home a bronze in snowboard slopestyle.
Meanwhile, in Houston, the Mammoth Track Clubâs Jen Rhines won the U.S. Half Marathon Championships, establishing her personal best.
On the menâs side, Patrick Smyth of the Mammoth Track Club placed third.
The Mammoth Track Club just keeps clicking along.
Jennifer Rhines won the the U.S. half-marathon championship Saturday in Houston, finishing with a personal-best 1 hour, 11 minutes, 14 seconds.
"You always have to be happy when you run a PR [personal record]," Rhines said. "You never know when you're going to have ups and downs. I'm just going to enjoy this today."
Meanwhile, Patrick Smyth, also representing the Mammoth Track Club, finished third in the menâs division, behind former Mammoth Track Club member Ryan Hall.
On Mammoth Mountain, where great skiing at all levels is bountiful, only a few can be classified as iconic.
The runs might include Broadway, or Daveâs Run, or St. Anton.
Perhaps the most iconic run, though, is Climax, the aptly named bowl just to skierâs left of the Upper Gondola at 11,053 feet.
It is a wide-open double-black, although by the time spring comes and the bowl is filled in, a skier could probably move that rating back to a single black diamond.
Getting there is easy.
âItâs been a long time since Mono County has seen a catastrophic event,â said Eric Diem, director of the June Mountain Ski Patrol.
Diem staged the second annual avalanche rescue training on Thursday, Jan. 20 for the June Lake and Lee Vining volunteer fire departments.
Following last yearâs successful clinic, Diem put together a manual with guidelines for some of the larger agencies that donât deal with snow crises on a regular basis.
Mammothâs John Teller was sitting in his hotel room in France, but he may as well have been standing on top of the world.
Teller zoomed to the top of the World Cup standings in Ski Cross last week, winning in St. Johann, Austria in a close but decisive finish. He finished third this week and slipped to third in rankings.
âIâm hoping that this opens the door to the next four years leading up to the Olympics,â Teller said in a Skype interview from LâAlpe dâHuez.
Teller opened his season with a third-place podium finish, also in Austria, which excited just about everybody on the tour