Biathlon set for this weekend

The Annual Mammoth Biathlon is all set to go off on Saturday and Sunday on a new course and with new rules for spectators.

The course has moved from Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, and therein lies a bit of a problem, depending on how fat your wallet is.

According to ski area spokesperson Joani Lynch, spectators will be able to watch the event only if they have valid ski passes.

For those already holding passes, there is no extra charge to see the event, which this year will be at Red’s Lake near Chairs 13 and 14.

For those without passes, she said non-participant spectator/family passes could be purchased at standard USSA Ski Event rates. An adult one-day pass will cost $66 for adults, $52 for teens, $27 for children and $56 for seniors.

That means if an adult couple wants to see the event, lift tickets alone will be $132 to $266 if they want to see events on both days.

Moreover, event organizer Dr. Mike Karch said alpine equipment is “strongly encouraged” to travel to the biathlon site.

Lynch said the discounted one-day tickets would be available only between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Mammoth Mountain Inn—not at the usual ticket windows at Main Lodge, Eagle Lodge, Canyon Lodge nor the Village.

The upside is that people who purchase one-day tickets will have access to the entire mountain, not just the chairs servicing the event.

Should spectators want to take the plunge, the number of elite athletes could cause reason for disappointment.

Organizers, who earlier this winter sent out an informational packet, indicated as many as 13 national and international athletes would attend the event.

As it turns out, the event will be lucky to draw just seven or eight.

“There was a lot of sickness (among the athletes),” said Brit Cogan, an employee at Mammoth Hospital and the Elite Athlete Liaison officer.

“Some of it were the athletes, but others had kids who were sick.”