Outposts

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Category: Snowmobiling

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area lays off 101 employees

Winter enthusiasts get a lift near Juniper Springs.

Sad but not unexpected news for employees at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area: job cuts.

CEO Rusty Gregory, in an interview with KSRW radio, or Sierra Wave, confirmed that 101 employees have been fired and other cost-cutting measures were enacted to make up for a sharp drop in skier-visits.

Revenue at the Eastern Sierra resort, which offers some of the world's finest skiing and snowboarding, is down 21% from preseason projections. And the projected number of skier visits for this season has been reduced from 1.4 million to 1.1 million.

Gregory said 10 senior managers received 5% pay cuts. Vacation time has been shortened and gas allowances have been eliminated. Gregory, however, assured that none of the cuts will jeopardize the safety of visitors.

Meanwhile, snow conditions remain outstanding and lift lines are ridiculously short. I won't say that's  a good thing, because it isn't.

On a related note: Nearby June Mountain, which is under the same ownership, probably will remain open at least through February, thanks to advance bookings.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Winter enthusiasts get a lift near Juniper Springs. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times

Levi LaVallee's double-back-flip on a snowmobile: pre-X Games video

Levi LaVallee during his second rotation while double-back-flipping his snowmobile at the Winter X Games. Perhaps the most intense moments during the Winter X Games in Aspen were those preceding Levi LaVallee's attempt to double- back-flip his 450-pound snowmobile during the "Next-Trick" or best-trick competition.

Why?

Because very real consequences for under-rotating were  becoming paralyzed or dying.

Fortunately, the Red Bull snowmobiler athlete did not under-rotate and land upside down. Unfortunately, he over-rotated slightly and was bounced from his seat upon impact, so the gold medal went to Dane Ferguson or his trick, called a "Twist Off."

But Levi did land on his feet and celebrated, with both arms raised, his survival and becoming the first person to pull off the double in a competition.

It was reminiscent of Travis Pastrana's memorable double on his motorcycle during the 2006 Summer X Games. But Pastrana stuck his landing and claimed the gold.

The video below is not of the X Games' Next-Trick competition. But it does provide entertaining insight into preparations for the trick and what was going through the daredevil's mind.

Enjoy:

--Pete Thomas

Photo: Levi LaVallee during his second rotation while double-back-flipping his snowmobile at the Winter X Games. Credit: Zach Ornitz/Shazamm/ESPN Images

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