Exploring the Eastern Sierras: Mammoth

Where’s Everyone Going?

No migration is as remarkable as that of the SoCal flatlander, who counterintuitively heads to a colder climate, in the elusive pursuit of “pow”.  Unable to bear 75 degree weather and constant sunshine a minute longer, SoCal residents flock to the mountains en masse to observe a rare phenomenon known as “weather”. With it comes freezing temperatures and the mythic snow.

Favorite wintertime refuges for migrating flatlanders include Bear Mountain, Snow Summit, Mountain High, and the legendary Mammoth Mountain, which stands head and shoulders above the rest. Featuring more than 3,500 acres of ski-able terrain, serviced by 28 lifts, Mammoth is a ski haven capable of rivalling any resort on the western seaboard.    

All winter, day and night, great caravans of migrating flatlanders make their way up Highway 395, swallowing whole towns and villages as they consume every last morsel of food and gas locals can spare. Passing through ghost towns, shanty villages, and hundreds of miles of empty desert, seasonal pilgrims press on into the wee hours of the early morning, just for a taste of what Mammoth Mountain has to offer.

Mammoth has something for everybody, but unlike other local destinations, terrain isn’t limited to the range of easy to moderately challenging. This resort offers skiers a choice selection of steep chutes, open bowls, and forested ridgelines, complete with the sixth highest annual snowfall of any California resort. Kids today might even say it “slaps”.


What To Hit

Head Chutes and Beyond

The southernmost edge of Mammoth Mountain is marked by a prominent ridgeline, offering access to the park’s narrowest powder chutes and choicest tree skiing. Head Chutes, Dragon’s Back, and Dragon’s Tail are just about the most fun you can have inbounds. The rugged, ungroomed face of this ridgeline combines with a densely forested base to closely mirror the experience of backcountry skiing, making it an all time favorite among regulars.

Strong winds are common in this more exposed edge of the resort, and we recommend skiers come prepared with some hardy outerwear. Our team recommends Patagonia’s SnowDrifter Jacket. Weighing in at just 20.7 ounces, the SnowDrifter is an ultra lightweight snow jacket perfect for use in and out of bounds. Composed of 68% recycled materials, this jacket features easy access pit zips, a low profile powder gasket, and a two-way-adjustable hood with a lamented visor. It’s minimalist design allows for a full range of motion, while its fluorinated durable water repellent keeps you warm and dry in the harshest conditions. Did I mention it’s fair trade sewn?


Kiwi Flats

Standing on a rocky precipice at the top of Kiwi Flats, with skis hanging halfway over the edge, the average thrill seeker can’t help feeling a little intimidated by the sudden vertical drop below. Summoning all their courage, and taking one last deep inhale, they push off into the unknown. As they’re sent screaming down the face of Kiwi Flats, they feel a certain weightlessness previously reserved for deep space explorers. A strong ecstasy takes hold, and they find themselves transported to a new realm of being, free of the physical and psychological limitations that are so prevalent in our own world.

Reaching this internal Shagri-La, requires the right skis for the job. Salomon’s new Stance series is a versatile all mountain ski. The Stance’s double ti technology features a double layer of titanal, and offers superior edge grips, enabling high precision power turns in hard and loose packed snow. Its poplar wood core increases stability by filtering vibrations, while recessed windows placed in the tip and tail of this ski reduce torsion, to maximize maneuverability.  

The Vanish team is unbelievably stoked at Salomon’s newest innovation, and can’t wait to hit the slopes with them! 


Dry Creek

For skiers who relish tight spaces and sudden drops, Dry Creek is the run for them. Upper to Lower Dry Creek is a long, blissful run, which spans nearly the entire length of the mountain. It features a couple small chutes, easy access tree skiing, and some fun little lips, for all the huckers out there. 

Before you charge Dry Creek, and send it flying through the air over all those sick lips and rock drops, you’ll need a reliable helmet, to avoid any melon bashing mishaps. Salomon’s Pioneer LT Visor provides the cranium protecting goodness you need, without sacrificing the comfort you expect in a helmet. Weighing a mere 430 grams, the cloud-like Pioneer is barely perceptible. It’s EPS4D channels prevent overheating, by allowing superior airflow between your head and helmet, and activedry material prevents sweat from pooling around your noggin. 

Well what if it gets stormy?

Salomon understands how temperamental conditions on the mountain can be, so they included an adjustable ventilation system to help stay warm and cozy, when necessary.

Unlike other helmets, the Pioneer doesn’t deprive you of your senses. It’s 3D perforated ear-pads allow for superior sound transmission, keeping you ready and alert. And for those of you who don’t care about your hearing, that’s cool too, because the Pioneer LT Visor is also audio system compatible.