RIDER ON THE STORM

Last week Mammoth was bracing itself for the biggest storm

in 50 years.  The holiday vacationers

from Southern California were jumping out of the long lines at the grocery

store and fleeing the Eastern Sierra like rats from a sinking ship.  But the local faithful with enough sense to

dress for the conditions and ride the wave of stormy skiing were rewarded with

epic conditions.

“Blue skies are for punters” I hear from behind me in line

while I wait for the opening of Chair 22. 

That about sums it up.  At

Mammoth, finding untracked snow the day after a storm is like looking for a bar

with a greater ratio of women to men in a ski town.  This is why I ride the storm.  Lift lines are light.  People are stoked.  And the trees are unbelievable. 

1 Waiting for Chair 22 to open!

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2 Love the new base die-cuts.

The storm dropped about 2 feet of dry snow on top of 2-3

feet of wet.  Before this storm we were

still battling rocks here and there on most runs but this snowfall should set

us up well for the next month.  The total

snowfall claimed by the hill is seven to ten feet from Friday the 4th

until Wednesday the 9th.

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3 My Joysticks loved the new

snow at Canyon Lodge.

4 Waiting for the CHiP's to

escort myself and 50 other cars over Deadman Summit.

Saturday night I decided to head over to Lee Vining to meet

clients for a lesson at June Mt., Mammoth’s sister mountain located 30 minutes

north on Highway 395.  I worked at June

my first season in the Eastern Sierra in 2005-2006 and I loved it.  I have heard people talking at Mammoth about

what it’s like at June and mostly what I hear is how they just don’t have what

Mammoth has.  I couldn’t agree more.

June does not have lift lines, pretentiousness, or parking

troubles.  What it does have is a welcoming

atmosphere and laid back attitude with plenty of space to stretch out and get

face shots 3 days after a storm.  While

the masses were fighting each other to bust crud at Mammoth no more than 200

people were at June hooting and hollering in the deep snow when “The Face”

opened for the first time since 2006.

Last year was not kind to June.  They were open for just over three weeks in

January and then were forced to close due to lack of snow.  But you better believe that one bad season

will not break the old-world spirit of June Mt.

 

[if !vml]5 Highway 395 between Lee

Vining and June Lake.

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6 An abandoned homestead along

395.

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7 Riding up Chair J1 before

“The Face” opened.

So next storm put on your wet weather gear, grab your

low-light lenses and your fat skis and get out into the nasty.  And just remember that blue sky days are

overrated.


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