Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

All the news for April 1



By G.D. Maxwell

Spring has sprung and winter is finally upon us… today. Tomorrow? Who knows? We may be planting bananas or embracing cardiac arrest from shoveling out our driveway now that the friendly snow clearing company who usually does mine seems to have vanished from our tropical winter paradise.

Global warming – an accepted scientific phenomenon everywhere in the world except the U.S. where such wild theories as, oh, evolution are under attack by the Islamic, er, Christian fundamentalists – is expressing itself as more a roulette wheel of weather than a scorched-earth reality. Springlike weather, snowdrops and crocuses popping up in February, powder days in April. Can’t wait to see what summer brings, other than water restrictions and wildfires.

But spring is undeniably the time of renewal and one of the things that crop up every year along with the first shoots of new growth are wacky, wacky news stories. This year is no exception.

I’m not talking about the Darwin Award kind of news stories, though admittedly the Darwin winner who was attempting to siphon gas from a Seattle motorhome and stuck his hose into the sewage holding tank by mistake is a wacky, wacky story according to the report filed by police who found the culprit curled up next to the RV, puking his guts out. No, I’m talking about stories like these you might have missed.

South of the border, there’s a bunfight going on to determine who will purchase the remaining – and controlling – interest in Mammoth Mountain ski area. Renown ski pioneer, Dave McCoy, who, contrary to well-circulated rumours is still alive, is now ready to sell the rest of the LA playground he built from scratch sometime in the last century.

Leading contenders are our own Intrawest, who has been rebuilding the town of Mammoth in its own image for the past decade and who owns 55 per cent, more or less, of the company’s shares; one of those other big, Colorado ski companies whose name can’t be mentioned without conjuring the Devil; Disney – whose founder, Walt himself, casts a long shadow over Mammoth, having been a close, personal friend of Dave’s – and longtime Mammoth honcho and family friend, Rusty Gregory, considered a dark horse.

The outcome is uncertain but this much is known. If that unnamed Colorado ski company ponys up the winning bid, Intrawest will probably sell to (a) avoid the appearance of collusion and risk the sweeping spotlight of the newly-emboldened antitrust gang, and (b) because Big Joe once said he’d rather dance with the devil than learn the Colorado two-step.