‘Kamikaze Bike Games’ set for September


Questions remain as to who pays, who profits

A new bike festival is officially on track for Sept. 4 to 6 in Mammoth, but it will not be a done deal until financing is solidified.

The “Kamikaze Bike Games” is to be organized and hosted by Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, with proceeds set to go to the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation.

But the event, estimated to cost about $300,000, nevertheless caught the attention of the Mammoth Town Council Wednesday evening. At issue is a request by the town to funnel at least $100,000 in Measure U taxpayer funds to the event.

In discussions among members of the special “Measure U Application Committee,” at least four areas of financing should be vetted by the council if it is to spend Measure U money.

First, the committee requested information as to how much Mammoth overall might make in anticipated Transit Occupancy Tax revenue.

Second, the committee recommended to the council that it get a firm grip on identifying all sources of revenue and anticipated costs.

Third, the committee asked the council to identify town partners and how they can participate in the event, including a list of existing and proposed sponsors.

Finally, the committee asked the council to hold off on approving Measure U cash until it can answer the question of how taxpayer recreation funds relate to an event whose profits would go toward the nonprofit foundation.

Sandy Hogan, a member of the Measure U Committee, said in the agenda bill before the council that she believes the application should be submitted solely by Mammoth Mountain Ski Area or the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation, rather than the town.

She indicated town contributions should be used for such things as transit services, permit fees, and in-kind support, such as barriers, special equipment and so on.

The council was in no position to give a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down on the actual event. Rather, its action was to proceed—to shunt the proposal to the town staff in an effort to answer the committee’s concerns.

As conceived, the event would bring downhill racing, cross-country racing, slalom, trick riding, and perhaps a halfpipe.

The festival would culminate with a road bike event with support from organizers of the High Sierra Fall Century bike ride.

“The goal,” according to the agenda bill, “is to create an all-inclusive major event that attracts new and loyal visitors to Mammoth Lakes by reviving a nostalgic outdoor event from Mammoth’s history.”

Mammoth Mountain executives Bill Cockroft and Michelle Tomaier are leading the event forward, even as final details are being set up this winter and spring.