Joe And Skiing
My name is Joe and I miss you intensely. I know, it was my choice to move to southern California years ago and I was the one that let our relationship slide. Yeah, the beach is cool.
But, there’s nothing like powder. Or more to the point, powder blowing in your face and pouring over your head on those silent winter mornings as you glide through the trees or tear down some steep face. Or launching off of a backcountry booter into powder with a bunch of good buddies.
But now I even miss carving groomers. And the park. Especially a well-sculpted jump. (Rails, not so much; they’re kinda like skim-boarding in the ocean—a whole lot of running and jumping without much return.)
The thing is. Skiing, I want you back, and if you give me a second chance, I’ll never take you for granted again.
I saw you in a couple of online galleries the other day. You looked hot.
This is Mammoth Mountain, in the Eastern Sierra. Skiing is still a little pissed at you but wants you to be happy so he, she, err, it forwarded your e-mail on to me.
I think I can help get you back in. You just need to commit. I’m about five and half hours from you, up U.S. 395. Thanksgiving week is a perfect time to get up here. We’re expecting a storm and things aren’t too busy yet. The thing is, this year the coverage on the whole mountain is sick and we’re doing our best to open everything (with an 11,000-foot summit and 3,100 vertical feet, avalanche control here is, well, a mammoth undertaking).
Just leave early in the morning and when you’re passing through Victorville, don’t stop for anything or anyone. You never know what those fools are cooking up in their basements.
Oh, and a little advice on pride: stop with the twitter updates about missing Skiing. You sound pathetic. That doesn’t help.
I owe you one. It’s Tuesday night before Turkey day and I took your advice. I got up around noon on Monday and hit the gondola straight away. It was great to be carving turns again. Speaking of pride, I nearly lost it in front of everyone in that first gondy line I was so happy to see Skiing again. I know, pathetic. So on Monday, it was windy as hell but the snow was soft and buttery. I was ripping all over the lower mountain when all of sudden, they open up Chair 3 right as I come off the Gondola. I jump on and spend the whole afternoon tearing freshies down West Bowl and Center Bowl and billy goating in and out of the cliff bands up there. Super-sick.
Then on Tuesday, it was so windy they couldn’t open the top so I skied knee-deep powder on Chair Two before hitting Tequila Tuesday at the Mill. Two-dollar tequila shots and five-dollar margs don’t do much for my typing but it’s supposed to be bluebird tomorrow so I wanna pass out early and be ready.
You’re pretty hot too,
Glad you had a good time. I talked to Skiing. If you keep this up, you may be back in. But don’t get your hopes up.
Today was the bomb. Wednesday before Thanksgiving will live in infamy (at least until my next trip up here). The ski patrol was bombing all day to get the upper mountain open and finally managed to open the gondy to the top. But because of the wind, the goods were on the lower mountain on the protected faces.
So they didn’t have chair 22 or 25 open but the ski patrol let us hike all day for that big face you see as you’re driving up to the mountain. You know, Grizzly and Lower Grizzly. The locals will hate me for this but holy hip-deep, the powder was lovely. I mined the hell out of it.
Then to top it off, they opened Chair 12 on the far west end of the mountain that accesses the backside (which wasn’t open). So I finished the day by hiking that ridge up to Starr Chute, and dropping into White Bark Bowl from there. The pow was off the hook and the views of the Sierra were insane. I was bummed I had to get back to reality for Thanksgiving but the lucky bums up there got sunny days for the holiday.
Thanks again Mammoth.
Skiing, if you can hear me, I love you,
Mammoth told me you tore it up. I’m so glad you’re back. I can’t believe you neglected me like that. I caught a glimpse of your boards—what’s with all the rust on the edges? Ever heard of a file?
Regardless, I love you too. But if you ever neglect me again, I’m banning you to eternal mono boardam.
—Joe Carberry is an editor with Canoe and Kayak and SUP magazine and an infrequent contributor to Powder. He’s also a little sick in the head.
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