Mammoth – Newb on the Slopes

What an adventure this was. Who knew that learning to do something so exhilaratingly-painful could be so much fun. This post is pretty much a log of the events that transpired over the past 4 days. So it’s just going to be laid out in that fashion.

Okay, so onto…

Day 1: Thursday, March 12, 2009

The four of us left Marina Del Rey at about 4 and got caught up in traffic heading to UCLA to drop off a car. After that though, the 405 kind of “lightened” up. Once off the 405 and on whatever freeway takes you up there, then it was smooth sailing.

The driver...his wife...and some transient next to me.

That was the car crew. Some pics of the actual drive up now:

Vasquez RocksLast gas for many many miles.Passing through Bishop.

So here we are, passing through the lovely town of Bishop. A quick story and observation…The highway to get to Mammoth requires driving through the main downtown streets through these mostly one main downtown street. Therefore, the speed limit gets reduced from 65 to 55 to 45 … to finally 25. This is pretty slow, but thankfully the town is only about 2 miles long before the highway starts again.

My observation is that the locals have plate covers that state either “Bishop” or “Bishop Perry Motors.” My deduction is that the cops use this to separate the locals from the out of town folks. Why would they do this? To ticket the tourists of course. Well, that’s my theory. The mind gets very creative on a long drive. But should you pass through this little town, check out the plates on the passing cars.

Anyways, back to it. The first video is us arriving in Bishop. The second is us trying to find the office location in Mammoth so that we can get our room keys.

This one has some good banter.

You know, sometimes you’re just too focused to really pay attention to anything else.

Day 2: Friday, March 13, 2009

Chris and I woke up, made breakfast, and headed out for the first day of intensity.

Walking up.ShadowsGetting ready.

We got our lift tickets, I rented my boots, hot waxed our skis and board, and now we’re ready to go. My first run would be Schoolyard. We could have taken Canyon up, but Schoolyard just sounded more appropriate at the moment; and it was.

After some instruction, I finally got some control and found my balance. Kind of. The first thing to learn was heel side leafing. This was pretty easy and I was able to do it somewhat effectively down halfway. Then my legs got tired and we took a quick break.

Yup.Trying to toe itMr. Playboy

We did one more run on Schoolyard then headed up to a higher slope (Canyon). Here we met up with my bro and sil. I was ready to thrash up the mountain, but my front binding broke. This was a bummer, but at least the lift operator who called in a snowmobile for me was talkative and pretty attractive. So it wasn’t too bad.

At the top of CanyonWhat a great viewIt's pretty steep

But after a long delay and a white knuckle snowmobile ride down to the base, I got my binding fixed and then we took a nice little break just to relax our muscles.

Carrying the boardsWalking to a comfortable placeI've got to get some reflective goggles!

This is the last video from the day. About the second to last run. By this point I was able to leaf comfortably well.


Day 3: Saturday, March 14, 2009

This day started off like any other. Except this time, we’d be eating like champs! For breakfast, 2 scrambled jumbo eggs, 1/2 lb Farmer John’s Pork Sausage (original flavor), bacon-oil seasoned hash browns, topped with bacon for added texture.

CookingYumStages of development

After chowing down and almost falling into breakfast coma, we managed to make our way back to the slopes for another day of fun. This time though, the snow was more frozen, and not as forgiving as the previous day. I fell pretty good many times on the first run of the day.

Good thing I wore a helmet. I got laid out pretty good.

On another run, there was some Red Bull sponsored event happening which was pretty cool. The last one is especially great because this daring person ate a good amount of snow.

The rest of the day was fun as usual. I started to finally get carving and actually did a carve or two. It was a proud moment I would say. So that’s what the second day was used for, pure training and learning to carve.

My top strap broke which was a shame. At this point, it was already 3pm so we decided to call it a day. Too bad we were also quite a ways from our original starting location. This meant we had to take a bus and a gondola to get back to where we wanted to go.

On the busA fun rideUp we go

For some reason, I was transfixed on that driveway.

Well, that’s pretty much the trip. Sunday we spent cleaning and driving back. Which by the way, if you decide to head on back, I would recommend stopping at Schats Bakery and Mahogany Smoked Meats. Some fine selections of baked goods and then jerky!

I would say though, that despite the falls and pain that comes with it, that this was definitely worth it. I am really looking forward to next season too and taking advantage of some off season sales. I can’t believe I was missing out on all of this for all these past years. If you haven’t been, then you would have to give it a shot just to see if it’s something you would enjoy. Just be prepared to get slightly frustrated. Also, it’s a good idea to have a helmet and padding if you can find them. Butt padding. Trust me. And wrist guards.

If you want to check out the entire photo album, then click here.

Related posts:

Exploring the Allison Mine
Olancha Peak
Photos from Icehouse Canyon on Saturday (1/23/10)

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 16th, 2009 at 9:36 pm and is filed under Trip Report. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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