June 17, 2011
By George Shirk, Times Senior Writer
Ready to have 50,000 people land on your front porch?
Under plans announced this week, Mammoth’s airport next winter will handle four flights a day, seven days a week. It will also handle seven flights a day on the busy Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday weekends.
Moreover, the airport will serve travelers from San Diego and Orange County for the first time, fulfilling the wishes of Mammoth-loving SoCals who found the trip to Los Angeles International as irritating as the six-eight-hour drive up here.
“We pretty much have all the contracts in place,” said Mammoth Mountain Ski Area’s Howard Pickett, the director of marketing.
Pickett made his announcement at the Mammoth Lakes Town Council meeting on Wednesday. He was at the meeting to protect the new semi-permanent visitor structure at the airport from the brutal budget cuts in which the council was engaged.
“Certainly by next winter it will be mandatory that we have that structure,” he said.
“We’ll have 50,000 visitors going through the airport, and the airport will be the first impression and last impression they’ll have of Mammoth.”
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June 15, 2011
Tioga Road to Open in Yosemite National Park
Visitors urged to take safety precautions while traveling on road.
Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher announced today that the Tioga Road will open for the season on Saturday, June 18, 2011, at 8:00 a.m. for all vehicle traffic. The Tioga Road, bounded on both sides by State Highway 120, is the popular east-west crossing of the Sierra Nevada. Vault toilets are available in several locations along the road.
There are several no-stopping zones along the road, which are clearly marked with road signs.
Due to the heavy snowpack this past winter (199% of normal) and a cool spring, there is still several feet of snow in the Tuolumne Meadows area. Hiking opportunities are extremely limited and visitors are urged to use extreme caution in the area. Additionally, ice is prevalent throughout the area and stream crossings are treacherous.
All campgrounds along the Tioga Road are closed. All commercial services, including the gas station, store, and village grill, are also closed. There are no anticipated opening dates for any of these facilities at this time.
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Story by Stacy Corless
There’s often talk of Mammoth being the next Aspen or Vail. How about Vikersund?
That’s in Norway, where the Nordic sport of biathlon originated. Biathlon is a big deal in its birthplace, where tens of thousands of fans flock to races that combine high-speed cross-country skiing with precision target-shooting.
Mammoth’s winter biathlon might eventually be that kind of draw. In its first two years, the still-budding biathlon has already attracted more competitors and spectators than any other Nordic skiing event in Mammoth’s history.
“I think we’ll get 200 racers this year—four times the turnout for a typical Nordic race,” says Mike Karch, the local shoot/ski movement’s catalyst.
If anyone can convince the snow-loving visitors to, and citizenry of, Mammoth to pick up a .22-caliber rifle and take aim, it’s Karch. The energetic, engaging 40-year-old orthopedic surgeon and Nordic skiing enthusiast has an Olympic vision.
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