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Off the trail- Winter Solstice

December 21, 2012

 

The morning sky has not yet begun to lighten as the truck bounces over the white, moonlit ground, tires sinking nearly to the rim in deep, snowy ruts.

To the west, Laurel Mountain and Mt. Morrison are limned in light, stars brilliant, waiting.

Tomorrow, when the sun rises, the days will begin to lengthen, one minute more every morning, one minute more every evening, every day until the Summer Solstice in June when the cycle reverses.

But not today.

Mammoth Mountain High Altitude Training Center a reality at last

December 21, 2012

 

‘Slopeside Center’ revamped; hundreds of athletes here

Sometimes, dreams really do come true.

Dave McCoy’s vision of a high-altitude training center at Mammoth Mountain—a dream that has passed through generations of racers and coaches—will come to fruition Thursday afternoon (Dec. 27).

Off the trail: Soaked

December 14, 2012

The sleet poured down in great, slanting sheets as I walked the narrow, unplowed road. I bent my (hatless) head into the wind and picked up my drenched and booted feet and kept walking. Cars passed me, casting off heavy chunks of rain-soaked snow from their spinning tires, soaking me even more.

It didn’t really matter at that point—it was impossible to get much wetter.

“What a @# $@ idiot,” I mumbled to myself, rain dripping off my face, not one word in three fit to print.

COLOSSAL Village Championships begin at Mammoth Mountain

December 14, 2012

In one of the more enduring traditions that Mammoth has to offer, the Village Championships rank among the top.

For 37 years, the locals in Mammoth have raced each other on the racecourses at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, and it’s no time to stop now.

With good snow cover expected throughout the season, the VCs open Jan. 8 and continue through the Finals on April 9.

The old hands will be at it again, with new faces once more popping into view.

The theme this season is “COLOSSAL,” said Drew Krempel of the ski area’s race department.

The ever audacious, daring, bold, and defiant Chair 23

November 30, 2012

It might be the most madcap carnival ride in all of California.

Chair 23, a fixed-grip triple that recently was named among the “Top Seven Iconic Chairlifts in the World” by a notable ski website, rises to the top of the Mammoth Mountain crest as one of the hairiest rides on any ski hill anywhere.

“It’s definitively a sphincter-tightening ride,” said Mammoth Mountain Ski Area CEO Rusty Gregory, who as a young strapper on his way up the chain of command helped build the lift in 1982.

WARREN MILLER: The world is a different place every night I hop into bed

November 30, 2012

Girls basketball re-launches at Mammoth High School

November 16, 2012

After a hiatus of three seasons, girls basketball is back at Mammoth High School.

In the first tryouts for the new program, 33 girls took a stab at the nets under the watchful eye of new coach William Bauman, a 26-year-old long, tall—really tall—drink of water from Minnesota.

“Basketball is turning a corner in town,” said Bauman, who was recently married to Mammoth local John Eastman’s daughter, Danielle.

“It’s just the greatest sport ever invented.”

Bauman said he played a bit of college hoops before arriving in Mammoth, and is familiar with women’s basketball in particular.

Brand new running track opens Saturday, Nov. 17

November 16, 2012

The new track on Benton Crossing Road near the Whitmore Animal Shelter is ready to go.

Its Grand Opening is Saturday, Nov. 17, at noon with members of the Mammoth Track Club, town officials and the track’s main proponent, runner Elaine Smith. 

Off the trail: Three bear night

November 16, 2012

In the dark November night, the snow-struck silence is broken by a cacophony of noise and the floor of the bedroom erupts.

My border collie Skye slams up on top of the bed from the floor, bouncing on her toes, barking at the closed window.

We pull the curtain back, and shine the big flashlight, hastily retrieved from its home under the bed, toward the cars and parking lot just 30 feet from the window.

Off the trail: Swing State

November 2, 2012

 

Plunging one sandaled foot into the knee-deep snow, the other sliding on icy slush and mud, tired from the last two hours of the same, I was starting to dream about warm summer beaches.

I had climbed up this remote canyon north of Bridgeport last Saturday with the devil at my heels, running from winter, chasing gold.

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