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There will be no cross-country track skiing this winter on the public trail system.
An effort by the townâ€™s recreation department to make a compromise with Mammoth Nordicâ€™s Brian Knox fell through on Tuesday, when Knox turned down flat a compromise proposal.
â€śYour proposal requiring our volunteer staff to train your staff to professionally operate and maintain Mammoth Nordicâ€™s grooming equipment is a commitment, in the middle of this winter, I regrettably cannot make,â€ť Knox wrote in a letter to the Recreation Commission.
Knox did not slam the door all the way on next winter, however
â€śYour proposal also requires Mammoth Nordic to lease our equipment to the Town for $1 a year. This concerns us, given the precedent it will set during future discussion about obligations Mammoth Nordic must make to sustain a Community Nordic Trails program next winter and every winter thereafter.â€ť
In the wake of Knoxâ€™s November announcement that Mammoth Nordic would no longer set tracks and groom a nine-mile network of trails, Knox, Recreation Director Stuart Brown and the forest serviceâ€™s then-ranger Jon Reggelbrugge met on Nov. 19 and again on Dec. 12 to see if there were a compromise that would satisfy all involved.
On Jan. 25, Brown sent Knox a proposal to save track skiing, asking if it were possible for the town to take over the job.
In the proposal, Brown suggested that because of staffing issues, tracks would be laid down three times a week as opposed to the daily grooming that Mammoth Nordic had last winter.
Brown also asked that Knoxâ€™s crew might help train the town staff in operating the track-laying machine, affectionately known as â€śThe Nordoni.â€ť
Knox rejected both proposals.
â€śTraining your staff to safely operate our equipment is no small task,â€ť he said. â€śTo train your staff to operate our groomer in a way that minimizes wear and tear while putting down excellent Nordic trail conditions is equally daunting.
â€śWe set track from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. or from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on a daily basis,â€ť he said. â€ś Your recommendation of three days a week falls short of the level of service we believe the public expects and deserves.â€ť
The commission members all expressed dismay at what looked very much like the denouement for this yearâ€™s public track skiing.
â€śWe all tried pretty hard to make this work,â€ť Brown said, â€śand it didnâ€™t work out.â€ť
Cross-country track skiing is still available â€“ for a price â€“ at the Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center, situated in the Lakes Basin and operated by Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.View more articles in: