Photos of the Week 5

Forgive me for mostly doing a lot of photo only posts lately, that's primarily because there isn't a whole lot to do around town right now. Only about a third of the mountain is open for skiing and snowboarding so far and because of this business in general around town is slow for the time being. But that's soon to change with the holidays coming up. In the meantime, here are some more photos from around Mammoth.

I'd say that the snow out there is a little worse than mediocre. It hasn't snowed in a few weeks and it has been terribly cold and windy lately (5 F at night and gusts upwards of 100 mph at the mountain summit), so the conditions have only been getting worse.



Photos of the Week 4

Last week the Mammoth Mountain opened up for skiing. Haven't really been up to much, so I haven't been taking many pictures, but enjoy nonetheless!

There isn't a whole lot of snow on the mountain, as such only 4 chair lifts are open out of 23, so the riding isn't the best, but it's nice to be out there able to get a few runs in before laundry has to be done.

Let's Talk About Where I Work

Tamarack Lodge was built in 1924 by the Foy family from Los Angeles, on whom the Bob Hope movie "The Seven Little Foys" was based. The family used the house as a place to entertain guests from Hollywood. In 1927, Lloyd B. Austin bought the property and would subsequently own it for the next twenty years. It was during this time that cabins started being built, fishermen during the summer and skiiers in the winter. At the time there were no roads to Mammoth Lakes, so all transportation in the winter was via dog sled, snowshoe or ski.
Over the decades, the lodge changed owners a number of times. Cross country skiing was added to the resort in the 70s and The Lakefront Restaurant in the 80s. Today the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area owns and operates Tamarack Lodge.
As it stands now, Tamarack Lodge has over 30 cabins and over 10 rooms in the lodge. Virtually all of the cabins are unique to each other. There are studio, one, two and three bedroom cabins, all with kitchens, most with fireplaces. One of the biggest attractions to the lodge is The Lakefront restaurant (a lot of people tell me that it's the best restaurant in town, and I honestly agree with them), which you can find out more about and see a menu by clicking here.
Cabin 11 is out premier 3-bedroom cabin.
The studio cabins are quite quaint.
A 1-bedroom cabin.
Cabin 25, a 2-bedroom, is one of my favorites.
The interiors of many of the cabins have recently been renovated, a necessity as many of the cabins date back to the early 1950s.
Some of the cabins have absolutely fantastic views.
Tamarack Lodge is located directly across from the Twin Lakes, which has great fishing and beautiful views.
You can even have weddings on the property.
It really is a beautiful place and it's pretty great that this is what I see everyday when I get to work.

Photos of the Week 2

For my days off I drove down to Los Angeles for my friend Roig's birthday. It's a five and a half hour drive from Mammoth to L.A., a very beautiful five and a half hour drive.

Boxcars with mountains in the background.

There just so happened to be a birthday party for my friend Sarah (so many birthdays!). It just so happened to be at the Moonlight Rollerway. It just so happened to be "Organ Night." (click the video below to view)

It rained almost the entire time I was down there, which was unfortunate, but that very same storm dumped 18 inches of snow down on Mammoth. Almost immediately after I passed the "Welcome to Mammoth Lakes" sign, I was surrounded by snow, in the air and on the ground.

The next morning, I woke up to this sight outside of my bedroom window (click the video below to view)

While it isn't unusual for it to snow here in October, it won't be here for long. It's expected to get up to the 60s this weekend, so it's doubtful that the snow will be on the ground for much longer.

All this, just as the leaves started to change color.

The Great Pacific Northwest

On a recent return flight from Miami for my cousin Merrilyn's wedding, I got bumped off of my flight due to a combination of overbooked and delayed flights. The best part was that I got 300 Delta Dollars out of it. Now, it just so happened that I had been speaking with my friends Jake, Michelle, James and Rebecca about planning a trip to Portland, Oregon, which is where Jake and Michelle live, not long after obtaining said Delta Dollars. It also turned out that that was the going rate for a one-way ticket from Los Angeles to Portland was roughly $300. Booked.

Portland, along with the rest of the Pacific Northwest, is notorious for it's depressing, overcast and drizzling weather. However, in the summer, the weather is perfect. As Michelle (more or less) said "if it were this clear and beautiful year-round, Portland would be the best city in the world." The temperature is a perfect mid-70s in the daytime, with nighttime lows in the 50s or 60s. There's a bit of overcast in the mornings, however it likes to clear out at around noon.

One of the first things I noticed was how amazingly clean the city center was, it can stand toe to toe with the cities of Japan. There are parks and public squares scattered all over downtown, with lots of tree cover in these areas. You can tell the city really comes alive in the summer, with people taking full advantage of the great weather. There are farmers markets, music festivals, beer festivals, people sunbathing and the like.

Food Trucks. I know that they are everywhere in this country now, but Portland is doing it right. There are food trucks everywhere, I can't imagine you ever being more than a mile from at least 5 food trucks in the city. All over, and especially downtown, there are a ridiculous amount of parking lots that have turned into food courts made up of food carts, as seen above. There are your staple foods, Thai, Asian-fusion, hot-dogs, burgers; but than there are also your unique specialty carts. Traditional japanese festival food, Montreal style poutine, Polish, egg sandwiches, gypsy food and new trucks pop up with different fare all the time.

Portland also serves as a model to any city in regards to public transportation and bike usage. A light-rail, named the Max, runs from the airport to, and throughout much of, downtown. There are bike lanes and paths that can take you safely and quickly from rush hour traffic in the middle of the city to the suburbs, past amusement parks, hotels and wildflowers with amazing views of the city from any of the many bridges that cross the Willamette river, which bisects the city's east and west sides.

The very first thing I noticed, before the clean and before the food carts, was the green. So green! Trees everywhere!  No doubt that is has a lot to do with the constant drizzle the region experiences. But on top of that, the city and its citizens seem to be much more keen to maintaining these green aspects.

Just a short drive outside of Portland in almost any direction will bring you to a lot of beautiful pieces of nature. Jake, James and I went on a camping trip close to the Pacific coast. We took a ninety minute drive, past farms and Paul Bunyon, to Saddle Mountain State Park. In the morning we climbed to the top of the 3,283 foot (1,001 meter) tall Saddle Mountain for some spectacular views. From there it is was only a short drive to Canon Beach on the Pacific coast, where, despite the freezing water there was quite a lot of surfing going on.

Jake looking across the mountains

30 miles in the other direction of Saddle Mountain is Multnomah Falls, sitting on the south side Columbia River Gorge and is the largest waterfall in Oregon. The sight of the falls isn't all there is to see in the area, there are also dozens and dozens of miles of hiking trails up in the mountains behind the falls with streams and smaller waterfalls aplenty.

All said, Portland and its surrounding areas are fantastic, fun, delicious and beautiful. There's a lot more to say about the city, it's certainly one of my favorites, so check it out yourself. Also, be sure to go into Powell's Books in downtown, it is the best bookstore I have ever been to.

I've Moved!

Since my last post in May, I've made a few moves. After staying with my parents in Miami for a few months, I packed up my things and drove across the country to Los Angeles where my friend Jonathan let me crash on his couch while I looked for work. Work was no more forthcoming there than in Miami. So after I while I broadened my search to outside the LA area. Part of that search was to a number of ski resorts, and to my surprise I was offered most of the jobs that I applied for (some that I wasn't particularly qualified for either). Of those offers, I accept one in Mammoth Lakes, California at Tamarack Lodge.

Ever since I went snowboarding in Nagano I have been thinking about how much I'd like to live in a ski resort town and be able to enjoy both the drastic change in scenery from Florida as well as be able to go snowboarding whenever I'd like, no just for a few days. This is why after I kept running dry on my searches in Los Angeles I switched over to ski resorts.

Mammoth Lakes is a small town, population 8,000, one large grocery store, there is no door-to-door mail delivery (everyone in town as a P.O. box) and every one seems to to know everyone. A lot of people seem surprised that there are ski resorts in California, but not all of California is beaches and sun tans. There are mountains galore all over the state, just as well, the northern border of the state is more north of all of Colorado, Salt Lake City and even Chicago. There are actually more than 30 ski resorts all over the state of California.

My job here in Mammoth is that of Front Desk Clerk at Tamarack Lodge. Tamarack Lodge is located a few miles outside of town on Twin Lake. The main draw is our private cabins, ranging from studios to three bedrooms, a lot of people come to Tamarack to get away from the buzz of the main village and just relax next to the fireplace. In the winter we are a cross-country skiing resort with miles of trails and a staff of Olympic athletes. It's honestly a very beautiful place.

A beutiful landscape, a meadow and lake in the foreground and mountains in the background.

This also means that I'm going to be back at making regular posts here at If you have any questions, suggestions or comments feel free to leave them in the comment section or shoot me an e-mail at .

New Years in the Desert

From Christmas in Miami, I went to spend New Years in the Greater Phoenix Area of Arizona with my girlfriend Stacy.  This place is starting to become one of my favorite places in the US.  The weather is nice (no rain), it's not too big for its own good (Miami's main problem), a lot of amazing food (seriously, all sorts of blow-your-mind food) and all the beautiful Western landscapes you can handle.

We (being me, Stacy and plenty of her friends) started off the New Years celebrations with some fireworks.  Their legality was pretty questionable.  And by questionable I mean that they were definitely from Mexico and illegal.

All good and sparkled up for the main event, we headed out to the party.

The party was being held at a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-of-some-guy's house known as "The Compound." There was tons of art all over the place, it was a bit of a makeshift backyard art gallery, with live music and fire pits, pretty spectacular.

Stacy about to get 2011'ed

A lot of the rest of my time in Arizona was spent eating as much of its amazing food as I good.  Some recommendations I have if you are ever in the area: Matt's Big Breakfast, Green, Pita Jungle and Filiberto's.

To cap things off, we went and saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show with a live cast, which was great fun, and we also went to a drive-in to see True Grit.  Eating Mexican food while watching a western at a drive-in in Arizona is probably something Billy Joel would write an amazing song about.

It went by all too fast.