On our evening walk, my wife, son and I happened upon a bear! This is the closest I’ve been to a black bear since moving to Mammoth. He definitely knew we were there, but just slowly ambled across the path… occasionally turning his head to stare at us as we played silly humans and took as many photos as possible.


First snow of the 16/17 season!

We had the famous “10 feet of wind” last weekend… but luckily, along with all of that wind came NEW SNOW! The mountain is looking nice and white now. We got 4-6 inches at Main Lodge and 1-2 feet up top! Mammoth Mountain opens on November 10… just a little over 3 weeks away. Dust off those skis!


Photo courtesy Mammoth Lakes Tourism.

2015/2016 has come and gone!

Wow how time flies! Had a great 2015/16, with some amazing snow, fun lessons, and the mountain open until July 4. Now we’re in full-swing summer. I’ve been busy working, hanging out with my wife and 2-year-old, camping, and training for the grueling Tioga Pass Run (12.4 miles – only one hill!).

See you for the 16/17 season!

Back for the 2014/15 Season!


We’re off to a great start for the 2014/15 season! Fingers crossed the snow continues to fall. I’m instructing again this season, it’s hard to believe this is my sixth at Mammoth! Please contact me for my availability if you’d like to take a private lesson; all bookings need to be directly made through the Mammoth Ski School. Remember you can have up to five skiers in a private lesson at one time or split your time up how you wish, you get to cut the general lift line too.

See you up the mountain!

Bring on 2012/13


Just wanted to write and let everyone know that I will be teaching again at Mammoth for the 2012/13 winter. It will be my fourth season and I’m really excited for this one as I’ve had a nice long break from skiing over the summer. The summer in Mammoth was exceptional by the way, lots of great weather to enjoy the local outdoors including mountain biking, golf, outdoor music and plenty of hiking.

The season is off to a wonderful start, I haven’t skied the top yet but it looks like there is as much snow up there as any point during last year! Terrain will open as Mother Nature and snow making allow, Canyon Lodge is set to open around December 14th but there will be fun skiing to had before then. Drop me a line if you would like to find out about current conditions before you head up.

See you on the hill!

Cheers Andrew

Mammoth from Space

NASA just released a fantastic high-res image of Earth from space, and it happens to include a cloud-free view of our little area of California!

Mammoth from Space

You can clearly see the trough or depression in the mountains that creates a perfect funnel for storms (well, most years). The Long Valley Caldera is also easy to spot. How cool is it that we live in a day when these amazing views are available to us?

The Winter Wonderland

Last weekend the skies finally opened up and we got some natural snow falling from above. Two storms rolled in and provided a much needed boost for the season. Mammoth Mountain is claiming four feet of new snow which I’d say is about right. It is enough to have all lifts open and most terrain somewhat covered. I say somewhat because there are still rock and tree hazards that you would expect to see earlier in the season.  Having said this the skiing has been fantastic! It is awesome to get off the groomers for the first time this season. I wasn’t lucky enough to get out right after the top opened but Marc Gallin, an instructor at Canyon Lodge, kindly supplied some photos.


Top of 23 (photo Marc Gallin)

Chair 23 opened for the first time and from reports there was good skiing to be had down Dropout and Wipeout. Unfortunately an easterly wind was blowing the new snow over to Fresno. The run in the photo above is called Skyline; one of the least pleasant ski runs in Mammoth.


Looking up Drop Out to Chair 23 (photo Marc Gallin)

Last year snow buried the roof of Chair 23, not so much this year! This picture gives a pretty good view of Drop Out, a nice steep pitch and a double black diamond.


Snow Fence at Mammoth (photo Marc Gallin)

It wouldn’t be Mammoth without a little wind. Usually it blows from the west producing some legendary wind blown powder snow know as ‘the buff’. Like on this day, when it blows from the east, it tends to strip the snow though.


Minarets (photo Marc Gallin)

What a difference a week and a bit of snow can make. Last week the same view would have been more like a summer scene with very little snow. This week it is unmistakeably winter!

Temperatures have been on the increase since the storms and the word in town is for another dry spell at least in the short term. However, the skiing right now is the best it has been all season so get up here and make the most of it.

Snow at last!

The last time we got a decent snow fall was last year back on November 20th. We have finally received some new snow exactly two months later! It was only an inch so far but enough to cover the dirt and at least make the mountain look like a picture of winter. The skiing won’t change too much and we will need a lot more of the white stuff to get any more terrain open. But at least it is a step in the right direction. Here’s a couple of pictures hot off the press from this morning.

Stump Alley

Main Lodge

Main Lodge

There is more snow in the forecast for tonight, as much as 25 inches. Fingers crossed that this comes to fruition and winter is finally here! Man made snow you have been great but it is time to get excited.

Half price beginner lessons

Mammoth Mountain is offering half price beginner lessons for skiing and snow boarding from the 22nd through to the 27th of January. That’s a great opportunity to get into skiing at a awesome price. For as little as $75 the package includes rentals, lift ticket and 4 hours of instruction. Whilst we don’t have snow in the places that experts want to ski 95% of beginner terrain is open. There is also some snow in the forecast for this weekend which will help to freshen everything up.

Bookings need to be made in advance by calling 800 Mammoth or 800 626 6684

What skis to buy?

Buying new skis can be a tricky business, there are so many choices out there that can make the decision confusing. Here’s a rough guide to help you out. A new pair of skis can make a big difference to your skiing especially if you have some relics from the 1970s!

Before you even start looking at skis think about where you are likely to be skiing and on what kind of snow. Be honest and realistic, that way you will purchase a ski best suited to your needs. Likewise think about your skill level. If you are a complete beginner don’t go for an expert ski and vice versa. Once you have established your skiing needs there are a few ski characteristics to consider.

Length: As a rule of thumb the ski length tip be somewhere between your chin and nose when held up beside you. If you are a beginner err on the smaller side. The type of ski you get will also influence length, for example you might want to go longer on a powder ski to aid floatation in the pow pow.

Radius: Radius refers to the length of turn the ski will make when it is put on edge. The more side cut a ski has the shorter the radius. I ski on a very narrow ski with a big side cut that lets me make 11m carved turns. Good fun on the groomers but a little grabby in the crud. For an all round ski look for something in the 17-22m range. This really depends on the type of turns you enjoy making though, go longer for big turns, smaller for short turns.

Side cut view

Width: Width is measured in three places, the tip, under the foot and tail. The wider a ski the more floatation you have in powder but the slower the reaction to your movements to initiate the turn. A narrower ski gives you more grip in icy conditions. So think about where you will spend most of your time skiing. For soft powder snow go for 100mm or more under foot , for harder snow go for something around 65-80mm. In between 80mm to 100mm gives you an allround ski but they might not be great on ice or powder.

Ski Stiffness: Usually the stiffer a ski the more it holds an edge and the more precise it is but also the less forgiving it is to mistakes. The better skier you are the stiffer you can go, if you are a beginner steer towards softer and more forgiving skis.

Rocker: Rockered skis have been out for a while now and are becoming much more main stream. Rocker refers to the tip, tail or both being bent up. This allows for better floatation in powder and makes it less likely to hook the skis tips if you are a beginner. However, in firm conditions rocker leaves you with less edge and so less grip. The amount of rocker varies from fully rockered to just a wee bit.

Rocker Tips

Twin Tips: If you want to ski backwards then twin tips are the way to go. These skis are preferred by park enthusiasts (aka park rats). One side effect of twin tips is that they generally spray snow out from behind which can be an occupational hazard if you are following someone skiing on them!

Twin tips flying high at Mammoth

Ok so now you hopefully have an idea of the type of ski you want, and we haven’t even looked at skis yet! The next step is to see what is out there that fits what you need. There are a number of places to look.

Local Ski Shop: Visit a local shop if you have one, tell them what you want in terms of length, width, rocker, radius and stiffness. Then they will be able to show you the skis they have to match your needs. If you have put some thought into exactly what kind of ski you want then you should be just left with just a few choices rather than dozens.

Look for the skis dimensions which are usually easy to find; they should tell you the length, radius and width

Demo skis: The best thing to do if you can is to try before you buy. Many mountains have demo days where different ski companies will offer their skis to test for free. This way you can try lots of skis from one brand or a host of brands. Also most mountains and rental shops have demo centres where you can rent skis that they sell to get a feel for them. If you are heading to Mammoth and we actually get snow then visit yeah sweet online. They offer all mountain and powder ski demos with a delivery service included.

Websites: A great source for skis are online stores like evo and Often you can find smoking good deals on last years models (often the only difference is the top sheet).

If you are in the market for new skis then I hope this article has helped focus your search. If not I’d be happy to reply to any questions you might have regarding the best ski for you. Happy shopping!