Which brings me neatly onto the shred steez in Mammoth. Now I have already had a good middle-aged harrumph on the issue of peculiar snowboarding fashions, in my Breckenridge missive. Over the course of the season, I did however become immune to the sartorial daftness on display in America’s resorts, such that by the time I arrived in California I thought it was entirely normal to see people wearing nappies on top of wetsuits on top of onesies with the sleeves cut off, and neon leg warmers rolled over their wrists with plastic bags for gloves and egg boxes covered in tinfoil on their heads.
“If you slightly zeach out on your back lips, the fact your trousers are slightly the wrong shade of grey will land you in all sorts of trouble”
The good doctor Illicit pointed out that Brits are usually the worst show ponies on the slopes. Based on a season in the US, I would actually say the Yanks take the biscuit – but the big difference is most of them are actually strong enough riders to pull it off. If you can 720 onto a rail and then front flip into a nose manual into a butter 360 and then backflip off a three-inch-high death cookie, then you can turn up wearing a pinafore and a pair of sexy panties (and mitts, of course) and people won’t even so much as blink an eyelid. If you slightly zeach out on your back lips however, the fact your trousers are slightly the wrong shade of grey will land you in all sorts of trouble.
I can kind of understand the renaissance of the salopette / dungaree look, and I sort of get why people might wear sunglasses and a helmet, and lots of people tell me that massive mitts in spring are actually really practical, but I simply don’t get why anyone would want to roll their trousers up over their boots to look like someone who forgot how long their legs were when they bought their outfit. Based on my fact-based empirical study over the course of two weeks, lots of people in Mammoth don’t know how long their legs are.
“If you turn up in Mammoth Lakes trying to find “the centre” or “where all da action is bro” you may struggle, because it is a peculiar doughnut configuration”
As anyone who has done GCSE geography in the last 25 years will know, most UK towns conform to a fairly standard functional distribution. Central Business District (CBD) in the middle, surrounded by suburbia where people with life goals mow their lawns, within which is usually a discrete education zone, and then outside that is usually mud flats, boiling lakes of lava and shark infested swamps.
In the US, most places seem to have a cryptically titled “Main Street”, either side of which are shops, bars and places to buy ammunition. This makes it easy for outsiders to understand where to go if they want to eat a hot dog whilst getting drunk and shooting at things after day of shred.
If you turn up in Mammoth Lakes trying to find “the centre” or “where all da action is bro” you may struggle, because it is a peculiar doughnut configuration, whereby all the residential housing is in the middle, encircled by what would look to a European like a full-blown motorway (and thus the last place you would expect to find a bar or any shop other than a Currys, Pet World or Morrisons).
Mammoth Lakes is thus confusing for GCSE students, and even more so for middle-aged men reared on a diet of European ski resorts which have all the stuff you need (snowboard shops, bars, crepe hut, cheese shop) is near the lifts in the centre of the town. Main Street isn’t really the main street, The Village is nothing like a village and the some of the best bars are hidden away in buildings where you’d think you’re more likely to find someone with a combover trying to sell you competitive rates of household insurance.
Once you rip up your school textbooks and preconceived ideas of what “normal” is, you will however find it much easier to discover some fantastic places to hang out and feed. The Mammoth Brewing Company or The Tavern will serve you good locally brewed beer and food, and The Stove is a little gem which serves the kind of scran you would expect someone’s lovely American auntie to make. If you need to satiate your competitive edge, then you can also head to Rock and Bowl, which has ten pin bowling and meat / non-meat based products to consume faster than your friends.
But to be honest, all of this is detail / a herbaceous border / salad dressing.
Because, if you snowboard, you have to visit Mammoth. That’s it.