UC San Diego Ski & Snowboard Alumni Weekend Race
The final race of the 18-19 season is upon us, and with that comes the final race report of the year. The race this weekend was the exclusive Alumni Weekend Race where alumni from our glorious home base, UC San Diego, can come and race against the current UC San Diego and other South Western League racers, and of course alumni from the other schools are welcome. From the families of our current UC San Diego racers, we had Jeff’s dad Dave, Oliver’s dad Rick and Tobin’s dad Ron. While the characters were set for what would be a fantastic weekend of racing, the weather had other plans.
Friday consisted of a full whiteout day with strong winds and almost no visibility. The weather may have been brutal but there was good snow to find. Sadly Mammoth followed its recent trend of extreme fear of any kind of weather and closed many of the lifts below the mid lodge. Saturday consisted of much better conditions with potentially great wind buff on the upper mountain. With expectations high and races ahead, all the athletes were in high anticipation of getting a look down a spicy GS course for the last time this year. While a bluebird day looked like the call, the wind was still brutal. At the top of the race course gusts were reaching 95mph and our volunteers were scrambling to keep the race sheets in order. While the alumni tried their best to defeat our experienced racers, they had no chance. Both Jack Beaver and Tobin Groth had a solid showing breaking the top 5 with a 4th and 1st place finish. The dads did not finish quite so close but ordered Rick, Dave and Ron in finishing order. Ron was convinced he had raced quicker and proceeded to complain to his son about the timing device the rest of the day. With athletes frothing due to the solid conditions on the race course, the snowboard racers were rearing to get onto the course and lay into some groomers, fatty style. This race would be the first time our lovely Chris Johnson would return to the mountain. Amped and ready to lay his blade on edge, Chris was stoked to be able to shred the mountain once again. As Mammoth Race Crew set up the snowboard GS, weather continued to be ruthless. Wind steadily increased and nearly all Main Lodge lifts closed, keeping all athletes from being able to reach the race course.
With our UC San Diego pals stuck at Main Lodge, the disgruntled athletes returned to their domicile to mentally prepare for what might be the most intense event of the year: The Boarding for Breast Cancer Raffle. With many fantastic prizes to be had, money was donated, tickets were acquired and the games were afoot. UC San Diego had a solid showing and won the most amount of prizes at the raffle, but unfortunately could not come away with one of the main prizes of a brand new snowboard. That night as our UC San Diego athletes prepared for their slumber, the wind continued to howl, hope and anticipation of what Mother Nature could be cooking up overnight was all on the racers minds. The next day began with eyes glued to iPhones, checking to see what lifts would be open. Eyes began to widen and smiles crept over their faces as they saw the light blue triangle of an expected chair next to nearly all lifts, including Chair 23 and the Upper Gondola. The dads were the first to hit the slopes and informed all the riders of the stellar conditions that awaited them on this fateful day. While many groups were skiing, it was not til the afternoon that the allure of the top of the mountain was too strong for each individual and drew the different groups of athletes together where they converged above oh so gnarly Drop out Chutes. On this run would begin one of the best group mobs that has occurred at Mammoth this season. It was dads, it was skiers, it was boarders, it was 8 individuals charging through the gnarliest terrain Mammoth had to offer, followed by winded gondola rides to do it all again. The chutes were shredded, the wind buff was blasted, and the legs were cooked. Our riders got to experience the thrill of a good run down Hangman’s Hollow and got to huck of the cornice above Dave’s Run, all while experiencing some of the best wind buff the year had to offer.
The original plan was only to ski until 1:30pm and head back to clean the cabin so our athletes could do their due diligence and clean like responsible individuals. As the conditions improved, responsibilities were thrown out the window and all that matters was hacking away at the best white stuff in North America. Our skiers lasted until nearly 3:00pm where they then rushed back and promptly cleaned the cabin in preparation for the final weekend in Mammoth. Showers were had, carpets were vacuumed and cars were packed with gear and people as the time for departed arrived. Three full cars left of stoked and frothed out individuals that could only hope that Mammoth had a few more weekends like this left to offer. It was truly the final race weekend we all needed, spicy enough to keep the fires fueling. With that my fellow shredders, I must depart and see you again next season.