There’s something about a small town in the mountains. How the snow-covered peaks can somehow make you feel like such a small speck but simultaneously so on top of the world. How the whole town being buried in snow can make everything that much more cozy. Coffee tastes better, blankets are more comfy, and fireplaces are actually being used for warmth and not just aesthetics. The crunch of the snow beneath your feet, but also the amazing silence of cruising through a deep patch of powder in the woods.
We decided to go to Mammoth Lakes, California for this trip because we know we want to spend next winter in the mountains somewhere. California was a no-brainer because we are still able to make trips and drive to surf, so we took this opportunity to go out and ride an awesome mountain while also scoping it out for next winter season.
We arrived on an absolutely beautiful day, and the sun was out for probably the first time in a week or so up there. We knew they had gotten a ton of snow, but I don’t know if we were necessarily prepared for buildings to be completely covered and our first story condo to be a literal basement. It was…amazing. We took the day to get acquainted with the town and our surroundings a little bit. We had some shrimp fajitas at Roberto’s Cafe which was right down the street from our our Airbnb and got some groceries for the week. We checked out a super cool local shop in town called Wave Rave where we got a couple of things we didn’t bring from home. I did a quick yoga class to get stretched out after being on a plane all day and we hung out waiting for Zach’s friend, Nick, and prepared for getting out on the mountain the next day.
Day 1 of riding was basically everything we had hoped for. Visibility wasn’t the greatest, and it was pretty windy so nothing up top opened, but it snowed heavy all day and we had an absolute blast in the soft snow. Zach, Nick and I got to check out all the open space at Chair 12, and did a bunch of laps through the powder in the trees near The Mill. We headed back to the condo on completely white roads, went straight to the hot tub, made some dinner and cookies and passed out.
Day 2 was looking like more of the same, with poor visibility and wind. Nick decided to sit the day out in hopes for a sunny day on Thursday, so we headed out on the shuttle to Eagle Lodge which turned out to be a great decision. We spent basically the entire morning on Chair 15 getting as lost in the woods as possible to avoid the wind. We went at our own pace and enjoyed every second of it. That night we went back to the condo and decided to try to head out to one of the hot springs in the area. About 20 minutes into the drive we realized the roads and visibility were pretty garbage so we turned back and hit the man-made hot tub instead.
Day 3 was everything we’d been craving after two days of zero visibility. The wind was still whipping at the top of the lifts but the sun was shining, and we got to see all the scenery we’d been missing out on. Plus – there was still loads of fresh powder. We jumped around all over the mountain but ended up back towards Eagle Lodge and found this amazing area of almost untouched powder that we rode as far as we could before realizing we had hit a road and would have to hike out. Worth it. So worth it. That night was Nick’s last night so we decided to go out to dinner before he left. We found this amazing Place called Garden of Eat’n which had some amazing vegan and vegetarian dinner options. The owner was super nice, and the food was even better – definitely worth a stop if you’re ever in the area.
Friday was predicted to be sunny, so the crowds were out and ready to play. Only problem was it was actually snowing and super windy so basically none of the lifts were open. After spending the majority of the morning waiting in line for super short runs we decided to call it a day and explore the town a little more. We checked out the village (kinda lame, super touristy), got lost on the bus but enjoyed looking at the mountains on the way. Friday night we got a delicious vegan pizza from Z Pizza in town.
Most snowboard trips seem to usually go the same for me. Wake up early, ride as much as possible, shower, eat, sleep, do it again the next day. Not a whole lot of time for exploring the town or any other activities – which is fine, but we wanted to get a feel for the town and having half a day Friday really afforded that for us. Overall it seems like a great option for spending a winter season. The town doesn’t feel overly touristy like some winter destinations, but the mountain is huge and the snow was great. The bus is pretty easy to navigate, and we already found a really great coffee spot. Plus – being a few hours from surfing is a huge bonus for us. It’s looking better and better.
It’s always hard to come back to “reality” after a great trip. I’m not sure if knowing we’ll be back soon is making it any easier or not, because it feels pretty rough. We felt so happy being up there in the mountains, as we always do. It just felt so right and like we truly are meant to be out there not only in Mammoth or the mountains but just exploring in general at this point in our lives. Coming back after experiencing that feeling and having to go to jobs that we aren’t necessarily passionate about is not ideal, but it’s for a good cause. I am just breathing through the transition and working hard on getting the van and house ready to roll (literally). Keeping my eyes on the ultimate goal, but also taking steps to feel like we are working towards doing something we truly believe in on a day-to-day basis as well. Hope everyone is having a lovely March so far!