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Tannenbaum ski race changed to Mammoth Mountain venue

December 7, 2011

The Tannenbaum Classic 10K this Sunday has been changed to a shorter classic race that will be a fundraiser for the Junior Nordic Teams.

The race will take place on the Minaret Mile, located on tracks set on Minaret Road between Mammoth Mountain Inn and Minaret Summit. The start/finish will be staged about 400 yards up the road from the end of the Mammoth Mountain Inn parking lot, just past the turn-off for the road to the bottom of Chair 12. The course runs out to and back from the Forest Service hut near Minaret Summit (approximately 1.5K each way).

Between heaven and earth; skating Tioga Lake

December 2, 2011

Every few years between the end of fall and the beginning of winter, something extraordinary happens up here.

Ice.

No, not the kind you slip on when you get out of the car or scrape off your deck in the morning, not that kind of quotidian ice.

Something else.

Ice that you can fly over on thin silver blades like a winged bird, keeping time with the fishes beneath you and the wind above you. Ice that you can sing on, beat your drum on, slide like a child on, run laps on.

That kind of ice.

Free Nordic groomed trail system returns to Mammoth

December 2, 2011

After a one year absence, Mammoth will once again have a groomed, free Nordic ski track system just on the outskirts of town.

As soon as it snows, that is.

“We will be out there six days a week grooming as soon as we have about 18 inches,” said Brian Knox, the head of the volunteer-driven Mammoth Nordic nonprofit. Mammoth Nordic intends to once again groom about nine miles of beginner to intermediate cross country tracks at its old location, behind the Shady Rest campground area at the entrance to town.

Obama signs ski area legislation

November 11, 2011

Ski areas in California received good news this past week from the U.S. Forest Service, with the promise of up to 600 new jobs.

The Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011, which was signed by President Barack Obama on Nov. 7, is estimated to create and annually sustain up to 600 extra jobs nationwide.

“This is very good news for us,” said Mammoth Mountain Ski Area spokesperson Joani Lynch.
She was not alone in her enthusiasm.

“This is great news for promoting job growth and economic stimulus in California,” said Regional Forester Randy Moore.

Mammoth Mountain takes over tube park

November 11, 2011

Sledz is deadz.

Long live Woolly’s Adventure Summit and the Kids’ Carousel.

Mammoth Mountain snapped up the enterprise from a private owner during the off-season. While the transaction still is in escrow, the ski area is moving ahead with its plans.

The on-again, off-again tubing hill, situated on the right just off Route 203 on the way to Mammoth Mountain, now will be a part of the ski area’s continuing moves toward family-oriented snowplay, according to Mammoth spokesperson Joani Lynch.

Opening Day at ski area looked good, felt right

November 11, 2011

It’s just not in the culture of Mammoth Mountain to miss an Opening Day — natural snow or manufactured, blue skies or gray, rain, snow or fire and brimstone.

This season was no different.

The ski area opened yesterday with five lifts ready to go, including the Lower Gondola.

It also opened with 13 terrain features, said Joani Lynch, ski area spokeswoman.

Working on a base ranging from 18 to 24 inches, the ski area opened Chair 1 (Broadway Express); Chair 6 (Thunder Bound Express); Chair 11 (Discovery Express) and Chair 3 (Facelift).
The first chair left Broadway at 8:30 a.m.

Of tangerine trees and lemonade springs

October 31, 2011

After 18 years of seeking out every aspen grove in the Eastern Sierra, I thought I had found them all: Rock Creek and Lundy, McGee and Bishop, Convict and North Lake. Even the lesser known areas like Molybedenite and Birchim and the Parker Bench and the Little Walker.

Been there, done that.

Boy, was I wrong.

This past weekend, the crowds that can turn Lundy Canyon’s tiny trailhead and one-lane road into a virtual Disneyland in the fall color season defeated me and I spun north like a compass, seeking solitude and gold.

Chasing the wind

October 21, 2011

Thick black clouds are already crashing against the grey bulk of Mt. Dana when we begin the run down the mountain. The wind whips past, running fast from the coast, pushing the first winter storm of the season west up Yosemite Valley, whirling around the base of Half Dome.

Pine needles fall in masses, covering the bare ground with a carpet of sienna gold. The air is thick with the smell of snow and rain and the sun, hot enough to go shirtless only a few hours ago, has gone home. This new cold bites hard. Thunder rumbles to the south.

It’s time to go.

A walk on the wild side; along Rock Creek with the coyote and the fish

October 21, 2011

Rock Creek Canyon, high above Toms Place resort, which is about fourteen miles south of Mammoth Lakes, is one of the Eastern Sierra’s most spectacular canyons. Filled with dozens of lakes and ponds, fed by some of the highest mountains in the Sierra, it’s a backcountry hiker’s dream. And it just so happens to also have one of the best aspen shows for early fall viewing, which, in this odd, odd, weather year, is about what time of the year the trees think it — and it’s not like you can argue with a tree.

Hike of the Week; Silver Lake to Parker Bench

October 21, 2011

It’s been an odd and wonderful fall.

Aspens and cottonwoods, still summer-lush with the life given to them by the record-breaking winter, met one of the warmest falls in many years. In no hurry to go dormant again after being buried alive for nine months, the trees held their green far into October, much to local’s confusion and delight.
The summer, so late in coming, seemed like it would never end.

No one complained about it, either.

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