Report from July 21, 2023
The 3:45 a.m. alarm started to go off after a restless, anticipation-filled night attempting to sleep.
We both knew it was finally the day we would get to ski and ride at Mammoth Mountain, CA, for our first time.
With roughly 3 hours of driving south down Highway 395 from South Lake Tahoe ahead of us, we were on the road by 4:30 a.m.
It was pitch black driving over Daggett Summit, leaving the Tahoe basin into Gardnerville.
However, the sun quickly made a beautiful appearance as we cruised by Topaz Lake.
The morning sun revealed remarkable amounts of luxuriant, green vegetation sprawled across the high desert valley floors and into the surrounding mountainsides for the entire drive.
After getting stuck in a half hour of traffic, we arrived at Mammoth at 7:30, booted up, and started to the Panorama Gondola.
As a first-timer to this breathtaking mountain, I was instantly overcome by awe and appreciation.
The sheer size, the amount of snow, and the fact that we could still ride top-to-bottom in the second half of July.
We reached the summit just a few moments after briefly preparing to unload at mid-station (yeah, yeah… rookie mistake, I know).
Unfamiliar with the terrain and unsure of what kind of conditions to expect, we made our way skiers left to check out Cornice Bowl.
The vast and magical mountain backdrop on the traverse was one of a kind, with giant peaks and lots of snow still lingering up high.
Dropping in, much to my surprise, my unwaxed, virtually edgeless, untuned old skis took right off, hauling full speed down the hill.
I linked some turns, got a little loose due to the unsuspectingly fast snow, and found a nice side hit to send over and over.
We got to the bottom of the long-awaited Chair 23, completely blown away by the perfect snow quality.
“How in the world is it this damn good right now? It’s almost August!” we proclaimed.
After a few more laps on 23, we decided to check out chair 3, Face Lift Express.
The hot summer sun was baking the snow to slush and our skin to a crisp, yet the skiing and vibes remained truly perfect.
Wondering how slow the snow turned towards the bottom, we took a long lap down to Main Lodge.
Although there was a noticeable stickiness and grabbiness, we still cruised to Chair 1, Broadway Express, with no problem.
We even scored some awesome Mammoth beanies they were handing out!
Noon rolled around too soon, but not before more than a dozen high-speed, freakishly fun laps on this unbelievable mountain.
“Why did we wait so long to come here?” we thought, “and when are we coming back next?”
Kudos and many thanks to Mammoth Mountain and their staff for the endless hard work to keep the shred alive this season.
With the exciting recent announcement of an additional week of skiing and riding, the summer shred will continue until August 6, 2023.
It was time to hit the road, so we drove to June Lake for a refreshing swim and basked in the scalding sun for a while.
A quick detour up Tioga Pass showed the extensive damage from this past winter and the clean-up to get the road fully open.
The amount of snow still above 10,000 feet was insane, and the waterfalls and streams were going off all around us.
I cannot begin to imagine how these mountains looked back this spring and during this record-breaking winter.
What an outstanding and unforgettable summer day spent at Mammoth Mountain and in the Sierra Nevadas.