Words by the Jaded Local
Photography by Christian Pondella
It’s not all heli rides and Industry Events here in the Ski Media. Sure, you’ve been mountain biking for months, all the pro skiers went to Baja to surf in April, and the editors are kicked back in their cubicles surreptitiously looking at pornography on their iPhones. Meanwhile, in Mammoth, Extreme Freeski-Mountaineering Photographer Christian Pondella and the Jaded Local have kept their noses to the grindstone, gritting it out to the very end.
Dateline: Mammoth, July 5
After countless days of heartbreakingly good powder skiing and the third biggest winter on record (550″), Mammoth Mountain finally wrapped up its ski season last Monday with killer slush bumps, Cali sunshine, and about seven hundred shredders in silly outfits.
There were laughing girls in traditional Bavarian dresses slaying Climax, Captain America and a happy man with a mustache and pink spandex tights ripping Cornice Bowl together, barrages of snowballs flying through the air majestically, high-fives were slapped, cheap beer was spilled on thrift store one-pieces. It was glorious, a fitting end to a Sierra powder season that didn’t stop until May 28th – about eight straight months of lift-served good times.
This was simply an amazing winter; we’ve had bigger years, but none so consistent, with cold powder every couple of days, perfect winds, and great stability in the BC. Topping it off with months of bonus-round spring skiing was just plain decadent.
The hill deserves some major credit for starting up in October and keeping the operation rocking right until the end– even though the crowds hardly justified it, the resort was still doing avalanche control work in late May, cutting a full-size pipe until last week, and salting/grooming the heck out of everything to keep it smooth and slippery. All that for a few race camps, some token pros taking advantage of the park, and derelicts like us. Thanks Mammoth! And anyone who skied up there should buy a patroller a drink – they did a massive number of AC days this winter with a pretty small crew.
My only complaint is that I pretty much blew all my summer beer money on two extra months of apres-skiing, so now I have to get a paper route or something. On the plus side, at this point I can just leave all my skis in the back of the truck, because winter’s right around the corner.