There’s an old saying around here, that “if you put a speed race on the calendar, it will snow.”
Once again the old urban legend was on the money last week when snowy weather forced the Mammoth Mountain Race Department to scramble.
Pete Korfiatis, Head MMST FIS coach, described the scenario like this:
“Though the MMRD was ready to race, Mother Nature had different ideas. She came in with fury, and knowing how badly the mountain needed the snowfall no one was upset.
“I'm very proud of our race crew and volunteers, they battled the weather with a smile on their faces and never doubted we would pull it off. Thanks also to Greg Sorenson, director of cat crews to come in when we needed a bit of machine work to make our venue safe.
“We’re also thankful to our swing and graveyard cat crews that took the time and effort to work over the snow on the race hill several times, ensuring we could even think about sending athletes down a speed venue.”
Even with all of the MMRD hard work, Mother Nature held the upper hand and over the next four days the racers continued to hear “the race has been delayed due to weather. The jury will meet…updates will be posted after meeting.”
Fortunately, all of the athletes were able to get in a super G on Thursday, Feb. 6, but the race on Friday had to be halted after the women ran, due to the weather.
Brownlie’s Bullet, which was hit with the continuing storm on Saturday and Sunday, was reduced to a single day of very challenging racing.
Even so, Korfiatis was encouraged.
"The Mammoth athletes did very well. racing speed in weather is always mentally tougher. All of them stayed focused and were in the game. The standout athletes in my eyes were Alex Colby, who took second for the U18 Men and Kayleigh MacGregor.
“We've been waiting for her to pop and she finally did placing second overall on the second day. Mammoth U18s went two-three in the ladies event with Nikki Norton grabbing the third step."
Additionally, he said, the U16s showed their strength against their peers doing what Korfiatis claimed as a “great job” for their first SG of the season in “bad weather” and “tough conditions,” with Kevin Wolfe third in the SG; Elisabeth Heit, third and fourth in the SGs.
Cody Underkoffler was second in the SG and fourth in the GS. Korfiatis concluded with a bit of humor saying, "I was honored to have a race named after myself even if I didn't deserve it, there were plenty of friends on Facebook giving me tons of jabs about it."
As far as what is ahead for the teams, the U16s were again forced to cross another event off of their calendars when they received the following message,
“Thank you for your patience U16 SG Feb 21-23 POSTPONED... The U14s, who lost their GS races at Squaw Valley last weekend when a strong storm moved in on Friday and ravaged Squaw with rain and snow, are now planning to join the U10s and U12s at the second Junior Village Championship race, “The Kittredge Tune-Up” Sunday, Feb. 16.
A contingent of U18s will head to Jackson Hole for the U18 Nationals Slalom and Giant Slalom Qualifier, Feb. 15-18.
Final CNISSF Slalom Ends Up Being a Race Held Out of Necessity
The final two Inyo/Mono high school races were scheduled for Fri. Feb. 7, but the same storm that challenged the U16-21 races made it nearly impossible two complete two races for both skiers and snowboarders.
But the high school coaches, who were determined to get both races off as they were State Championship Qualifiers, made an on the spot decision to reduce the second race to a one run slalom. However, that race quickly became a race against time as the storm moved in and forced a lift closure before all of the athletes could get to the start.
A call to the race department got a snowmobile to the site and the racers were hauled quickly up to the top of the course and the race was on. In both races Mammoth High School skiers showed their strength with eight girls and five boys placed in the top 15.
Sierra Gilfoy and Kyra McKee split the wins for the Girls Ski race and Lynn Regelbrugge captured a pair of second place results in the same events. Nathan Everson took the win in the second Boy’s Ski race, while teammate Ryan Foulke was the second place finisher twice.
Tyler Searles won the first Boys Snowboard races and Fleur Connolly and Candice Berger each took a win for the Girl’s Snowboard division. Mammoth Husky skiers and snowboarders will now spend the next three weeks training before heading to the CNISSF State Championships to be held at Northstar, Mar. 3-6.