Archive - Sports Article
January 28th, 2011
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 Daveâ€™s Run, or St. Anton.
Perhaps the most iconic run, though, is Climax, the aptly named bowl just to skierâ€™s 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.
â€śItâ€™s been a long time since Mono County has seen a catastrophic event,â€ť 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 yearâ€™s successful clinic, Diem put together a manual with guidelines for some of the larger agencies that donâ€™t deal with snow crises on a regular basis.
Mammothâ€™s 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.
â€śIâ€™m hoping that this opens the door to the next four years leading up to the Olympics,â€ť Teller said in a Skype interview from Lâ€™Alpe dâ€™Huez.
Teller opened his season with a third-place podium finish, also in Austria, which excited just about everybody on the tour
Jason Patterson has an impossible job, and he loves it.
The new Mammoth Huskies boys basketball coach has nine freshmen, three sophomores, no juniors, two seniors and no victories in its first 10 games.
Another coach might want to jump overboard with a situation like this, but not Patterson.
â€śBasketball is my love,â€ť he said. â€śItâ€™s been a great blessing to be here with these guys this year.â€ť
A native of a small town in Washington, Patterson said he comes to coaching by way of his dad, who coached just about everything there was to coach.
The innovations among the Unbound Terrain Parks crew on Mammoth Mountain are roaring ahead.
This time, itâ€™s the â€śPop-Up Park.â€ť
Itâ€™s a Terrain Park that will â€śpop upâ€ť at various sites on the mountain, and then be dismantled, never to be seen again.
According to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area spokesman Dan Hansen, this will allow â€śuniqueâ€ť park experiences outside the regular terrain parks, in spots in the mountain that parks players may have always wanted to have a park, but didnâ€™t.
They are not permanent, lasting a maximum of four to six weeks.
Some towns in America have bowling and basketball leagues to keep them happy in the winter.
In Mammoth, we ski.
The Village Championships return to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area for the 35th year this Tuesday, a noontime tradition on the ski hill and a Happy Hour tradition in pubs and watering holes all over town.
While itâ€™s a whole snowpile full of fun for almost everybody, â€śsome people take this very seriously,â€ť said Drew Kemple of the Race Department.
St. Johann, Austria (Jan. 7) American Ski Cross athlete John Teller, of Mammoth Lakes, CA won the first Ski Cross World Cup of 2011 and the first World Cup Ski Cross ever for an American. Teller, who was third place in the second World Cup of the season in December, won every heat on his way to victory under the lights in St. Johann, Austria. â€śI canâ€™t believe it,â€ť said Teller, â€śI owned every heat.â€ť
December 31st, 2010
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.