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High Altitude Training facility gets a face

July 13, 2012

One of several architectural renderings of an indoor training facility proposed by Mark Horton of San Francisco. Rendering/MH| Architects

This probably is not going to happen, but it might.

A San Francisco architect, who is loosely affiliated with Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, has submitted drawings as to what its High Altitude Training Facility might look like.

It is no more than a glimmer in his eye—a dream based on the outskirts of possibility.

Mark Horton, whose firm produced the winning drawings for San Francisco’s indoor trampoline center, House of Air, characterized his work as “an idea for discussion,” and nothing more.

Even so, his drawings—along with Jon Acosta, David Gill, and Daniel Mason—won first place in Azure magazine’s “Best Unbuilt Project” category.

The winners were announced in the magazine’s June-July edition.

As a winner from among over 600 projects submitted to the architectural magazine, Horton has come up with a design that is at best intriguing.

“I was amazed at the number of visitors who come to Mammoth Lakes in the off-season,” said Horton, whose kids are on the Kirkwood Ski Team in South Lake Tahoe.

“I think this kind of a place would be incredible, not only for athletes in training, but also for families. Having a project like this would be incredible.”

The notion of a high-altitude training facility has been floating around for some time. Such a facility might become the centerpiece of a revamping of the Main Lodge Area, which is awaiting a land exchange agreement with the U.S. Forest Service.

Working with the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation and its president, Los Angeles businessman Austin Beutner, Horton began thinking about the project in 2010.

His design is actually at street level, in the parking lot near Bergers Restaurant—a lot that Mammoth Mountain Ski Area at that time had dibs on.

“The client was looking for a structure with Tyrolean chalet features,” Horton said in an interview with the magazine. “We proposed a hangar-like structure that reflects the kind of extreme athletics taking place within. It is also an economically efficient and versatile building, pre-engineered to allow for fast construction.”

Horton’s vision is for a double-height facility enclosed in a colored metal panel system with transparent Panelite enclosing both ends. Such a structure would allow for dynamic views of the action from outside.
Inside, the long-span interior is equipped with a foam pit, trampoline fields, ski jump lips and cliff platforms.

Horton himself said he has no illusions about the project—that it is a test.

“But you never know,” he said. “We’re going to keep thinking about it.”

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