Archive - Sports Article
May 29th, 2014
With the town full of Memorial Day visitors and the Lakes Basin mostly free of snow, Mammoth did what it normally does in an early shoulder season.
The roaring wind picked up the foot-thick dust at bottom of the old dry lake and threw it at the truck, slamming millions of sharp-edged particles against window and door and windshield.
It was impossible to talk, even in the sealed cab, and so we didn’t, focusing instead on keeping the big truck upright and moving forward on the sand-drenched road.
It was almost dusk, and what light there was, was gone; swallowed whole by the raging wind and dust.
The metal-edged Kahru skis snapped to my old leather three-pin boots, gold and grey and well acquainted with rocks.
They need to be.
It has taken me an hour to get from the âSnoparkâ trailhead to this snowy meadow near Rock Creek Lake, a mile that would normally take about five minutes of easy skiing.
But it has hardly snowed this winter and even with the past week of storms weâve only received a measly 18 feet since November where there should be 40.
The Village Championships season, such as it was, ended well this past week, on fast snow in warm temperatures.
The snow conditions and air temperatures this season formed the overall theme of the 2014 VCs, which is among the oldest and most iconic of Mammoth Mountain’s racing schedule.
Course setters on Fascination and Andie’s Double Gold frequently adjusted gate alignments and course configurations to deal with a low-snow season.
Nevertheless, the races went on, and on Tuesday, March 25, it was all about the finish.
There has been a lot of recent sports activity in the Eastern Sierra involving local law enforcement officers, but nowhere did their badges shine the brightest than at the Fire and Police Winter Olympics earlier this month on Mammoth Mountain, and on the asphalt in the desert.
The Olympics, which Mammoth hosted for the 29th straight season, put hardware into the hands of seven officers, even though Mike Braun, who organized the Games, skied for his former department, the LAPD, and took home one gold and two silvers.
Deena Kastor might be 41 years old, but she can still run with the best of them.
Amid chilly and windy conditions Sunday in Dallas, Mammoth’s three-time Olympian and American record-holder turned in the fifth-fastest half-marathon time by a U.S. runner in 2014 with a new course record at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon.
“Going to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas half marathon, I knew I was in good fitness,” she said afterward, “but all other aspects need to fall into place in order to break records.
The track season opens next week in Mammoth, and if members of the Mammoth Track Club are on the giddy side, it’s no wonder.
Two new members of the club, which is now sponsored by ASICS, turned in noteworthy performances at the L.A. Marathon on Sunday, March 10, giving the club fuel for its first practice of the season on Tuesday, March 18.
The first practice, which starts at 7 a.m., is open to the public, said Coach Andrew Kastor.
The Mammoth Track Club came up big Sunday at the L.A. Marathon, with both Lauren Kleppin and Gabe Proctor turning in the best American times.
Training cancelled, race on hold, event postponed due to weather…those are just some of the phases that have plagued the Mammoth Mountain Ski Team U14s for the entire 2013-2014 season.
As a result by March 2 the U14s had completed just four USSA races for the entire season. And it didn’t look like this was going to change this past week as one of the largest storms this season dumped three and a half feet of new snow just prior to the Stacey Cook SG Challenge, scheduled for March 1-2.
Mammoth’s Lucas Underkoffler and Nikita Norton are in Colorado this weekend, after having won spots in the under-18 U.S. Nationals ski races this weekend at Copper Mountain.
Underkoffer and Norton both won spots as a result of their performances in the FIS Elite Wild West Classic at Snow King Mountain, Wyo., last weekend.
Seven other Mammoth Mountain Ski Team racers participated in the Wyoming event.
Norton placed fifth for the U18 ladies in the first slalom and Underkoffler was fifth for the second slalom and seventh in the final GS.
John Teller's Olympics were over almost before they started.
Teller, the mechanic who works for his Uncle Mike Fiebiger at the Alpine Garage, crashed out of the Olympic ski cross early, finishing 28th in a field of 32.
In a Facebook quote posted by his mother, Teller seemed to take the loss with a fair measure of philosophy.
"That's ski racing ... sometimes you win and sometimes you lose; just wasn't my day today."
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.
Larry Johnston says he knows one word in Russian.
It is “nyet,” the Russian word for “no.”
Debbie Teller says she knows one fewer word than Johnston.
Karl Teller, meanwhile, has been trying to pick up bits of Russian on his vehicle’s CD player, and Debbie says he might know five words by now, while Karen Johnston says she’s working on one word: “Dosvidaniya,” meaning goodbye.
The top halfpipe competitors in the U.S. and world may have been vying for spots on the U.S. Olympic Team in front on the Main Lodge deck, but over to the right, on the Andie's Double Gold race course, future Olympians were racing for their “gold” coming from Mimi’s Cookie Bar.