November 16th, 2012
In the dark November night, the snow-struck silence is broken by a cacophony of noise and the floor of the bedroom erupts.
My border collie Skye slams up on top of the bed from the floor, bouncing on her toes, barking at the closed window.
We pull the curtain back, and shine the big flashlight, hastily retrieved from its home under the bed, toward the cars and parking lot just 30 feet from the window.
The Mono County Board of Supervisors soundly rejected an appeal of a plan to expand the Casa Diablo geothermal plant Tuesday, after two out of area (mostly) union advocacy groups appealed the project during an almost five-hour public hearing.
Itâ€™s the second time the groups have been in Mono County in the past few months. On Oct. 22, the county planning commission approved the project and recommended it to the county supervisors for approval.
The groups filed an appeal shortly after and on Tuesday, they came armed for a fight.
They got one.
The thumping bass swelled as I swaggered up the flight of stairs at Canyon Lodge for Mammoth Mountainâ€™s opening weekend concert with RZA from the Wu Tang Clan.
The forum was lit like a disco, just dark enough to make everyone look sexy but with bright flashes keeping up with every quick beat. The crowd looked mostly young from where I stood at the bar, checking out the nightâ€™s vibe.
One hundred years ago, the fleet-footed Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep kept time to the mountains, moving upslope to summer pastures in the spring, downslope to winter ranges in the fall when blizzards beset the high Sierra.
They roamed between Olancha and Bridgeport, walking knife-edged ridges, dodging mountain lions and avalanches, sleeping under a thick blanket of snow when temperatures plummeted to 10 below.
Mammoth Mountain, for six decades a ski racing nucleus, made another bigâ€”and fastâ€”commitment to world class ski racing this week.
The home mountain of Ski Cross X Games Gold Medalist John Teller introduced Monday what it called â€śthe nationâ€™s premier Ski Cross junior program.â€ť
â€śMammoth is super excited to be essentially on the forefront [of ski cross] on the American side,â€ť said the ski hillâ€™s 36-year-old performance director, Pete Korfiatis, back in Mammoth after seven years coaching the U.S. Menâ€™s Ski Team.
Not all roads are created equal when it comes to winter snow removal priorities and as the first big winter storm of the season bearing down on the Eastern Sierra, itâ€™s worth remembering why.
Both Mono County and the Town of Mammoth Lakes do their own snow removal and over the decades, both have developed a system that classifies snow removal priorities. The system is designed, first and foremost, to make sure critical roads, such as main roads and emergency services, such as police, fire and hospitals, are always accessible in a storm.
A series of three winter storms are expected to hit the Eastern Sierra this week, beginning early Thursday evening and extending into Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
The snow is to come in three pulses, one Thursday night into Friday, one Friday evening into Saturday, and the last, Saturday evening into Monday.
â€śIt will be a wet pattern, that we have high confidence in,â€ť said Edan Lindaman, a forecaster with the Reno office of the weather service.
But itâ€™s too soon to know one critical factâ€”where the storm will hit the Pacific Coast.
The owner of Mammoth Outdoor Sports is set to produce a new event next month in the parking lot of the Sierra Center Mall, but town officials said it fell short of a slam-dunk.
The peeps at Mammoth Tourism aren’t just sitting around, you know. Expect some big news soon from John Urdi’s team regarding air packages. Mum’s the word for now, but we’d be keeping our eyes peeled for some pretty great bundling options. …
â€śLetâ€™s put up the tree!â€ť
â€śFido, what the heck are you talking about?â€ť
â€śItâ€™s almost Thanksgiving, so letâ€™s put up the tree!â€ť
â€śOld Boy, I believe you are getting your holidays mixed up. The tree is a Christmas thing, not a Thanksgiving thing. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for everything we have received. Christmas is about givingâ€”a way to say to someone that theyâ€™re important to us.â€ť
Fido scrunched into a sit while he considered all this.
â€śWhatâ€™s the tree got to do with it, then?â€ť
â€śFido, you ask darned good questions sometimes.â€ť
Mammoth Mountain on Thursday opened another section of trails and lifts, while busy employees scrambled to open runs and lifts out of Canyon and Eagle lodges by Thanksgiving.
Ski area spokesperson Joani Lynch said a Thanksgiving Day push was steamrolling, in advance of an expected weekend of snowfall that could drop about two feet of heavy snow above 9,000 feet, perhaps more above mid-mountain.
Snow entered the upcoming weekend forecasts for Mammoth and the Eastern Sierra, athough snowfall amounts remain a bit on the vague side.
By the time the weekend is finished, new snow could be measured in feet, not inches.
The Mammoth Lakes Town Council has moved its special meeting from Wednesday, Nov. 14 to tonight, Nov. 13, according to Town Clerk Jaimie Gray.
The reason is because of schedule conflicts by some members of the council.
Last week, the council called a special meeting so it could discuss further its proposed "restructuring" methods to help pay the first wave of $2 million-a-year annual payments to Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition. The town earlier this year accepted a settlement of a $29.5 million, 23-year breach of contract lawsuit as a result of a case that began more than a decade ago.
Congrats to Elizabeth Tenney, who sure can pack a punch in 95 words. She won a 95-word essay contest sponsored by the Reno Gazette-Journal. …
Rusty Gregory says he knows what one of Mammothâ€™s problem is, and that it is he himself.
In a carefully crafted speech in front of the Town Council on Wednesday night, the CEO of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area made good on his promise, made early in the week, to step into the murky, tempestuous waters of town politics.
He also promised to throw the weight of the Eastern Sierraâ€™s biggest economic engineâ€”the ski areaâ€”into the townâ€™s effort to survive its daunting, short-term financial obstacles, creating in the end a solid growth cycle.