January 17th, 2011
Mammothâ€™s John Teller was sitting in his hotel room in France, but he may as well have been standing on top of the world.
Teller zoomed to the top of the World Cup standings in Ski Cross last week, winning in St. Johann, Austria in a close but decisive finish. He finished third this week and slipped to third in rankings.
â€śIâ€™m hoping that this opens the door to the next four years leading up to the Olympics,â€ť Teller said in a Skype interview from Lâ€™Alpe dâ€™Huez.
Teller opened his season with a third-place podium finish, also in Austria, which excited just about everybody on the tour
It seems to be something that most people have forgotten.
In all the brouhaha over the airport lawsuit appeal, the Town of Mammoth wasnâ€™t the only town challenging the Bridgeport juryâ€™s finding that the Town is liable for $30 million in damages.
Far from it.
In fact, every city and county in the state of California sided with the Town, as â€śfriends of the courtâ€ť or â€śamici curiae.â€ť The appellate judgesâ€™ decision is rattling municipal nerves across the state.
The new chief of Mammothâ€™s Chamber of Commerce is smiling, and when was the last time anyone saw that?
Maggie Thompson, general manager of NPG Cable, said the holiday spending spree by visitors to Mammoth exceeded all her expectations, and may signal a larger economic trend.
â€śIt was one of the best years weâ€™ve had in a long, long time,â€ť she said.
â€śThe businesses should be really pleased.â€ť
There were glitches, of course. The copious blizzards during the holiday period caused power outages, clogged roadways and frayed nerves.
A rundown of what's going on around here:
Realtors all over town died a little death earlier this week when the L.A. Times fronted a story about Mammoth and our little legal problem. Headline was â€śMammoth Lakes fears financial ruin after legal judgment.â€ť ...
Brian Shibley tells us that the golf tournament held last fall in memory of his daugther Cari raised $3,000 for ICare and $3,000 for Mono County Animal Shelter. ...
Thereâ€™s a place not far from here where the wind blows quiet and clean, the creek sings softly under its winter blanket and the wide, gold roots of an old juniper shelter the perfect place to sit warm and dry, even in deepest winter.
Itâ€™s a sweet place, sometimes warm and calm, sometimes wild and furious. In the daytime, the sharp high country sun turns the white to indigo and that inexpressible aqua color seen only in deep depressions in the snow on a sunlit day.
Jason Patterson has an impossible job, and he loves it.
The new Mammoth Huskies boys basketball coach has nine freshmen, three sophomores, no juniors, two seniors and no victories in its first 10 games.
Another coach might want to jump overboard with a situation like this, but not Patterson.
â€śBasketball is my love,â€ť he said. â€śItâ€™s been a great blessing to be here with these guys this year.â€ť
A native of a small town in Washington, Patterson said he comes to coaching by way of his dad, who coached just about everything there was to coach.
The innovations among the Unbound Terrain Parks crew on Mammoth Mountain are roaring ahead.
This time, itâ€™s the â€śPop-Up Park.â€ť
Itâ€™s a Terrain Park that will â€śpop upâ€ť at various sites on the mountain, and then be dismantled, never to be seen again.
According to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area spokesman Dan Hansen, this will allow â€śuniqueâ€ť park experiences outside the regular terrain parks, in spots in the mountain that parks players may have always wanted to have a park, but didnâ€™t.
They are not permanent, lasting a maximum of four to six weeks.
Thereâ€™s nothing that can stop a good party on Mammoth Mountain.
This past week, ski area employees were scrambling to put together a â€śBig Snow Bashâ€ť weekend for Jan. 21-23, with events commemorating the 209-inch December snowfall that broke records for the snowiest month on record.
It will start with the construction of 209-inch (17.4 feet) snowmen, situated at Main Lodge, Canyon Lodge, Little Eagle Lodge and at the Mill CafĂ© at the base of Chair 2/Stump Alley Express, according the ski area spokesman Dan Hansen.
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.
A travesty of justice?
The California Third Appellate District Court sure didnâ€™t think so.
The three-member panel last week unanimously upheld a $30 million judgment against the Town of Mammoth Lakes in the Hot Creek Aviation litigation.
It wasnâ€™t even close.
Thus ends the litigation in a dispute that began in 1997. Now begin the myriad questions facing the Town and what itâ€™s going to do about them.
Our weekly roundup of what's what and who's who:
That was a bad week last week for the satellite TV customers, reception dishes filled with snow and signals blocked by snow-laden trees. â€śNot that was a big sports weekend or anything,â€ť sighed the go-go John Urdi â€¦
An attempt to create a viable trout hatchery at Conway Ranch got hit with a big blow at the beginning of the new year, when icy cold killed off 8,000 of the ranchâ€™s rainbow trout, as well as all the fish being raised for the kidsâ€™ trout pond.
â€śThe Fish and Wildlife Service was devastated by the news,â€ť said Dan Lyster, Mono Countyâ€™s development director.
The trout were being raised at Conway under an agreement with the service, whose state trout stocking program has been heavily impacted by budget cuts and other problems in recent years.
Former Mammoth Lakes Police Department Sergeant Eric Hugelman won a decisive judgment against the Town last week.
Hearing Officer Roberto Morales ruled that Hugelmanâ€™s termination a year and a half ago was unjustified, and ruled that he should be reinstated.
Morales ruled that Hugelman should have been suspended for three weeks, at most.
Now the question is whether Hugelman will, in fact, rejoin the force, and how much back pay he is entitled to.
The Town Council took up the matter in closed session after Wednesday nightâ€™s regular meeting, but no decision came out of the session.