MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK
SNOW MELT AND SHOVELING DIRT
Sponsored by Alterra Resorts
We’d like to welcome you to our latest guest column, presented by Alterra Resorts and Mammoth Mountain Bike Park. Each month we’ll be meeting new people from the Mammoth Bike Park team, and they’ll be sharing stories about the mountain, what it takes to work with the US Forest Service, challenges of operating a bike park and of course some fun personalities that make one of California’s premier bike parks such a legendary destination. Gabe Taylor is Mammoth Mountain’s marketing manager and will be our liaison between bike park staff and you, our readers, so we’ll let this first column be a bit of an introduction to Gabe and Mammoth’s plans this summer.
TLW: WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AT MAMMOTH?
Gabe Taylor (GT), marketing manager for the bike park at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area for the last 7 years. I was a professional snowboarder before making the career change to professional marketer.
TLW: AS A FORMER SNOWBOARDER AND FAN OF SNOW, WHAT IS YOUR MOUNTAIN BIKE EXPERIENCE?
GT: Well, I’m a big fan and have been riding for 20 years or so, although I sucked for the first 15. Not that I don’t suck now, just slightly less. I’m a fan of it all really; enduro, XC, climbing, descending, jumps, rocks, flow… hell sometimes a bike path is a blast. I race a bit of XC and enduro, although I’m not great at either, but I still love it.
TLW: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO RIDE MOUNTAIN BIKES?
GT: Mammoth and the St. George, Utah area.
TLW: MAMMOTH HAS A VERY UNIQUE TYPE OF “DIRT” WHAT ACTUALLY IS IT? DO YOU HAVE NICKNAMES FOR THE DIRT? IS IT FOUND ACROSS THE ENTIRE MOUNTAIN OR ONLY IN CERTAIN ZONES AND IF SO, WHY?
GT: Mammoth is located in the most studied volcanic region on earth with eruptions occurring less than 100,000 years ago. The last eruption spewed small stones everywhere, pumice, which is the unique dirt we shred on here. Most call it “kitty litter” but I’ve tried it and it doesn’t absorb shit. It actually floats…Guess that’s why so many scientists come here.
Some of us call it the “secret sauce” because it can make certain trails super fun, or maybe it’s a mindset, either way I’m sure everyone agrees it makes things interesting. Pumice is found over the entirety of Mammoth Mountain, some spots have more than others but you’d be hard pressed to find a zone with none. (If you do please let us know, we’ll start building a trail there tomorrow.)
Thanks Gabe, lets get into the early season status report and hear what Mammoth Bike Park has got planned this year.
What a start. Last fall Mammoth received 11” of rain in less than 48 hours. That’s a lot of water for our mountain, too much in fact, and the rivers of water tore gouges all over the place. Our trail crew has been working hard to repair Mammoth Mountain’s trail network and getting the 80+ miles of singletrack open for the season.
The good news is that with that moisture and hard-working trail crew we’ve been able to really dial in areas of the mountain that might have been overlooked the last few seasons. Case in point, our jump lines have been getting some major love led by Jake Slaminski. Jake is our new bike park manager and comes from our Unbound Terrain Park department and has an eye for transitions and creative feature builds. If you’ve ridden our jump lines before, Twilight Zone, Lower Chain Smoke, or Pipeline, you’re familiar with his attention to detail and fun.
Mammoth Ops Updates: Off the Top and Skid Marks are open, offering downhills from 11,000 feet. Pro line trails Chain Smoke and Bullet are now open for the season.
To talk trail, Gabe handed the questions off to one of their trail builders, Jake Slaminski.
TLW: WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT’S YOUR ROLE?
Jake Slaminski (JS), I am a Manager for the Unbound Terrain Park department and Mammoth Bike Park
TLW: WHAT WERE SOME OF THE FOCUSES IN THE PARK THIS YEAR?
JS: We wanted to focus early season work on Smooth Operator, Lower Chain Smoke, lower Twilight Zone and Pipeline.
TLW: WHY DID YOU WANT TO FOCUS ON THOSE TRAILS IN PARTICULAR?
JS: Mammoth has always been known for having some of the best technical trails in the U.S., but we all agreed that bringing our jump trail quality up to that of the tech trails was a goal worth putting initiatives towards.
Mother nature dictated trail placement. It’s often windy in Mammoth which can make jumping a little difficult, however Pipeline and Lower Twilight are mostly blocked from the wind so putting effort into those trails would see the most rewards. We try to focus on user experience, realize what they want to see and ride the most but also work wisely so we’re not battling nature or putting things in places that will make trails harder to maintain, find the flow on or ride safely.