Braving Mammoth Mountain By Ringo Boitano
Photographs courtesy of Mammoth Mountain
here was a look of horror on his face. I easily had 30 pounds on him,
and probably the same in years. A collision would certainly be of greater
harm to him than to me. For just a fraction of a second our eyes met.
He then made a perfect Stem Christie to the safety of the hill on my
left. I did my best to stay vertical, but then took an embarrassing
spill under watchful eyes. As I caught my breath, I looked up at the
towering mountain with skiers above me. I remembered what a friend had
told me earlier, If its been that long since you last skied,
then a beginners ski class is advised. That beginners
class would begin tomorrow.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area
Located in the heart of the Eastern Sierra mountain
range, Mammoth Mountain is a mere five hour drive from Los Angeles,
and seven from San
Diego. There's also air service from both. The highest ski resort
in California, Mammoth Mountain has been enticing skiers (and now snowboarders)
since the first ski lift was built in 1955. With more than 3,500 skiable
acres and over 400 inches of snow per year, it has one of the longest
ski seasons in North America, generally from November into June. It's
an all-skiers' resort with terrain ranging from gentle groomed runs
to steep chutes, as well as tree-lined cross-country skiing, snowmobiling
and luxury snowcat tours. A literal highpoint is the Panorama gondola,
the highest lift-serviced peak in California, which transports you to
11,053 feet for breathtaking panoramic views. The new RFID Life Pass
offers direct-to-lift access where you can re-load your lift tickets
online or via your smartphone, combating the problem of long lift and
ticket lines. A wide range of accommodations are available that includes
luxury homes, fully-equipped condominiums, lodges and budget-friendly
Mammoth Mountain Ski School
As I joined the ranks of beginning skiers the monkey
wrench tightening in my gut made me wonder if I had made the right decision.
I was never good at group instruction and the boot camp sequences from
Full Metal Jacket came to mind. Before I could duck out, we were
approached by our AASI/PSIA certified instructor. After formal introductions,
he proceeded to tell us a couple of jokes and we were immediately in
laughter and, most importantly, relaxed. We started with the
most basic of instructions. With a strong emphasis on safety, he made
us understand that we were always in control of our actions. An hour
later we were taking baby runs down the hill. "The better you get,
the more fun you'll have," smiled the instructor The group lesson
proved to be an easy social gathering, making friends with other students.
At the end of the day it was obvious why the ski school is consistently
rated one of the finest in North America. I couldnt wait to hit
the slopes the next morning.
But first it was important that I get an objective overview
of Mammoth's après-ski pleasures, represented in Mammoth Village's
plethora of restaurants and bars, many offering live entertainment.
It would also be a good time to review my ski safety tips:
WEAR LAYERED CLOTHING: Pack a shirt, sweater and jacket,
adding or removing articles as needed.
WEAR SUNGLASSES & USE SUNSCREEN: You need protection
from damaging rays reflecting off the glaring white snow.
WEAR A SKI HELMET: Yes, they look ridiculous, but wearing
one might be the difference between life and death.
KNOW THE SKI CONDITIONS: Ice and deep powder are more
dangerous than manicured terrain, so adjust your skiing style accordingly.
START SLOW & EASY: Let you body adjust to the altitude,
and protect unconditioned muscles by taking easier runs for the first
BEWARE OF ALTITUDE SICKNESS: Know the symptoms
headache, weakness, nausea, confusion, and shortness of breath.
BE CAREFUL IN THE AFTERNOON: Most injuries occur late
in the day when youre tired and slow to react, and the sinking
sun sends confusing shadows across the snow.
USE ICE, NOT HEAT: For minor muscle pull or strain use
ice to reduce swelling and ease pain.
WAIT FOR THE SKI PATROL: If youre hurt you can
make an injury worse by trying to get down the mountain yourself.
DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL: It slows reaction time and leads
to accidents. Wait until the day is over to enjoy a drink.
My Irish roots understand terrible beauty. So do my
human roots. The concept has such a ring of truth to it, doesn't it?
Great article, Ringo. I hope to get to Ireland eventually, and thanks
for blazing the trail!
Sandeee Bleu, Seattle, WA
* * * *
No wonder I've been hearing all these wonderful stories
about Ireland. I used to think that it was just for Irish Americans
seeking their ancestral roots but your article seems to call out to
the non-Irish like me. Fascinating and intriguing.
Peter Paul, Pasadena, CA
Thanks for this great post wow... it's very wonderful.
Key Logger, New York
* * * *
Lets not forget that the Marriot Harbor Beach is within
walking distance to the world famous Elbo Room - Fort Lauderdale's oldest
Jeff, Fort Lauderdale, FL
* * * *
Thanks for taking the time
for the message and reminder. Indeed, I had a quick drink at the Elbo
Room. My trip to Ft. Lauderdale would not have been complete without
a visit to this historic institution.I have been reading about it for
years, and was not disappointed. It felt like a real local's hangout.
thoroughly enjoyed your article about Dick and Liz. I remember seeing
that article back in the heyday of Life Magazine.
To remember the "behind-the-scenes" stories
like that makes you genuine fan of the 60's. The famous couple's turbulent
relationship was just a precursor of today's headline-grabbing media
stars like Britney Spears and her colleagues. Life was simpler then.
The paparazzis still had some sense of decency. You "coulda"
been a good paparazzi. I say "coulda" because you kept this
to yourself all these many years.
Looking forward to other media trivia you can remember.
Peter Paul, South Pasadena, CA
Enjoyed your article on Antarctica --- cool photos,
too. One thing, you mentioned that Ushuaia in Argentina is considered
the most southern city in the world. I read that Chile lays claim to
that distinction, with Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in the world.
Mick, Greenbay, WI
* * * *
Now that football season is
over --- Ive often wondered what you Packer fans did in the off
season ---- its great that you took the time to visit TravelingBoy.
Great question, unlike my older brother, I adore all lamb products,
and Patagonian Lamb --- cooked in a restricted area at the restaurant
in an opened wood-fueled fire pit --- is amazing. The chef actually
uses an ax to carve it. Frankly, I found it superior to Norwegian fjord
lamb, Irish Burren lamb and even those much esteemed creatures down
in New Zealand. The crab in Ushuaia is the other thing to eat. Wait
a sec, you asked about Punta Arenas vs. Ushuaia as the furthermost city
in the world. Well, they both have little disclaimers re populations
--- you know, whats a city, which one is a town, ect so
better let Chile and Argentina brass it out. They seem to be able to
argue about any subject.
Eugene Chaplin Introduces Chaplin's World Museum
in Vevey, Switzerland
Lake Geneva/ Matterhorn Region and Switzerland Tourism
recently blew into Los Angeles with the most esteemed guest, Eugene Chaplin.
A man of remarkable lineage, he is the fifth child of Oona O'Neill and Sir
Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, the grandson of playwright
Eugene O'Neill, the brother of Geraldine Chaplin and father of actress/model
Treasures of Ireland: The Burren (Dispatch
The Palladian Traveler ventures back to the days
of fearless Celtic warriors to search for some "stones to take you
home" as he files his latest dispatch from the monochromatic moonscape
known as The Burren.
Buckingham Palace It's THE Most Popular Tour
in Great Britain (Part 2 of a 2-Part Series)
Is it more momentous for a Brit to do the Buckingham
Palace tour than say an American or indeed any other nationality? Yes, I
know that's an odd question, but if you grow up as I did in
London back in the 1950s, getting inside Buckingham Palace was the stuff
of dreams. Hence my surprise at touring BP in 2005.
Paradise on Earth: The Romance of
Tahiti and Her Islands
The first thing you notice is the fragrance. The intoxicating
perfume of the tiare flower announces to your senses that you are in a magical
place, overflowing with tropical vegetation and soothing trade winds. It
is the same fragrance that the English seamen on the HMS Bounty also first
encountered; but they came, not for flowers, but for breadfruit, intended
as a new food staple for their slaves in the West Indies.
Provence: As Much a Mood, a Spirit as a Destination
"On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" goes
the song. Robert Goulet sang it and Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis,
too, and it surely comes to mind when you stand on a bluff in the Luberon
of Provence and stare across at the little hill village of Gordes. The view
is the best part; the village's interior itself is not dramatic and stands
as a warning of what contemporary popularity can do to the simple homes
of 12th century working people.
Exploring Venice: Lost and Found. And Special Finds.
Walking home to our apartment in Venice, we share a
wave through the window with the owner of Baba, our local osteria. Leaving
for a day of sightseeing, a cup of my favorite pistachio gelato awaits me
despite the early hour. At the Bar Dugole, we relax after a day of sightseeing
and order the regular: vodka for my husband and Amaretto for me.
Traveling with Beautiful Boots and a Bison Backpack
People often asked about my favorite travel apparel and
gear. This happened to me at the airport recently. One question came as
I was putting back on my clothes after going through the TSA checkpoint
striptease. Before leaving the area, I heard a soft voice say, "hey,
I really like your boots. Where did you get them?" Looking up, I
found a uniformed employee staring at my feet.
Film Review: "My Hero Brother" A Tribute
to the Human Spirit
I just spent five days attending the Santa Barbara Film
Festival and for the most part, the features, animated shorts, and documentaries
were quite professional and compelling. That said, "My Hero Brother,"
a documentary that was particularly outstanding, told the remarkable and
inspiring story about a group of Down syndrome young men and women who
go on a two-week trek through the Himalayas with their non-Down syndrome
La Paz, Baja California Sur
Photographer Deb Roskamp focuses her camera on La Paz,
Baja California Sur. The resort property is CostaBaja, and the boat tours,
which include snorkeling at the UNESCO protected site, Isla Espiritu Santo,
were conducted by Fun Baja. The photographs are intended to speak for
Leviticus 20:13 Sent by Tom of Pasadena,
It all makes sense now. Gay marriage and marijuana
was legalized in the last election. Leviticus 20:13 states
"If a man lays with another man, he should be stoned..." We've
been interpreting it wrong all these years!