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 it’s a whole snowpile full of fun for almost everybody, “some people take this very seriously,” said Drew Kemple of the Race Department.
Usually around 100 people, aged 18-80, compete in the nine-race season, some racing with teams, others as individuals. Snowboards are welcome, as are free-heel skis, Kemple said.
The race courses are all in different formats throughout the season, including Dual Slalom, Dual Giant Slalom, FIS–style GS and the Race Department’s own Super G.
It’s a Mammoth tradition that frequently baffles, and delights, visitors as they ride up Chair 1/Broadway Express during the middle of the day.
The races always begin at noon and they’re all videotaped.
Later, at Happy Hour, the racers gather to discuss the day and do what ski racers generally do in pubs and bars.
The first and last race-day Happy Hours happen at Tusks in Main Lodge. This year, also on the racers’ Happy Hours schedules are at the Yodler, Roberto’s, Giovanni’s, Gomez’s and the Clocktower.
Last season, the top two teams in the Elite Division were the venerable Miramar Dinosaurs and the Vintage Masters.
In the Recreation Division, Andi’s Flying Circus finished first, with Fossil Fuel second and Twilight Zone third.
As for individuals, Matt Savage and Johnny Teller took first and second in the Men’s A division, while Janine Porges and Anne Winston took first and second in the women’s division.
Jay Johnson and Kelly Duff took first and second in the Men’s Legend A division.
Ryder McCormick and John Connelly finished 1-2 among the snowboarding men, while Isabel Connelly and Pam Solano won the women’s division.