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SKIING / BOB LOCHNER : Mammoth Is It for California

“Unseasonably warm weather” is once again darkening the outlook for Thanksgiving holiday skiing in the West.

Of course, it’s not really winter yet, so maybe it’s not that unseasonable. A check of opening dates for the last half-century or so reveals that most resorts have been lucky to begin operating by early December.

One major exception is Mammoth Mountain, high in the Eastern Sierra. Dave McCoy has frequently been able to offer October skiing, but after a dry autumn or two, he installed snow-making equipment four years ago, and this weekend, it’s going to come in handy.

Mammoth, which ended its 1994-95 season on Aug. 13 and reopened briefly earlier this month, will re-reopen today on what it calls an “extremely limited” basis. That means chairlift No. 1 will be serving a Broadway run covered by at least a foot of man-made snow. Recognizing that it’s not exactly big-mountain skiing, McCoy will reduce the all-day ticket $10 to $33.

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The gondola will be running--for scenic rides and mountain bikers.

Otherwise, Californians will have to travel out of state or out of the country, to places such as Whistler-Blackcomb in Canada, if they want to ski off that turkey dinner.

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Colorado, this year living up to its self-proclaimed status as “Ski Country USA,” is already in relatively full swing. Vail-Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Telluride, Crested Butte, Loveland, Arapaho Basin, Winter Park, Eldora Mountain and Wolf Creek have been open for a week or more with snow depths ranging from 12 to 30 inches and generally about half their lifts operating.

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They will be joined today by Aspen-Snowmass, Steamboat and Purgatory.

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World Cup slaloms and giant slaloms are scheduled Saturday and Sunday at Park City, Utah, for the men and at Mont Sainte-Anne, Canada, for the women.

Snow has also been scarce so far in the Wasatch Mountains, but Park City has managed to cover one of its lower runs adequately, and the races are still on.

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This means Italy’s Alberto Tomba will have a chance to improve on his performances last weekend at Vail, where he complained about ruts in the courses and the altitude.

After finishing seventh behind Michael Von Gruenigen of Switzerland in Friday’s giant slalom, Tomba told the Associated Press, “I’m not used to this altitude [8,200 feet]. I was really tired. Alberto Tomba is now seventh in the world, but I will arrive.”

Two days later, in the slalom, he arrived in third place, helped along by Von Gruenigen’s disqualification in the second run. The winner was Austria’s Michael Tritscher.

Elfi Eder of Austria won the women’s slalom, and Germans Martina Ertl and Katja Seizinger placed 1-2 in the women’s super-giant slalom as American Picabo Street finished 11th.

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Explained Street: “My body is almost too powerful for my mind to keep up with right now.”

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Skiing Notes

“Endless Winter,” Warren Miller’s new film, will be shown again in the Southland on Dec. 2 at Gentry Auditorium in Loma Linda (6 and 8:30 p.m.) and on Dec. 2-3 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre (three times each day, starting at 2 p.m.). . . . American Hilary Lindh scratched from the World Cup women’s super-G after injuring her back in training. The top U.S. slalom finishers were 19-year-old Kristina Koznick, 11th in the women’s race, and Matt Grosjean, 21st among the men.

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