The Soul of Mammoth - Ski Mag

The Soul of Mammoth

Pack the car the night before, wake at a ridiculous hour, layer long underwear under track pants, then pull away from the world of rustling palm fronds, bougainvillea, and perennial hibiscus flowers before L.A.’s 10 million or so other residents wake up and clog the roads.
Author:
Publish date:
The Soul of Mammoth tout

Mammoth is the third most visited ski resort in the United States, although it has often ranked second and even first. For southern Californians, the big mountain’s enduring appeal is elemental—part of the cosmology of California living, like a reset button for the Angeleno soul.

The journey from one big, bold Golden State reality to another is key. The trick is to leave home well before dawn. Pack the car the night before, wake at a ridiculous hour, layer long underwear under track pants, then pull away from the world of rustling palm fronds, bougainvillea, and perennial hibiscus flowers before L.A.’s 10 million or so other residents wake up and clog the roads. At this hour, freeways flow in a flash from beachfront ’burbs through Valley sprawl, then slip through the San Gabriels and stream into the Mojave Desert. Strip malls give way to wide-open spaces. Dawn illuminates the rugged Owens Valley—think John Wayne or Ben Cartwright—with its red rock and tumbleweeds, its Joshua trees and vintage motels. The Sierra Nevada surges skyward on the left. Puffs rise from heat vents in the earth’s crust. The mind slows and the heart rate drops. The body says, “Ahh.”

By late morning, the car is parked alongside a huge snowbank, steps from Mammoth’s Stump Alley Express. Two quick lift rides lead to Mammoth’s 11,053-foot summit, where arid wilderness vistas extend for hundreds of miles in every direction—and wind-buffed steeps beg to be skied. One run later and L.A. is but a distant memory.

Image placeholder title
Image placeholder title

Related

Culture Club SoCal tout

A SoCal Culture Club

Part Vegas, part skatepark, the most diverse ski destination in North America just might hold the secret to skiing’s future. Welcome to California’s Big Bear Mountain Resorts.

3-way challenge

The Mammoth Three Way Challenge

When you think 4th of July, you probably think: fireworks, cookouts, and beach-side festivities. When the people at Mammoth think of 4th of July they think: skiing, golfing, and mountain biking.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Governor of California

Arnold Schwarzenegger Skis at Mammoth

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hit the slopes at Mammoth this week to participate in an after-school event for children. If we could spend a day skiing with the Austrian Governator, here's what we'd ask him.