Tips for your First Double Black Diamond

If it’s time to stop saying “someday” and start tackling double black diamonds on skis or a snowboard then the ASO Mammoth team has the perfect guide for you.

There’s nothing quite like skiing down a double black diamond that you thought would be impossible, especially somewhere like Mammoth Mountain where the terrain is as steep as anywhere in the world. There’s also danger though, so we’ve put together a short guide to your first run down a double black diamond. Check it out, stay safe on the snow, and visit ASO Mammoth for the best ski and snowboard rentals in Mammoth Lakes!

Pay Attention to the Weather

The weather affects conditions in more ways than just snowfall. Paying attention to it could be the difference between a great run on a double black diamond and a dangerous fall.

If the weather is well below freezing then the snow on steep, ungroomed runs will be hard and difficult to hold an edge on. If the weather dips below freezing during the night and climbs up during the day then you can wait for the snow to soften up before taking a run on a double black diamond.

That’s not all to consider though.

Follow the Sun 

Even when the temperature is at or just below freezing, strong sunlight softens snow and makes it much easier to ski or snowboard on.  Otherwise, double black diamonds can be hardpacked and difficult to hold an edge on since they’re steep and ungroomed.

At large resorts the sun hits different slopes at different times, and cloud cover can move away or in based on weather patterns. Pay attention and time your run so that you hit your first double black diamond when the sun is too.

Stay in Sight or With a Friend

Double black diamonds are often far away from groomed or crowded trails. If you have a serious accident on one of them and you’re alone then it may take time before anyone sees you, so either stay in sight of the main trail or ski with a friend so you’re never injured and stranded.

Aim for Powder Days

Powder makes everything easier, so if there’s a line you’ve been eyeing for a while then try it on a powder day so you can completely commit.

Powder snow can be difficult to get out of if you lose your speed or fall into it, so keep your speed up while skiing powder. That shouldn’t be a problem on a steep double black though!

Don’t Forget to Make Turns 

That may sound obvious, but when you’re on a steep double black for the first time you may be tempted to ride your edges all the way down.

However, not only does that carve away the snow for other skiers but you also need speed to properly ski and snowboard steep terrain. Make yourself make turns until they come naturally to you on steep double blacks!