Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Whenever we get snow I think about Mammoth a little bit. Katie brought it up this past week and I had fun talking to her about it so I figured I'd bring that back here. I miss the story telling aspect of this site.

Stories are what make us who we are. They're our memories. They're what we sit around the campfire talking about or what we drink beers to at ugly sweater parties. For a very brief moment you have the ability to bring others into what you felt for a particular moment.

I like that.

That's also why I like photos. It's that brief image of what it felt like to be there. The emotions and the actual, real truth are open to complete interpretation but it's a millisecond in time that can't be taken away.

This particular picture was taken in late December of 2004 on our deck. The deck, in summer, was about 30 feet off the ground and when this happened I was maybe 20 feet above the landing below me.

Our back yard couldn't have been more perfect. A nice steep hill with a short but sweet runoff. Throughout the winter we built multiple kickers, gap jumps and rail setups. At one point we even had a picnic table back there. It was eventually lost to the overwhelming amount of snow.

All of that came after the above picture though. That moment set the winter up for us. The season had opened on October 21 that year with an insane 5 foot base of snow. Yes. October. I'd never imagined the amount of snow I'd seen so it all hit me like a pile of bricks. It was an amazing sight to see for yourself.

My dad describes it best. He came out to visit in the middle of February and during that trip we got about a foot and a half of snow one night. It was impressive as I'd come home from work at about 11 at night with perfectly clear skies. Stars everywhere. When I woke up I saw blue skies and sun accompanied by said 1.5' of snow and I went to pick up my dad.

When I opened the door he had a big smile and started talking about how amazing all of this was. In all honesty it was rather incredible. In a matter of 6-7 hours a major storm had rolled into town, dumped a foot and a half of fresh snow and then moved on. Impressive.

I looked him dead in the eye, gave him a huge smile and politely told him, "This is a best". In reality, during that season, it was just that. A dusting.

From October 15th to May 15th we received just under 600 inches of snow. Almost 50 feet for those of you without calculators At the time it was the snowiest year on record and even now it's only surpassed by the next seasons total...a mere 7 inches more.

At one point in mid January my roommate Blu and I were sitting in the house relaxing. He had the day off and had just gotten back from riding. I was getting ready to take the shuttle up to work and came upstairs to grab something to eat quick.

Normally, as snow accumulates on your roof it just kinda cascades off in sheets. The house rumbles a bit and you grab the shovel to clean off the deck. It's pretty fun the first time but then it loses its luster. For about 2 weeks we'd been watching our roof catch snow and refuse to release it. Over time it just kept building and building. Then one day it got a bit warmer and the bottom foot started to soften up and melt. Then that night it froze.

When we saw it the next morning we all kind of nervously laughed and joked about how much that was gonna suck to shovel off the deck. After another storm rolled in we got even more nervous. This was the second time that it'd gotten a decent amount of snow on it without coming off but this time was a touch more intimidating. The roof had somehow managed to collect 8 feet of snow with the bottom foot comprised of 100% bullet ice.

So there we were. Blu and I in the living room. It was so nice and quiet.....and then it wasn't. The entire condo started shaking, pots and pans were falling off the stove and cups off the countertops. All we could do was watch as the whole slab sheared off the roof and roared onto the deck. Our living room went almost dark and the slabs of snow and ice were bowing our sliding glass door in and we both genuinely expected our deck to break.

It. Was. Amazing.

Our upstairs living room looking out on our deck.

It ended up taking 4-5 hours to clean up and we had to climb up from below the deck to get on top of it all. One of the most powerful things I've ever witnessed.

I ended up snowboarding 150 days that year. My job made it so that I could ride pretty much any day I wanted to. I could ride to work if I worked late or I could ride home if I worked the early shift. It couldn't have been more ideal. Coming into that season I'd ridden some, but not a lot. I'd never really enjoyed it that much but I was blown away with how much fun it was out there.

When that first picture was taken though I hadn't really done anything like it before. I'd never done just a standing drop like that. Let alone at that height. For those who want a sense, imagine doing a drop off of Big Bud Arete or Slope of Dadaism. I don't really care how deep the snow might be, it's intimidating.

I waffled back and forth a bit with Darren and Blu egging me on. None of us knew if it was going to be deep, cushy, soft snow or if we'd hit hardpack snow that we'd shoveled off the deck previously. That was the big unknown.

Darren took this one from the roof.

Obviously I went for it or I wouldn't be telling this story. We did deck drops all winter long eventually having to stop because we had too much snow. By the end of the season we could walk directly off our deck onto the snow.

I doubt I'll ever see snow like that in my life again. I don't think I want to actually. I quite often say I could spend many summers in Mammoth but never again another winter. It was just too much of everything that comes along with Mammoth.

I had fun though. Lots and lots of fun.

Blu and I after shoveling my Blazer out. This was about a third of the way through the storm.

The before picture.

Another random pile of snow. It was so wet we could open the sliding door without a worry.

Blu climbing out the window onto the deck.


  1. Ok, I haven't even read the whole post yet, but that first picture is one of the more awesome things I have seen in a while.

  2. Thanks bud. I'm pretty proud of that pic.

  3. Dude- that much snow is what I live for! But I see what you mean, it gets to be a lot of work shoveling and living in that shit. Damn thats a lot of snow. Great post Steve, keep the stories coming.:)

  4. Damnit Remo, you dirty hippy. I forgot not only are you a dirty plate throwing no gooder but you also do the whole falling on your face with log tied to your feet. Pssh, when will you all learn, doing anything other than climbing (and drinking) is injurious to your health.

  5. Why can't it snow that much here??? :( And I agree... that photo is amazing.


  6. Yeah, remo, for me is was just draining personally. Our season lasted from Mid October until July 4th. By the end of it things were just too much. The snow lost it's cool factor after about March or so. Then it just got old.

    Too much of a good thing, right?

    Also, thanks for the comments on the first pic. That's a spawn of a whole nother topic...editing.