Spring-A-Ma-Jig set at Mountain High this weekend

Spring-A-Ma-Jig, Mountain High’s annual
spring break celebration, returns Friday through Sunday for three big days of on-snow celebration. Daily activities
include Pond Skimming, the Big Ollie, and the Frozen T-Shirt Contest.

The third annual Miss Mountain High Bikini Pageant takes place Saturday and Sunday marks the grand finale of the 2011 Toyota
Sweepstakes. One lucky winner will take home a brand new Toyota Prius
courtesy of Mountain High and the Southern California Toyota Dealers
Association.

There will be live music, DJs, vendors, giveaways, and
tons of spring break fun. All events with the exception of the Neff
Beach Jib Jam are free with paid admission. See below for a complete
listing of events and activities.

Friday
11 am
Big Ollie – Snowboarders must “ollie” as high as they can in this
heart pumping competition. The bar goes up after each round until only
one rider remains.
12 pm Tug O War – A new spin on an old favorite.
This Tug of War takes place in the snow and the loosing team might end
up in the pond.
2 pm Frozen T-Shirt Contest – 10 t-shirts have
been frozen in the icy tundra of Mountain High’s North Resort and the
competitors must break them apart and put them on. First one to dawn
their frozen shirt wins a goody bag filled with Mountain High swag.

3 pm Pond Skimming – The quintessential event at
any spring break. Skiers and snowboarders must cross a 50 foot pond
filled with freezing cold water or suffer the consequences.

Saturday
10 am
NEFF Beach Jib Jam – Produced by NEFF beanies, the Neff Beach Jib Jam
is a rail jam in Mountain High’s famed Playground Jib Park with five
different features including a water hole. Yes, you will probably get
wet! Riders have 15 minutes to session each feature and score their
best trick. $20 to enter. Free NEFF beanie for all participants. Open
and grom divisions. $1,000 cash prize. Free food & drink. DJ
Mike Bless and much more.
1 pm Miss Mountain High Bikini Pageant
The
Miss Mountain High Pageant is free to enter and all participants
receive a FREE bikini from Fresh Peaches. Winner takes home a 2011/12
Season Pass, an Ellis snowboard, 2 tickets to the “Big 4″ concert, and
is named next year’s Miss Mountain High. Registration begins on the
West deck at 11 am. All contestants must be 18 years of age or older.
Competition kicks off at 1 pm. Immediately following the event is a
meet & great with the new Miss Mountain High plus live music from
Stone Stanley on the main stage. Click here for complete rules and
regulations. http://www.mthigh.com/events/MissMtHigh.html
2 pm Frozen T-Shirt Contest
3 pm Pond Skimming

Sunday, March 27, 2011
11 am Big Ollie
12 pm Tug O War
1 pm Toyota Sweepstakes – Click here to enter to win a brand new Toyota Prius. http://www.mthigh.com/surveys/toyota_10v2.htm
Sweepstakes ends March 20, 2011. Five contestants will be chosen
and, through a series of fun, winter-themed competitions, one luck
winner will drive away in a brand new Prius, Toyota’s record-breaking
hybrid with a combined 50 MPG rating. Entry is free. Must be 18 years
or older and a Southern California resident to enter. See the link
above for complete rules and regulations.
2 pm Frozen T-Shirt Contest
3 pm Pond Skimming

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Mammoth combines art exhibit with terrain park

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Photo by Marlene Greer, Correspondent

By Marlene
Greer

Correspondent

 

Snowboarding is all about self-expression. Its jumps, flips and twists
are a creative blend of movement and athleticism displayed in a graceful air
ballet. Snowboarding is an art, and some snowboarders are also
artists.

So what better way for Mammoth Mountain to pay tribute to a local fallen
snowboarder than with an art exhibit that’s also a terrain
park?

Mammoth’s Art Park is a first of its kind for the ski resort. It’s a
melding of original works of art into something that can be ridden on, jumped
off or just enjoyed in its outdoor gallery setting on one of the mountain’s
named runs. The exhibit, “I am Snowboarding,” honors Jeffrey Lin Anderson, a
professional snowboarder, artist and Mammoth resident who died in 2003 at the
age of 23.

  “A lot of artists are influenced by
action sports. Snowboarders are influenced by art. Their tricks are influenced
by art, music and lifestyle. That integration between art and snow; we wanted to
create that connection,” said Josh Chauvet, action sports brand manager for
Mammoth Mountain.

“I am Snowboarding” is an art project created by the Jeff Anderson
Memorial Fund to raise money for the construction of the Brothers skateboard
park in Mammoth Lakes, which opened in Sept. 2005. For the project,
photographers were teamed with artists to create a one-of-a-kind work of art.
Photographers submitted a favorite photo of Jeff which was enlarged and placed
on canvas. The artists, using various mediums, applied their artistic touches
overtop the photographs, transforming then into unique works of art. The
23-piece exhibit traveled around the country and to Japan in
2010.

But it was at Mammoth where terrain expert and metalworker Dustin del
Giudice turned the artworks into his own masterpieces. Del Giudice, a longtime
snowboarder and owner of a metal shop in Mammoth, transferred the images onto
large pieces of plywood. He then used the plywood and steel to make the
strikingly colorful rails, ledges and boxes that form the Art Park.

The Art Park is located on Round Robin run off the Canyon Express lift
near Canyon Lodge. Finding it can be a challenge. With no signs on the mountain,
it’s a bit of trial and error.

For those who want to utilize the features, the park is a place where
they can ride and be creative. But it’s also a place where visitors can take a
breather from skiing or boarding and pause to read about Anderson and discover
the stories behind the photographs.

The sign at the entrance to the Art Park features a photo of a 1-year-old
Jeff and his older brother Billy dressed in Superman outfits for Halloween. The
photo was taken by their mother, Jane.

 “This is what Jeff wanted,”
Jane said in a video taken at the opening of the Art Park at Mammoth in
December. “He wanted to mesh art with snowboarding; an art with everyday life.
That’s what makes (the Art Park) so awesome.”

“Having Fun,” a joint work with photographer Stan Evans and artist Robert
Shaw, shows Anderson riding a stair rail surrounded by night and the creatures
of the night with JLA written in the stars. On a nearby plaque, Evans says this
about the photo:

“At the time, the rail we were shooting had never been done before. I got
a late night call to shoot and ended up meeting Jeffy, (photographer) Shane
Charlebois, and (pro snowboarder) Colin Langois. We ended up being there till 2
a.m., and when Jeffy pulled it, I knew I had a magical shot. Everyone was so
jazzed, but Jeffy had a plane to catch to Japan the next day so we packed it
in.

“Two days later I got a call from Shane telling me Jeffy had died in
Japan. I went from the ultimate high to the ultimate low. This shot is forever
blazed into my mind as the last time I saw Jeffy, and every time I see it, time
stops for an instant.”

Ever pushing his limits, Anderson died doing a trick. Not on a snowboard,
but on his backside. While in Japan for a snowboarding competition, he attempted
to ride the stair railing in a hotel down five flights of stairs. He made it one
flight, lost his balance and fell to his death.

One of the most stunning works in the Art Park is a self-portrait that
Anderson’s brother found on Jeff’s laptop computer after his death. The artist
turned the picture into a shadowy, fractured image in shades of black and gray.
It marks the end of the terrain park.

The Art Park will be up until April 18, the date when Canyon Lodge is set
to close for the season.

 

Marlene Greer is a
La Verne freelance writer. She can be reached at
mmgwrite@aol.com

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Deep freeze doesn’t keep skiers from enjoying Canada’s Lake Louise

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Photos by Marlene Greer, Correspondent

By Marlene Greer, Correspondent

          It was -6 degrees when my daughter and
I hit the slopes of Lake Louise at 9 a.m. But we felt lucky. The day before it
was -22 degrees; two days ago, it was down to an impossible to ski in -24
degrees. It was so cold, we were told, the gondola could not operate, and most
of the resort was closed.

The last week of February is usually a
pleasant time to ski the Canadian Rocky Mountain resort. But this year, the cold
front sweeping across much of North America was keeping the temperatures below
zero.

Today, all lifts were open. But there
were warnings posted everywhere: “Watch for signs of frostbite. Keep skin
covered.” With wind gusts on the mountain of 17 mph, the temperature felt much
colder than it was, and frostbite was definitely a concern.

My daughter April and I layered up
with everything we had and hit the front face of the ski area first. The resort,
located within Banff National Park a few miles from the tiny town of Lake
Louise, encompasses three mountains with most of the resort’s named runs on the
front side, and the backside an incredible selection of black and double-black
diamond powder bowls for expert skiers and snowboarders.

We are intermediate skiers, but this
was April’s first time on skis for the season, and we wanted to take an easy
beginning run to get the feel of our skis and the snow.

The problem with Lake Louise, though,
is most of its beginning runs would be labeled intermediate at other resorts.
Our driver on the shuttle bus from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, where we
stayed for the weekend, had warned us about this. And he was right.

From the main base area, a 12-minute
ride on the gondola takes skiers and snowboarders to the mountain ridge.

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From
here, the map indicates Easy Meadows is a long, winding green trail from the top
back to the base area. We thought this would be a good warm up, but it turned
out to be a bit more than we wanted.

In several places the pitch was steep
for a beginning run and the trail narrowed. Both of which could be difficult for
beginning skiers to navigate. We saw one petrified skier looking down at a
particularly long, steep pitch wondering what she got herself into.

The resort categorizes itself as 25%
beginner, 45% intermediate, and 30% expert. But that’s somewhat misleading –
both on the beginning and expert calculations. If you include all the bowls on
the backside, it’s more like 50% expert, and maybe 15% beginning. But within
that 15%, beginners can ski the front and back of the mountains.

 With the temperatures so cold and no new
snow in several days, the snow was hard-packed. It was a bit crunchy and even
icy in places. Our skis at times felt gripped by the snow, like a car about to
stall.

As we worked our way across the face,
then to the top of the mountain, the wind became so fierce it turned our fingers
painfully cold within a matter of minutes – even with two sets of gloves.

We needed to find a more sheltered
spot on the mountain to ski.

Fortunately, Lake Louise is one of the
largest ski areas in North America with 4,200 skiable acres and 139 marked runs
plus its numerous bowls.  Among the
bowls on the backside are four very long runs for intermediate and beginning
skiers that gracefully meander down the slopes, all meeting at the Temple Lodge.
It was here we found the perfect place to ski.

From Temple Lodge, skiers and
snowboarders can access the fourth area of the mountain – the Larch Area.  Here, out of the wind and in the partial
sunshine, it felt warm. The snow was softer and the skiing more pleasant. This
was like a little slice of heaven after the icy, windy front face.

The 600-acre ski area on the side of a
yet another mountain has maybe a dozen or so beginning and intermediate runs.
And for those skiers who don’t want to take the lift back to the top and ski
down the face to the main lodge, there’s an easy ski-out that takes you back to
the main lodge.

Also hunkered down in this section of
the resort were Zev and his young daughter. The family has been coming to Lake
Louise every year for the past three years. And despite the severely cold
weather, he professed his love for the resort.

 “It’s my favorite ski resort in North
America – and I’ve been to all of them,” the New Yorker said. “It’s got great
terrain, and it’s not crowded.” He paused, and continued. “My wife doesn’t like
the cold (this year) and doesn’t want to come back. But we’ll be back next
year.”

His daughter nodded in
agreement.

I turned and looked at my daughter.
 She was smiling.

It seems a Canadian deep freeze won’t
keep a father and daughter – or mother and daughter – from coming back for
more.

 

Marlene Greer is a
La Verne freelance writer. She can be reached at
mmgwrite@aol.com

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Sprint US Snowboarding Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Mountain reports that the 2011 Sprint US Snowboarding Grand Prix, the longest running
domestic snowboard tour, will stop at Mammoth from Thursday to Saturday.

The riders will take to the half pipe on Saturday and then
unleash their slopestyle skills in the Unbound Terrain Park in the
final Paul Mitchell Progression Session of the season. 

Riders include 2010 US Olympic Team members Louie Vito, Greg Bretz,
Kelly Clark and Gretchen Bleiler – they’ll go big trying
to get a piece of the almost $200,000 prize purse.

Last season it
was all about the double cork – check out the Grand Prix this
season to see how snowboarding will progress in 2011!

2011 Sprint US Snowboarding Grand Prix event link: 

http://www.ussa.org/magnoliaPublic/ussa/en/events/snowboarding/competitions/grandprix

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