Story and photos by Joe Carberry
Sunshine. Wait, let me say that again: Sunshine. Most high-alpine resorts in the U.S. offer awesome terrain, quality snow conditions… and, ahem, notoriously sh*tty winter weather.
But skiing Mammoth in June, on one of the most historically-bulbous snowpacks of all time, is, shall we say, game changing. Double rainbow-esque if you must. Top to bottom runs in 75-degree weather on this Eastern Sierra jewel with sunshine all day? Just one of the reasons Mammoth doesn't suck in June. Here are seven more.
1. Sleeves: not an acceptable accessory: Most of the winter, it's blowing three different directions in the high Sierra, requiring three sets of sleeves, at minimum. But in June, light breezes are a welcome reprieve. Anything but a t-shirt and you're overdressed. At minimum, wear gloves only to avoid the occasional skid mark from that radical carve bro!
2. Socks Welcome on the Deck: After shredding 3,100 feet of steep corn all day, racking up as many gondy laps as possible, giving your little piggies a break on the deck—sans boots—isn't only acceptable, it's expected, beer in hand, sunscreen ready to be lathered (be sure and have someone else do that for you).
3. Chicks Dig Sun: Can we just admit it? Most of the year, resorts are male dominated arenas. Yes, there are the few hardy ladies out there and yeah, your buddy's beer pack with the auto-loading straw is probably the coolest invention since the bong, but June sun just brings out the talent. Whether shredding with you, sharing a beer (or four), or just sharing their best assets following a chair line request yelled at the top of your lungs, the scenery is just better in June.
4. Race Teams Make You Wish You Were a Racer: Sun Valley, Jackson Hole, Steamboat, what mountain town race team isn't making a Mammoth pilgrimage to train in the sunny, Sierra-decorated weather, taking advantage of the top-to-bottom coverage (11-feet at the summit mid-month). Chasing gates with this view beats a stick in the eye any day of the week.
5. Jibbers Make You Wish You Were a Jibber: Kids these days. Airing into Hangman's Hollow (pic. 1), ripping Climax bowl in one turn, a switch 1080 like it's their job, that 12-year old taunting you above the pipe ("You just got schooled by, by, by a 12-year old! Bwahahaha"). Face it. You'll never look as stylie. But if you can't huck like em', huck with em'. It all works out in the end. Plus, it's June, and the soft snow will break your fall.
6. Mountain Biking and Skiing Go Together: 7:30 am to 2 pm: six and a half hours to bomb as many laps as you can on Climax and Cornice Bowls, skiing every inch of those wonderful faces that aren't actually windblown like they often are mid-winter. Then it's time to rage on the single track. Uptown, right out of the Village, isn't the most remote track you'll ever pound on your mountain bike, but it's convenient location next to the Village bars and three miles of rippable terrain make it epic in it's own right.
7. So Does Beer and Skiing (Go Together, that is): Yeah, we know, it goes unsaid. But has your favorite pint of hops ever tasted better than after a sun-crusted day of killing corn snow? No. It's just a fact of life. For our money, it can't be emphasized enough. And nothing says Fourth of July like a cold pint at the Yodler (celebrating 50 years in the après buzz biz), corn snow, hot chicks and ridiculously beautiful, always welcome, never poo-pooed upon, sunshine.