- There were only 13 cars in the eagle Lodge parking lot today
- The sun is still out at 7pm
- I haven’t made a fire at home in over a week
- The dogs are starting to shed and lose their winter coat
- The road bikers are out
- Lower rock creek is great for mountain biking
- People have been climbing at the Warming Wall
- I haven’t worn my puffy down jacket in weeks
I always find Spring a strange transition here in Mammoth Lakes. In fact, it can be a little overwhelming at times. There’s this feeling of winter ending where I want to maximize my Mammoth Mountain ski pass for the season and get those last few days on the hill. And then knowing that the corn skiing in the backcountry can be a small window, you really have to be on top of it…especially on a year like this where so much of the lower elevation stuff is completely melted out.
But just as the mind is trying to tackle that last bit of winter, there’s also that summer excitement there. For those of you like me, it is a time to get the hands and fingers back in climbing shape from taking the winter off the rock. Same thing with the knees and butt…time to get back in the saddle and start hitting the road and mountain bikes again. See, that’s where the overwhelming part comes into play. Too many sports…this time of year you can ski, snowboard, road bike, climb, mountain bike, hike, camp, fish, and so on.
For those of you who are Mammoth Mountain MVP Season pass holders, then you probably already know the good news…..June Mountain Ski Resort will reopen for the 2013/2014 ski season. Maybe locals and tourists alike were disappointed this season when it was announced that June was not opening for their usual ski operations.
But in Rusty Gregory’s letter that was recently emailed to all MVP pass holders, Rusty promised the MVP pass will include unlimited skiing at both Mammoth and June. His letter actually states that “June Mountain will be re-opening next year with a new focus on families, particularly those new to skiing and riding.” For those of you that got the letter, this part was right under where he stated the new price for the MVP pass and basically says you have two weeks to give him your money before he jacks the rate up on you. Typically Rusty/Mammoth B.S.!
And I’m not quite sure what a “focus on families” means, but just as long as those families stay out of my way on J1 and J7 on one of our epic Eastern Sierra powder days! Just kidding of course…I think June is an ideal place for families to avoid the crowds and learn to ski on a smaller, flatter, Ma & Pa type ski resort. That is if the kid doesn’t freak out after riding up the rackety J1 chair which I think is about as old as I am.
On a different note, I enjoyed the three times my dogs and I did a split boarding adventure on June Mountain this year. It was quite nice having the whole place to ourselves with no people, employees, noise, movement, etc. But at least now I know I can take the ‘for sale’ sign off my Burton Fish as that is definitely my tool of choice when rising June on a big pow day. There’s nothing like a 164” fish to carry you across the flats as you race back to J7 to go get another lap!
CURRENTLY THE LOWEST PRICED 1-BEDROOM + LOFT ACTIVE LISTING!
Conveniently located in town near Eagle Lodge shuttle stop, Sierra Star Golf Course, Mammoth Meadow & Creek, and the shopping district. Light furnishings, TV, VCR and stereo provide for a comfortable mountain home. This 1-bedroom + loft unit is only a short walk from the heart of Mammoth and right on the shuttle route. Master bedroom queen bed, sofa sleeper in the living room and 3 twin beds in the loft make for variety and comfort.
What I like about this condo floor plan is that you have vaulted ceilings to really help make the square footage feel bigger than it really is. And with two full bathrooms, there is plenty of space for everyone.
ON-SITE HOA AMENITIES:
Tennis Court View
Free Wireless Internet
2 Flat Screen Televisions
Unit Completely Furnished
Fully Equipped Kitchen Linens and Towels Provided
Soaps and Paper Products in Unit
Fireplace with Wood Provided
Laundry Facilities on-site
When it comes time to buying home, whether it be a primary residence, a vacation home, or strictly an investment property, nobody wants to buy at the peak. But with all the instability that we’ve recently seen in the housing market over this last decade, many are reluctant to try and forecast and speculate on any major housing trends that we may see in the near future. But when it comes to mortgage lending and today’s interest rates, I think we can easily agree to speculate that they have nowhere to go but up. Now this isn’t to say that this is going to happen tomorrow. But without doubt, we know from history that sooner or later they must and they will rise back to a level most likely in line with some historical averages.
For quite a while now interest rates on mortgage financing have been hovering at an all-time record low. The ability to get financing is sure tough right now, but for those that can qualify, it’s just about as close to free money as you can get on a loan. And now that it has been about 7 years since we were at the peak of our housing market here in Mammoth Lakes, I would like to think that housing depreciation is finally over. I know that most segments of our market have shown either stagnant values, or slight appreciation within the last quarter.
So assuming that our market is finally back to some sort of appreciation, or let’s even say it stays flat for the next year or two… well then that is where the significance of today’s interest rates really factor in. Because with the idea that they have nowhere to go but up, some simple math on a mortgage calculator can show you where locking in a 30-yr loan with one of these record low interest rates can be the difference of some huge cost savings when compared to even a 6.0% rate that not too long ago was considered extremely low. And with this diagram above , you can see how anyone looking to buy for the long-term has always proven to be a good investment regardless of the ups and downs. So once again, that is where owning an investment that you may possibly be paying a mortgage on for 30 years could prove to be the most profitable by financing it on a fixed rate mortgage at one of these extremely low single digit interest rates!
Yesterday Mammoth Mountain posted on their Facebook page this blurb and photo:
“In light of today’s snow and an anxiously awaited powder day ahead, we want to let you know about a change in Gondola operations. Mammoth has a new policy on pow days: we’re separating the Upper Panorama Gondola from the Bottom Gondola. In… other words, the gondola will be unlinked at McCoy Station, so if you want to get to the top, queue up at McCoy Station. We’ve done this to alleviate “Gondola Roulette.” Ready, set, discuss!”
…well discussion is what they got!!! In just 17 hours of this post going live there has been 323 comments posted with the great majority of them being very negative. My personal option: ABSOLUTELY ABSURD! Now am I going to get myself all worked up and post some trashy Facebook response, or even go off on a bad mouth tangent here in this blog post? Of course not; I own a split board and am surrounded by beautiful mountains and peaks where I can go find fresh top to bottom powder turns days (even weeks) after a fresh snow. But I do have to say I am a little disappointed in Mammoth Mtn’s decision and reasoning on this one.
So when they changed up their policy on opening the backside of Chair 3 prior to have the top gondola and Chair 23 open first…I thought that was fantastic! I was thinking to myself, now these guys finally get it. But now I hear this news and think to myself, what’s the deal? Where do they come up with these ideas? With this new policy in place it’s going to seem dismal to drop the looker’s right of the face runs and the paranoids on a powder day knowing that you are going to have to unload at midstation and get back in line. So now what? Does ever just drop the first half of the face and then do a hard skier’s right traverse back to mid? Now we’ll have horizontal tracks going in the opposite direction of what eliminating opening the back of 3 accomplished.
And then there is the whole thing about alleviating “Gondie Roulette”. WHY? Why should that be a big deal or even a topic of discussion for the mtn;’s management. Gongie Roulette is harmless and all part of the fun.
All in all….I feel this was a poor decision by Mammoth Mountain. Come on guys….please rethink this!!!!!
….why not do both? What I sincerely love about my lifestyle living here in Mammoth Lakes is the ability to make almost each and every day a work day, as well as a play day. I’m blessed that I have found a career and environment that allows me to juggle both worth and play so freely.
Most nights I can be found in front of my computer late into the early hours of the morning. Often time’s people ask me why I am up at such an hour and what on earth am I doing. Well the answer is quite simple really…I’m getting caught up! Let’s take today for example:
Last night I sat in front of my computer until almost 2am getting busy work done, so I could comfortably excuse myself from the office for about 4 hours today to do some backcountry split boarding with a friend and my two dogs. So after getting up at 7am (5hrs of sleep will have to do!) and tackled all my urgent work from 8-9am, and then headed out the door. With technology these days, I was able to make and receive phone calls, text messages, and email all while ascending approximately 2000 vertical feet in one of our local mountains. After a great ski decent down and a simple slog back to the car, I was back at work shortly after getting a late lunch in me. I spent the rest of the afternoon showing property and responding to emails until it was time to go teach my Gracie Jiu-Jitsu class. I got home around 9:30pm, made a quick dinner, and got back on the computer a little after 10.
So here it is a few minutes after midnight, and sure I’m working late and quite exhausted, but it was all worth for me. I was able to have a successful and efficient work day and get some great outdoor exercise in as well. What more could someone ask for.
What I love about Mammoth Lakes is that you really don’t need to own a car to live here; especially during the winter where everything is so close. And what makes this possible is the FREE shuttle service that zigzags itself through our 4 square mile town.
Here is the Winter Transit Routes for 2013. You’ll see that it’s been made real easy by giving each bus route a name of a color. This way if you need to get somewhere tricky, you just hope from one color to another and you should be there in minutes. On the Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green Line’s, the frequency is ever 15 minutes, and these are most likely ones of the four bus lines that you would need to get anywhere. What I love about the Red Line is that it starts and stops at both the Snowcreek Athletic Club and Mammoth Mountain’s Main Lodge. That right there covers just about the longest distance commute there is in Mammoth.
This winter season I have been making it a point to try and take the bus up to the mountain on days I am skiing. This has been a great convenience, especially on those storm days when I don’t want to shovel out the snow in front of my garage and hassle with getting the car out. I just suit up at home, get my boots on, grab my board or skiis, and do the short walk to the nearest bus stop. I find that I am at the slopes just as fast if not faster than if I would have taken my own vehicle. And when it’s time to head home, I just reverse the process. Not only is this convenient, but it’s also a “greener” approach to living and saves both the environment and my pocket book from the negative effects of gasoline purchasing.
For more information on Eastern Sierra Transit Authority (ESTA) and/or the Mammoth Area Shuttle (MAS), please visit www.VisitMammoth.com/transit.
About two years I was in Moab, Utah for a week doing some fantastic mountain biking. One of the days there we were at the famous Slick Rock area doing one of the standard biking loops. It was then that I first laid eyes on a ‘fat bike’. Here we all were on our full suspension, super tricked out, mountain bikes…and then along comes a guy on a rigid frame bike with the widest tires I’d had ever seen. And low and behold, he flies right past us and cleanly navigates through a difficult section of trail that had a few of us stopped dead in our tracks.
Well here we are two years later and these ‘fat bikes’ seem to be on the rise. As far as I know, there are only two bike manufacture’s making them:
Around these parts people call these ‘snow bikes’, but they can be very versatile and are also great on sand and dirt. What makes a ‘fat bike’ unique is the width of the tires and the frame and fork dimensions that fit such a tire. Fat bike tires can range between 3.5 – 5 inches in width. This is approximately twice as wide as your standard mountain bike tire. You ride the rites with very low tire pressure and they literally float over all sorts of terrain, including SNOW!
So right after Christmas I had the opportunity to borrow a friend’s snow bike…thanks Jodi! She’s got the Surly Pugsley in all black (with pink pedals of course!) and has been riding the heck out of it throughout our groomed trails here in mammoth and the surrounding areas. Well after doing about 6-7 miles out at Shady Rest with my dogs following, both my dogs and I were instantly sold! I drove away from Shady rest that morning with tow exhausted dogs, some great leg fatigue, and an internal laughter shouting “cross country skis for sale”! I thought to myself, who needs cross country skis anymore when I can be riding a mountain bike year round….and what a great way to exercise my dogs.
Since that day I have been researching distributors of these bikes, looking at e-bay, identifying the right frame size for myself, etc. But now I’ve just learned that the US Forest Service is starting to regulate the use of snow bikes on any trail that they groom. And unfortunately, these bikes need a groomed trail and can’t really be used to go tromping through the powder. RIDICULOUS I say! So the snowmobilers can tear through the forests with loud engine noise and air pollution from exhaust, but I can’t ride a snow bike on these trails because it’s considered a wheeled vehicle? I could probably take a horse out there and let it crap all over the trail and that would be okay too, bit no bike. What if I promise to clean up after my bike if it takes a poop out there on the trail?
In all seriousness, this is pretty disappointing. I plan to connect with a few of the local riders and snow bike owners to help work WITH the US Forest Service to get things changed. As you hear more about this, please help support the mountain bike community and our goal to have year-round riding access throughout the Eastern Sierra!
Here are some online articles I found with other fat bike endorsements and hurdles:
I had the unique opportunity to show property this last week on one of the US Forest Service cabins that are for sale within the Mammoth Lakes Basin. Typically this would be the sort of property that would be shown to prospective buyers during the summer months, but I’ve been working with a set of clients who have interest in owing one of these cabins for both winter and summer use. So I grabbed the keys from the listing agent and set a time to meet at the property.
The couple snow shoed in with their young son, and I started from Tamarack XC Ski area and used my splitboard to skin a direct path to the cabin. I met the clients on the trail just about a quarter mile from the cabin. As we approached this Lake Mary Tract of cabins, I found the cabin for sale and pushed ahead of them to assess the situation. With the amount of snowfall that we’ve already received here in Mammoth Lakes, I knew that it could be tricky getting in. I circled the cabin and could not identify a front door. However, as I made my way around the back, I found the upstairs, second story, door to the loft that was now a quarter buried and very much on a ground floor for us. I hollered back to my clients and quickly broke out my collapsible shovel from my backpack and started digging.
By the time they made it to me, I was pulling out the keys are ready to open the home up for viewing. Well just when I thought everything was going to plan, I realized that they key I had for the back door didn’t work. so after a few minutes of jiggling the key and hoping for success, I came to the conclusion that I was just wasting time at this point and needed to revert to Plan B!
Plan B: pretty simple really; find where the front door may be and start digging like it’s the gold rush. So I found the front door and started to dig. After a few minutes I could see what resembled a true front door….well kind of. So I took a quick brake and snap this photo.
Long story, short….I got all four of us in there after some good ol’ fashion sweat. We viewed the home, discussed its pros and cons, and said our goodbyes. I locked back up the cabin and set off skinning back down the trail in excitement for the quick snowboarding turns I was soon to make in route back to my car.
Now if that’s not “backcountry realty” then I don’t know what is!
If you are curious about the details on this fantastic 900 square foot, 3-bedroom cabin, you can see some photos and details here: Click Here to View Listings
Please call me anytime with questions, interest, or feedback.
Here you can read the article in full, but in summary, the author references our fantastic proximity to Yosemite National park, the ghost town of Bodie, Mono Lake, and Devils Postpile National Monument. Thanks Lonely Planet!!!
But what I really love is that they made mention of the local and tourist favorite, the Whoa Nellie Deli located at the Mobile gas station in Lee Vining. If you’ve never checked this place out (especially mid-summer when they are rocking), you’ve gotta experience this great atmosphere and tasty cuisine while sitting inside our outside of a gas station market just miles away from Yosemite’s east entrance. http://www.whoanelliedeli.com/
Now what the author neglected to mention was my favorite in the Eastern Sierra: The town of Mammoth Lakes and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area…duhhhh! But probably better off that they left out this, as we don’t want the whole world showing up here now, do we?