High winds and high adventure while spring skiing at Mammoth Mountain

Skiing in the sunshine at Mammoth Mountain. (Photo courtesy of Mammoth Ski Resort)

By Marlene Greer

This week in Mammoth Mountain was the first time I’ve actually had to pole downhill. Yes, that’s right – use my ski poles to propel myself down the mountain.

On Tuesday, bone-chilling winds at the summit hit 75 mph, according to mountain staff, and mid-mountain was not much better with strong 30-40 mph winds. The temperature at the top was a chilly 20 degrees.

The gondola to the summit was closed for three days and opened again on Thursday, though Chair 23, the other lift to the top, remained open despite the high winds. Whether that was a wise choice is debatable.

Those who ventured to the summit Tuesday and Wednesday described winds nearly blowing them over and being pelted unmercifully with ice. Skiing off the summit, they told me, was a scary experience.

Caitlin, a 20-something skier from Utah, was skiing Mammoth on Tuesday with her four friends and got caught off guard at the summit by a powerful gust of wind.

“It was so bad we all huddled together for about five minutes,” she explained. “We didn’t know what to do, which way to go. I felt like I was going to get blown off the mountain.”

Inga, spending spring break at Mammoth with her boyfriend and friends, called her one and only ride to the summit and ski down “an unfortunate adventure.”

Shredding some snow at Mammoth Mountain. (Photo courtesy of Mammoth Ski Resort)

“The wind was blowing ice so hard that the ice hitting my helmet sounded like hail,” her boyfriend added. The San Diego couple did not plan on making a second attempt to the summit that day.

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Join Stacey Cook for Chix on Stix weekend at Mammoth

Join two-time Olympian, recent second place World Cup downhiller and Mammoth team athlete Stacey Cook and friends for a weekend of Chix on Stix, May 18-19. The packages starts at $319.

Weekend itinerary

May 17

  • Welcome reception

May 18

  • Morning free skiing with personal coaching tips by Stacey and friends
  • Nutritious lunch and skiing recap
  • Outdoor yoga in a beautiful Sierra setting. Bring your own mat.
  • Late afternoon healthy cooking class with special guest chef.  Learn to cook high-energy, nutritious meals for an active lifestyle
  • Evening movie night outdoors in The Village with homemade s’mores

May 19

  • Morning free skiing and introduction to racing through gates with Stacey and friends.
  • Nutritious lunch and farewell celebration.

All ages and abilities welcome, sorry guys – women only! Groups will be created to match participant ability and provide the best experience.

Lodging special

Special 20 percent off lodging rates will be available at the Mammoth Mountain Inn to all Chix on Stix participants. Rates may vary based on room type/size and availability.