As I start another season long ski school at Mammoth, I sometimes can’t help but think what motivates me to undertake the 600 mile round trip journey every weekend.
Of course the obvious answer is to get better at skiing and my ultimate goal is to get into ski mountaineering/back country skiing but there is lot more to it than just that.
Initially this year, I was skeptical about going to mammoth every weekend but it all changed during my first trip of the season during thanksgiving. I was riding on chair 1 by myself and all of sudden it hit me, that i am in love with the place.
It was a feeling that, I daresay, I have never experienced before. I was just happy to be there. The crowds or the lack of snow, these things didn’t matter to me, all that mattered was that I was in Mammoth on a beautiful sunny day, Skiing and not having to worry about anything else happening in the world.
Skiing for me is not just about finding deep powder or good snow to ride on. Its about the whole experience, the drive to Mammoth after Lone pine is beautiful with the snow capped sierras glistening in full moon light. The camaraderie, friendships that I have developed, wonderful folks that I meet add to the whole experience.
Skiing by itself presents different thrills and challenges. Sometimes (well most of the times) I like to go fast but there are times when going through the trees making those quick turns on fresh powder is equally fun.
Another hobby of mine is photography, while I am still hesitant to carry my dslr on the slopes but night photography is something I have started experimenting with and it is quite interesting and fun to play with my camera at night specially on a full moon. I do plan to take it on most of the trips to mammoth and capture the sierras.
My first himalayan experience was when I was 10 and since then I have always loved spending time in mountains and skiing adds another dimension to the sport of mountaineering. The idea of climbing a peak and skiing down is very appealing. In future I definitely see myself doing ski descents of some himalayan peaks. 🙂