Playtime at Mammoth

A couple of weekends I ago I spent some time with friends doing some chair lift assisted mountain biking.   I did not a take many pictures as I was playing with a new video setup.   Here are a few.


Here is a Megan cruising on by.


James and Dale zipping down Brake Through


Dale cruising by


Michael pointed in the right direction.

Mammoth Mountain Playtime

So last week I got in a couple of days or lift-assisted MTBing at Mammoth Mountain.   Eight of us went in together on a Condo rental which made for some comfy living arrangements.


Mandatory photo at the top.      Over the course of the two days I hit most of the trails with the exception of some of the red triangle “pro” lines.   Some of those are freaking gnarly and I felt under traveled and under protected.  There are plenty of trails for all skill levels and genres here.  Good times indeed.


Steve on Twilight Zone




LeAnn rolling


Megan cruising


Dayle and Michael



Michael on Skid Marks.   I love taking the Gondola all the way to the top for the last run of the day and taking Skid Marks to Juniper to roll all the way back down into town.   The trail dumps out less than a quarter mile from our house and it is a fun and scenery descent.   Highly recommended.


Michael rolling on Juniper

Mammoth Lakes – Finishing Up

The last half of the family vacation were hella fun.  On Wednesday, the boys and I went up the mountain for some more trail fun.   We got off at the McCoy station about took “Trail Home” back down the Adventure Center.  From there we took the gondola back up to the McCoy station and took “Brake Through”.  The boys were riding quite well and was quite surprised at how quickly they have been progressing over this week.

 Jake on “Brake Trough”

The boys were itching to try some more difficult stuff so we decided to check out the lower portion of “Flow” and then onto “Shotgun”.   They really dug the more difficult terrain and some of the features like the wall ride.  

Will getting some good height on the Shotgun wall ride

Jake getting a little wall action.  Even with just getting barely on the wall he giggled and thought that was the best thing ever.

Will decided to tackle a log ride further down the trail.  I was a little apprehensive about it but was pretty stoked when after several attempts he nailed it.


We finished off the day at Lake Mary by renting some pedal boat to fart around on the lake and do a little fishing.     There was a lot more of pedalling around than fishing and Casey and Jake proved that pedal boats are not swamp proof.   It was the best boat rental ever as got way more than our money’s worth of laughs out of them.

On Thursday, while the family slept in, I we got in some runs on a few of the double black diamond trails.   They have some pretty gnarly trails up there that lett me humbled and stokes at the same time.   I did a couple of runs down Techno-Rock before hitting up Chain Smoke to Twilight Zone.   I was shotting some video and did not get any photos.    I can see a bigger bike in my future if I wanted to ride terrain like that on a regular basis.   For the final run, I went back up and did Bullet to Follow Me.    I was back at the room by lunch.

In the afternoon, the boys and I went checked out the old Mammoth Consolidated Mine.   The remenants of the buildings and equipment all over the site that are pretty cool to poke around.   

There is even a mine shaft that you can check out.  It is plugged some 30-40 down the tunnel but is really cool as you can still see the rails for the ore carts.  When I say cool, literally applies because as soon as you step into the the tunnel it feels like the tempurture is in the 60 degrees range. 

After finishing up at the mine we spent the rest of the afternoon feeding the fish at Twin Lake one baited hook at a time.    The following morning it would already be time to pack up and head home.  Man does time fly when you are having fun.  This was a great vacation and one I sure we will remember fondly for many years to come.

Mammoth Day Two

What a fun day in Mammoth we had yesterday.   After leisurely getting up and around, the boys and I went off to do some fishing at some of the local lakes.    Fishing is a good way to help teach the value of patience and we should have been doing this more often.  With my kid’s daily life of video games, hockey, skateboarding, bikes and all the other things that keep them buzzing with activity it was good to put things in the slow lane for a change.  We were all reminded that is called fishing and not catching.   


On several occasions we watched trout swim right below the rock were were perched on.   One even came up to the surface and gulped down a bug that just landed on the water. 

I was really stoked when my boys not only got to see a Bald Eagle but also watched it swoop down and pluck a trout right out of the water.  The eagle then landed on an dead tree nearby and proceeded to scarf down the trout.

While all Bald Eagles are big birds this was not a huge eagle like the one I saw in Anacortes, Washington earlier this year.   One thing is for certain I was so stoked that my boys got to have such an awesome nature experience without having to turn to the Discovery channel.

My mid-afternoon we decided to cut the fish some slack and headed back to the condo.   Looking at the clock we realized we had enough time to catch a gondola ride up the mountain.  Jake and Casey had some shopping on thier to-do list so Will and I suited up and headed out for a run down the mountain.  Will has been bucking to do some of the more difficult trails on the mountain.   I was also looking forward to some of the more technical and feature/stunt oriented trails as well but at the same time the Dad in me has been apprehensive about putting Will in over his head.  

After talking with some folks I decided to test Will out on the black diamond upper section of “Skid Marks”  that starts off right off the top of the mountain.    Will did quite well through the rocky bits and switchbacks, but did take a minor “soil sample”.   He did have all of the protective gear on so he did not even get a scratch.   I did find that following my son through the technical and semi-exposed sections made my riding more difficult as my brain kept switching back and forth between mountain-biker and dad mode.      

Once I realized that Will’s bike handling skills have been improving significantly I found that I was able to spend more time riding with him as a fellow mountain biker and and less as a protective father.  After Skid Marks we took the more intermediate trails of Paper Route and Juniper down the mountain and enjoyed some great swooping and flowing singletrack goodness down the mountain.  

The late afternoon light was really nice and colors of the mountains were starting to go off.   We stopped a couple of times just to take in the views.  Will has always enjoyed the thrill of riding but I think something may have clicked this afternoon about intrinsic value of experiencing the scenery and of the overall outdoor experience beyond simply the enjoyment of riding the bike.

Family Vacation at Mammoth

I took the family up to Mammoth Lakes for the week to get in some vacation time. The plan is to relax, ride some trails, do some fishing and whatever else strikes as interesting.   Yesterday we hit up the mountain for a bit of lift-assisted mountain biking.   It was pretty nice to spend no energy to get up 11,053 feet and then ride trails back down to the condo at 8,200 feet and many miles away.  

Will and Jake clowning in the gondola

The Boys at “Top of Sierra”.  The views from here are pretty freaking impressive.  

We did the Off The Top trail from the peak.  It was pretty interesting riding above the tree line.  Will led out like shot off like a bat out of hell.  I was happy to see that he followed some directions on waiting at every trail intersection.   He actually did better than that.  He would rip for a ways and then wait to see Jake and I to come into view.   Jake was a little intimdated at first with the expansiveness of the mountain side up top but after a couple of switchbacks he got the hang of it as was zipping along quite nicely. 

After “Off The Top” we hooked up with “Beach Cruiser”  that took up back down to the bottom of the gondola we took up.  From there we picked up “Downtown”.   Downtown was a heck of a lot of fun that I’m guessing is around 5 miles or so long.    

Here are the boys taking breather on Downtown.   Yes they are looking at little pooped at this point.   I’m guessing we did about 13.5 miles of trail riding in the morning.   The downtown trail is really fun and it literally comes out of the woods across the street from the condo we are renting.   Over lunch the boys got some energy back.  A few hours later we were all headed back up the mountain for another run down the mountain.  The boys were certainly good and tired after the second run.  We spent the rest of the evening enjoying a hearty meal and relaxing before the boys zonked out.