A Weekend of Backcountry Skiing in Mammoth
It took 30 minutes and a lemon luna bar to get a parking spot. During that time, we learned tales of the Simba, Cookie and a 10 ft fur tree in an Outback’s trunk.
Once mounted, we started skinning up next to a nordic track, where snow cats whizzed by and groomed. We saw cross country skiers, snowshoers, and small dachshunds in gingham jackets. I felt like I was at Mammoth Mountain, skiing at the resort.
But once we hit the horse stalls off of Lake Basin Path, only large dogs loomed. And at the start of the ridge line after Lake George, all the pooches were gone.
Before the ascent, we picnic-ed next to Lake George. I ate banana almond butter bread (slices of bread with almond butter and fresh banana between).
We had planned the below:
But when we reached the top, due to the conditions, we decided to go down our skin tracks instead of the bowl. Below is what we actually did (red = ascent, blue = descent):
The next day we geared up for Punta Bardini. The day was sunny and there were many a snowmobiler on the loose.
We skinned to the bottom of Tele Bowl and then began the very steep climb up the right. At close to 32 degrees, the skin track required pop music and the promise of banana almond butter bread.
At the top of tele bowl, I ate and decided to next time bring up more food. We also spotted the prints of small animals and tanned on some warm granite.
As we headed up the ridge, it turned to 3:30 and we hadn’t hit the top and we decided to go back. We first skied down Old Growth with powdery pillows, young saplings, and old growth. We then flew down Tele Bowl and soon were back at the car, which like the vaccine in December, came sooner than expected.
Below is the topo we planned out. We ended up sticking to the plan except for hitting the top most point. Given how easy it is to get to, I’m sure we’ll go again and hit the top and love it.
I rented out the Camox Freebird Black Crows 166.2 cm at Mammoth Mountaineering. On the first downhill at Red Cone, I didn’t have enough downhill control for the 166. The next day I ended up sizing down to a 160.2 and was able to sail. (FYI I’m 5 ft 5 in, advanced-intermediate skier.)
I forgot to note down the brand of tech binding. But I did have trouble moving the back heel into walk mode, unable to pop up the breaks…I eventually realized I had turned them in the wrong direction 😩.
I love Mammoth Mountaineering, which had a great selection for rentals and a very helpful staff. After renting, My friend and I stayed to shop around and check out all the goods.