Mammoth Lakes, CA – “Burning Mammoth”, a phrase coined by comedian and talented snow shredder Nate Farrell, aptly describes the past weekend of shredding shenanigans and desert living for a devoted and diverse group of shred enthusiasts.
The weekend started on Thursday at our annual camp site south of Mammoth in the Owens River Valley. Having claimed “our” spot the night before and taking full advantage of the last bluebird day on the hill, word spread through Mammoth about the bonfire that would be burning all weekend.
Meanwhile in the desert, my brother Wyatt, fresh off a two week Alaskan road trip, rolled up to camp with his beloved dogs, beautiful girlfriend, and a brand new 12×14 canvas wall tent. As everyone rolled into camp and tents popped up like desert wildflowers, it was clear the weekend would start with a bang.
An early morning drizzle rousted many hungover campers who bolted back to town to prepare for the Fiesta de la Pipa that was supposed to take place on Friday. Little did we know that the weather would be ten times worse a few miles up the road and call for a cancellation of the day’s halfpipe hopes. Back at camp for the remainder of the afternoon, we took full advantage of the geologic wonders of the Siphon hot tub a few hundred yards away from camp. That night, it dumped a foot of serious sierra cement up at the mountain.
Although conditions were less than ideal for a spring halfpipe event, the decision was made to brave the wind, sleet, and snow and give out 10,000 dollars for the hardest charging rider. At the end of the 1 hr pipe jam it was young guns Luke Mitrani and Greg Bretz taking 1st and 2nd respectively for their smooth first hit front 9’s and 10’s. With fellow riders as judges, Mitrani tipped the scale with some huge michaelchucks and walked away with an easy 6,000 while Bretz settled for the rest of the votes and cash. Third place was thrown out of the money running, but it was rumored Wyatt and Nate tied with a vote or two a piece. Other notable attractions came from the creative riding of Chas Guldemond and Guillame Morriset.
After a solid dry out, re-group, and satisfying hot tub session at the camp site, we headed back to Mammoth for more board sliding action in WCI Rail Jam, where another 10 G’s were on the line—winner take all. After an hour long scaffold slaughtering, Dan Brisse won the votes and respect of fellow riders as well as a golden cobra treasure chest full of cash. Oren Tanzer from Mammoth decided to add an unprecedented 2nd place for the rail jammers and threw Mike Cassanova a cool $2,500 cash for placing 2nd by only one vote.
As the weekend festivities are over so to too appears to be the eastern sierra storm. However, we will remain camped out through this week’s Superpark action and surely much more desert debaucheries. Although we do not get naked and ride makeshift unicorns around our camped community, a unique contingent will continue to grow as more fun loving people realize the freedom and similarities of mountain riding and desert dwelling.