Archive - Sports Article
January 8th, 2011
Some towns in America have bowling and basketball leagues to keep them happy in the winter.
In Mammoth, we ski.
The Village Championships return to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area for the 35th year this Tuesday, a noontime tradition on the ski hill and a Happy Hour tradition in pubs and watering holes all over town.
While itâ€™s a whole snowpile full of fun for almost everybody, â€śsome people take this very seriously,â€ť said Drew Kemple of the Race Department.
St. Johann, Austria (Jan. 7) American Ski Cross athlete John Teller, of Mammoth Lakes, CA won the first Ski Cross World Cup of 2011 and the first World Cup Ski Cross ever for an American. Teller, who was third place in the second World Cup of the season in December, won every heat on his way to victory under the lights in St. Johann, Austria. â€śI canâ€™t believe it,â€ť said Teller, â€śI owned every heat.â€ť
December 31st, 2010
In Mammoth, we run. And run. Then we run some more.
Whether itâ€™s the New York City Marathon, the Boston Marathon, the Las Vegas Marathon or wherever distance runners gather, the Mammoth Track Club came up big in 2010.
One of the questions among us this past year is whether we are a ski town or a runnersâ€™ town.
Weâ€™re both, of course, and the runners are catching up fast.
Ryan Hall, who left the track club late in the season, nevertheless represented us well, finishing fourth in the Boston Marathon in April, just ahead of fifth-place finisher Meb Keflezighi.
While those in Mammoth obsessed about snow last weekend, Mammoth’s Ski Cross star, Johnny Teller, was in Innichen, Italy competing in Sunday’s World Cup race.
Not only competing: Teller made it to the podium for a third place bronze medal, behind winner Scott Kneller of Australia (a former Mammoth Mountain Ski Team racer) and Switzerland’s Alex Fiva.
While radical new designs are taking hold in snowboarding and recreational ski design, one thing hasnâ€™t changed much.
â€śRace skis have not changed that much at all,â€ť said Robin Falkingham, the longtime ski racer supplier at Command Performance in Mammoth.
â€śThe race ski hasnâ€™t changed dramatically because the race courses havenâ€™t changed dramatically.â€ť
He said the only difference in the past couple of decades has been that the skis have become shorter, but thatâ€™s not out of design considerations, but because of the materials with which skis are now built.
Bryce Eller is standing on the precipice.
He is 17 years old, a senior at Mammoth High School and a championship-class downhill skier on the Mammoth Mountain Ski Team.
When he looks over the edge, he is peering at greatness, even if he himself doesnâ€™t quite know that yet.
Ranked second in the United States for his age group, Eller, at 5-11 and 195 pounds, is carrying a lot of weight each time he enters the gates. The number of eyes watching each of his runs is a bit astonishing.
June Mountain locals refer to it simply as “The Chair.”
It is arguably one of the top carnival rides at either June Mountain or Mammoth, and if you’re going to ski or ride June, “The Chair” is de rigueur.
It is Chair 1, marked on the June Trail Map as J1, and though as slow as molasses in January, it has taken skiers up the hill since 1961. As in straight up.
In celebration of 50 years of operation, June Mountain will offer lift tickets for only $5 on opening day of the 2010-2011 winter season.
Scheduled to open on December 16, 2010, June Mountain has already received more than 6 feet of natural snowfall in October and November.
What happens in Vegas, stays in â€¦ Mammoth.
The Mammoth Track Club came up the big winner on Sunday in Las Vegas, where Mammothite Josh Cox won the Rockâ€™nâ€™ Roll Las Vegas Marathon, while Mammoth TC runners also captured the menâ€™s half marathon and the womenâ€™s half marathon.
There were 28,000 runners. Ours came up first and best.
Jack Copeland knows about warm-up runs. So does John Armstrong.
For 10 years Copeland was the director of the Mammoth Mountain Ski School before moving to the fourth floor as an executive. Armstrong was director of the Mammoth Mountain Ski Team, and holds a certificate from the Ă‰cole Du Ski Francais â€“ about as high ranking as any ski school in the world.
â€śWarm-up runs are very important for getting the blood going and for the connective tissues in your body,â€ť Copeland said.
â€śYou have to learn about the day,â€ť Armstrong said.
It is situated smack dab in the middle of the Mountain.
It is one of the loveliest corduroy runs on the ski hill.
But “Coyote” also is one of the confoundest runs to reach, owing to its obscurity in terms of accessibility.
First, the run: It is a blue black-diamond trail, starting adjacent to McCoy Station at mid-mountain and spilling into the mish-mash of traffic near the bottom of Chair 5. Intermediates should have no problem here, once on the run.
Winning games helps.
Going to the playoffs is fun and exciting for everyone, from the players and coaches to the supporters of the team and the fans in the stands.
But this yearâ€™s Mammoth High School football team was bigger than that just for having taken the field.
After a lost season in which Mammoth had no team at all, the Huskies returned under the wing of their resolute coach, Tom Gault and his industrial-strength assistant coach Marty Thompson â€“ a former Fresno State and Detroit Lions tight end.
The Mammoth Huskies Friday night ended their season as they began it â€“ with a very satisfying home victory.
The Dogs ran up 51 points on Silver Valley, their best scoring game of the season. In giving up 20, Silver Valley never had a chance.
The Huskies finished their season 3-6 overall and 1-4 in conference play. They were 2-3 at Gault/McClure Stadium â€“ not bad for a program that disappeared last season for a variety of reasons.
They began their season with a surprising 6-3 victory over L.A. Baptist, endured some very bad losses (59-6 at Bishop comes to mind) and long road trips.
The Unbound Terrain Park at Mammoth Mountain opened Thursday, and it's mind-boggling what Josh Chavet and his crew have created.
Working on top of a base of 13-31 inches of snow, the Unbounders opened a new urban stairset with three down options, a new urban planter box (brick with fake grass), and a new concrete ledge.
They also unveiled a variety of early-season jumps (aka â€“ smaller hits) and other assorted rails and jibs.
Way to go, you Unbounders!
Mammoth marathoner Meb Keflezighi placed first among Americans in Sunday's New York City Marathon, and sixth overall, according to race results posted on the official marathon website.
Keflezighi, the defending champion, ran the course in 2:11:38, while winner Gebre Gebrmariam of Ethiopia ran it in 2:08:14.
Shalane Flanagan, who trained in Mammoth over the course of the summer, placed second in the women's division, running the marathon in 2:28:40. She lost first place in her first marathon bid by just 20 seconds. The winner was Edna Kiplagat of Kenya.