Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Mammoth December 2013

On my first trip to Mammoth as a kid, I went kicking and screaming. Skiing and snow? Who cares.

But almost 15 years later,  I'm not really regretting spending eight hours of my life in ski school. In college, I made the trek up regularly, but it's been years since I've strapped on skis. I finally made it back up to Mammoth for a long weekend in December, and I swear, I love it even more every time I go.
Despite the piles of fake snow and basically tropical temperatures for Mammoth, we had a blast. We spent our first day on the mountain, getting up at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds at Canyon Lodge. [Sidenote: Holy crap are lift tickets expensive now—around $110 after tax for a full day.]

The best time to get there is between 7 and 7:30 a.m., which puts you at the front of the line and basically guarantees you a nearby parking spot.

Mammoth 2006
I'll never be a star athlete — I probably have about as much skiing skill as Bode Miller has in his pinky toe — but I stumble my way down the mountain and manage to have fun. I even converted Annie into a skier after a difficult morning of snowboarding down Schoolyard Express.

Me and Viet at the top of Canyon Express
Since no one wanted to buy a lift ticket for the second day, we went exploring and found Mammoth Brewing Co., which has a tasting room across the street from the village. I just read though that they're moving the tasting room on-site at the brewery, at Minaret and Main. Doing the two tastings (the originals and the seasonal) was a highlight of the trip for me — something new I wouldn't have thought to try a few years back.

Nine different beers, including root beer, in the flight — Epic IPA is a must-try.
Another new experience was learning how to cook for a cabin of nine people. I'm kitchen-challenged to begin with, but Wendy and I had fun coming up with easy meals for large groups. Sandwiches were a given, but we also went for another classic meal for our Saturday night dinner: spaghetti, sausage and salad.

Photo credit: Wendy
It was a lot of work wrangling so many people for such a big trip, but I've definitely got the itch to go back to Mammoth, stat. One of these days I'd also like to stop at Manzanar, one of the Japanese American camps where my grandpa was held. I won't be going anywhere though until there's finally some decent snow up on the mountain — keep checking the snow report!


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