As an advanced and adventurous skier, you seek challenging slopes and the thrills they provide. Skiing magazines extol the many virtues of Mammoth Mountain, which is five hours north of Los Angeles, where the sun shines 300 days per year. What’s the hardest run at Mammoth? The snow sports experts from ASO Mammoth, the best place to go for Mammoth ski rentals, gear, and high-quality repair services, tell you all about the one that takes the prize.
The Most Exhilarating Slope at Mammoth
The most demanding run at Mammoth Mountain is Kiwi Flats. This double black diamond groomed trail begins at 10,143 feet, almost cresting the mountaintop. The 512-foot run has a 51-degree gradient, ensuring a constant adrenaline rush.
As you leap off the sheer vertical drop-in, you’ll fly through a narrow chute that’s hemmed in by jagged boulders. The turns here are fast and deep. Once you clear the ravine, you’ll sail over a cliff, launching you into the expansive bowl. Then you’ll speed down the valley, easing into the wide-open 30-foot base.
To access Kiwi Flats, take Chair Lift 23, fondly called “The Mothership” by those it ferries often. Chair 23, the highest lift on the mountain, escorts you to the steepest runs.
Best Time to Ski Kiwi Flats
Regarding snowpack, the optimal time to tackle Kiwi Flats is in March. With Mammoth Mountain’s towering elevation (11,053 feet at the summit), abundant snow persists through March 31st. Mid-February is peak season for snowstorms that produce deep powder. The only downside to skiing Mammoth in March is the lift ticket rates, which are highest at the end of the season.
To save money, buy your tickets online, where they’re up to 30 percent cheaper than the window rate. Also, try to avoid Mammoth on Saturdays and holidays. Although accommodations abound at Mammoth Mountain, they book up quickly.
If you’re a frequent skier, consider buying an Ikon Pass. You’ll get lift tickets for 41 global ski destinations, including Mammoth and June Mountain, which is 22.6 miles away.
Preparing to Ace Kiwi Flats
First, watch YouTube videos of expert skiers who’ve mastered Kiwi Flats. You’ll see the craggy ravine in advance and gird yourself mentally for the plunging takeoff. Observe the skiers’ ideal form. Then practice your turns on tamer slopes, especially your jump, parallel, and carving turns. Also, rehearse skidding through turns and controlling your speed with side slipping. Consider working with an advanced ski instructor to refine your technique.
Skiing conditions can change quickly in the High Sierra, especially on double black diamond trails. Be ready for varying surfaces by performing drills on hardpack, powder, and ice. Although Kiwi Flats is a groomed trail, you should explore several off-piste runs, where the snow surfaces differ most.
At the base of Kiwi Flats, you may find moguls, so practice skiing hard, bumpy terrain. Then hone your hockey and wedge stops, ending your run on a safe note. Finally, when you hit the slopes, warm up by skiing the blue and black diamond trails. Now you’ll be in peak condition to conquer Kiwi Flats.
Ski Profiles for Tough Slopes
Since you’re at an advanced level, you need skis designed for difficult terrain. A ski’s mid-curve, or “camber,” affects your ability to handle tough trails. Camber is the upward curve of the ski where your foot rests. The camber’s profile creates an “effective edge,” a point of contact where the ski makes a turn. Meanwhile, a rocker is the upward curve at the end of a ski, either at the tip, tail, or both ends. A rocker profile helps the ski stay afloat on powder.
To navigate double black diamond runs skillfully, your skis should have both camber and rocker profiles. Choose a design with balanced tip and tail rockers. The camber will give you more power for jumps, while the rockers will promote smooth landings.
Ski Shopping Made Easy
After picking the camber and rocker profiles for your skis, consider these factors:
- Flex pattern
- Side cut radius
Whether you need advice on the best runs, last-minute ski repair, or the highest-quality ski rental in Mammoth, you can rely on the friendly folks at ASO Mammoth, your one-stop shop for everything you’ll need to have a great time at Mammoth. Stop by on your way to the mountain or give us a call at 760-965-3444.