This trip started as most of ours do, ranting in a late night session about how rad it would be to “insert awesome thing here”, current topic…. west coast pow. We threw out a bunch of great places, and for no particular reason, Mammoth stuck. Well, next thing we know our travel agent and cohort in crime Ann has us booked and packing. It was the usual suspects, Ann, Clinton and Lance. The four of us went out to Park City a few years ago and had an absolute blast, here we find ourselves again. I have a glamorized perception of rolling through the airport with a snowboard bag. I always think it is the coolest thing, because it means that you are about to fly somewhere sick to ride, this lasts for about 5 min and then I realize it’s heavy, awkward, and broken. Ann didn’t like it after 5 min either, so I got hers too. And yet, it was still awesome. Hop, skip, tylenol pm and a jump and we are in Mammoth, CA landing at what looks quite a bit like a self storage facility in the middle of nowhere. Apparently it’s big enough to land a plane on, because we did. Good times for everyone…… except the kid who we were all secretly psyched wasn’t one of us, waiting for his bag and realizing that after the last bag that came out wasn’t his, there where no more. Looks like someone’s renting for the week.
I love arriving at places like that at night because you wake up in the morning and look out and think, holy shit….. that looks amazing!! Lance and Clinton essentially taught me to ride, and I’ve been playing catch up since. Ann’s no slouch either. She’ll kill it on the slopes, cook you lunch, plan dinner, make a bunch of new friends and still have time to catch that last lift for one more run. I love riding with these guys. Before we headed out I made sure everyone had downloaded the new Mammoth Mountain App that I had been obsessed with for a month before I got out there. You leave it running in your pocket on your Iphone and it keeps track of how many vertical feet you descend, how long your runs take, how many miles you cover, what trails you were on in real time, and what proved to be all of our personal favorite statistic, how many mph we had reached. I’m willing to bet that if they looked at high speed accidents before and after the release of this app, there would be a discrepancy. We live in a world where, for better or worse, you no longer have to wonder. We have spent years ending runs or days with questions like , how fast had we gone, or was that the trail we had been on when, whatever. 4 days, 51,753 vertical feet, 63.6 miles, and topped out at 65mph…….. Clinton said he got 74 mph, but to quote our friend Brian… pic or it didn’t happen.
As I said before, the catalyst for this trip had been to ride some west coats pow. Yeah…… they got 20ft of snow in Dec., none in Jan., none while we were there, and about another 25ft since we left. Apparently one of us has been a terrible person this year, cause we got f’d on this one. That being said, I will ride all the hard pack and icy conditions they can throw at me if it means I’m riding out there. One major advantage was that, people spoiled by tons of pow, couldn’t be bothered to ride conditions like this, and thats most of what we ride out here, so it was no big deal to us and we had the place to ourselves. Top to bottoms without crossing paths with anyone you weren’t there with….. I’ll take it.
We picked up a couple of friends along the way. Kelly and Jason are two super rad Aussie kids who decided last minute on their break, that they would head to the U.S. and go on a 3 week road trip. They saw more in 3 weeks here than most Americans will venture to see in their lifetime. Having never seen snow before, they figured, why not spend a few days of their trip at Mammoth learning to ride, and ride they did. Now, I know I said before that it didn’t snow at all while we were there, but it did flurry for a little while, so I was glad they at least got to see snow coming down, even if it was only a little. Right before we headed home I hooked up with them for a bit to capture their newfound riding skills and a little bit of trail side cuteness. These two are rock stars, and perfect examples of what spontaneity should be.
At the end of the day, pow or no pow, this trip was nothing short of epic. Tons of great pics, even more great memories, a new high score to beat and some new friends……. here’s to the next one. I figure if I plant enough Heli-riding seeds around Ann, who knows where we’ll end up next year!
I get ideas for photos stuck in my head sometimes. They haunt me until I find them. The above picture has been in my head for years and I have never been able find the right place for it. When I saw this ridge I told myself that if I came home with nothing more than that one picture I had been searching for, I would call it a success. I couldn’t be happier with how both of these came out, I am bummed that I don’t know either of these guys, I just waited patiently and hoped something like this would happen at the ridge. I feel either of them would be pretty stoked with this on their wall. That’s ok, I’ll put it on my wall and be stoked for them.
the lights are the groomers on the back side of the mountain, not UFO’s landing as I had previously suspected
stitched panorama from the top of the gondola
I started an ongoing project years ago. I photograph my feet in a way that represents or show where I am. I have hundreds, I want thousands. Someday, years from now, I’ll put them all together in a giant photomosaic.
I am rarely happier than when I am on a snowboard
Ann, Lance, Clinton, Me
the above is a single frame so you can see them better on the trail below
below is 5 photos stitched as a panorama. notice the lack of anybody but us on the entire back side of the mountain
Lance wore his camouflage jacket
Kelly & Jason
Oh yeah, and did I mention that Shaun White was there! He heard I was up there that week and had been wanting to get some tips from me for the next Olympics, I hooked him up with a few tips…. good luck Shaun!
Lance was appalled that he was taking the chairlift up instead of having the Red Bull heli bring him tho the top of the park. I explained, what’s the point to having your own gold plated chair on the lift if you’re just gonna take the heli.
San Fran @ night
Boston in the am