Race Report #3
Some of the tales I tell of this weekend may seem mythical or far-fetched, but I guarantee that this race weekend was one for the books. The days prior to the weekend went as any would expect, a mild storm on the forecast, no one getting their hopes up too high for a round of serious dumpage. As the weekend approached though, more and more forecasts came in that all agreed this weekend was going to have a stupid amount of fresh snow. Some reports said 4-5 feet, some went up to even 8-10ft, of course as UCSD shredders we scoffed in the face of danger and peril, and simply packed our snorkels for the weekend. Due to the ridiculous amount of snow that was procured over the weekend, all races were cancelled, so tales of the weekend will be of our athletes’ personal experiences as they were caught in the center of the biggest storm of the year.
The snowfall started Friday night and at first didn’t seem like much, but as the sun began to rise and the darkness of night was slowly encroached on by the light of day, mother nature showed no signs of stopping. The first pow day, Saturday, was of course the first Saturday of the month, so our athletes got to enjoy the beautiful miracle that is early-ups and free breakfast from McCoy Lodge. As our riders took up the early lifts, the chairlift options through the day looked dire as high wind and too much vis kept a good portion of the mountain closed. Once breakfast had been consumed and the lines for the restrooms diminished, our valiant gold medal athletes hunted for what regions of the mountain would hold the spiciest bowls of chowder. Through trial and error, our athletes stumbled upon the beautiful and quite gnarly Lincoln Mountain. Usually avoided due to steep chutes and fat moguls, Lincoln Mountain is almost exclusively used on powder days as the gnarliness of the runs keeps all those silly guys and gals far out of the way.
While the snow kept falling, the temperature on the mountain did not keep dropping. The warmer temperatures on the mountain led to our powder experience being much like getting dunked into a pool. As soon as you emerged from the chairlift or the runs, you were doused. Futile attempts were made to shed snow and water as the day progressed, but the only safe asylum our Tritons could acquire was the warmth and sanctity of the different lodges on the mountain. As much of the mountain’s populace was having a similar experience in the snow, that is, getting absolutely soaked, the lodges were slammed. People standing all over the place, all chairs and tables occupied, it was quite the scene. But as the famous Bear Grylls said, “Improvise, adapt, overcome.” Holding true to these words, our athletes adapted into the mindset of vultures, slowly hovering around tables and leftovers to consume and occupy anything abandoned for a mere second. The tactic proved wildly successful as fries, tables and chairs were acquired, and the defrosting could commence. The ski day itself ended quite early as much of the mountain began to shut down as wind and snow were relentless.
As relaxation began back at the cabin, there were talks of being snowed in and the 395 being totally shutdown due to the immense volume of snow that was currently being thrown onto the Mammoth Lakes area. While plans were unknown and road conditions uncertain, those were Sunday’s problem and our athletes ended the night with a solid 3 hour Smash Bros session, with our own co-president Jeff Lampert asserting as to why he was at the top of the food chain not only on the team hierarchy, but at life in general. Sunday began and the snow had not stopped one bit. Snow fell through the night at a rate of 2in per hour and was not set to stop until Tuesday. With some of our drivers not experienced in the snow, there was talk of leaving in the morning in an attempt to avoid having to drive as the roads collected more and more snow. As more drivers began to support this idea, the one and only Calvin provided the golden ticket of an idea: June Mountain. June Mountain is a much smaller mountain about 30 minutes from Mammoth that has steep tree runs that are optimal for charging through heavy powder. With this new plan, one car of 5 valiant skiers and boarders trekked across the frozen wasteland on a hunt for pillows and blankets of the white wondrous frozen water.
The experience on June Mountain was unlike any other ski experience the shredders had conquered. The snow was chest deep, the trees were as tight as a clam on St. Patrick’s Day, but my oh my was it an adventure. Fresh powder as far as the eye could see with about as little wind as one could ask for. While only a few runs were had, the opinion across the board was that it was one of the best days of skiing EVER. Wet, tired and fully frothed out, our adventurers returned to the cabin to make their return to San Diego. Only the one car had gone to June while the other three cars of snow enthusiasts departed earlier and missed out on the total gnar huck session that occurred at June. While it was a new kind of race weekend, there were no complaints as a weekend of pow is one only dreamed of, and the 8-10ft of snow went from being a possibility to landing on the heads of our skiers.
Next weekend is regionals up in Tahoe, where a 10 hour drive through potentially snowy roads awaits our alpine snorkel specialists. Another weekend of snow awaits us in this new foreign mountain, but with fresh legs and the eye of the tiger, our athletes only have one vision: sweet victory. Also the Super Bowl was on Sunday, but that sucked and no one watched it. They didn’t even play the Spongebob Sweet Victory, so yea, nothing missed there boys and gals.