Gettin’ It Done Rain or Shine: Mammoth’s Crew Does it Again

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Despite warm weather, rain, and general gloominess, the Mammoth Mountain snowmaking and park crews made sure everyone could smile this opening weekend.

Below is an excerpt of our Q&A with Mammoth Unbound manager TJ Dawoud*.  We caught up with him to learn more about what it takes to build one of the world’s best terrain parks every year.

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The park looked great on opening day and was even sweeter by Sunday. For anyone who missed it, what did you guys have set up? Anything new coming this weekend?

Yeah! I have to give a lot of credit to our snowmaking team for this one. They are a huge part of making all of this possible. After the storm system that came through beginning of November, the company really capitalized on conditions, allocated resources and made it happen.  They gave us what we needed to shape a cool setup not just in the park but for the everyday groomer skiers, the race team, everyone. Made the full experience as good as humanly possible.

In the years I’ve been here I’ve learned the most important part of this job comes with building relationships with every member of the Mammoth community: every department head, cat crew member, day crew member, ski patroller, to the snowmakers, to the riders and guests that come out each weekend. It’s a big family that works together to accomplish one goal — making Mammoth as fun and exciting as possible for the public.

This past weekend we were able to set up 10 jibs and a 10-foot jump in Main Park as our initial product. One I particularly liked was a brand new street-style feature in lower Main. Highly visual, realistic set up, that keeps us competitive and in front of the trends. So much more hand work that goes into this one but that’s where the park is going — a bigger day crew (more hands on attention) all working around the clock to keep Unbound clean, safe, and constantly evolving.

What’s the most rewarding part of being in charge of a world-class terrain setup?

The excitement level is just non-stop. It’s cliche and people say it all the time but it’s a fucking dream job. Pardon my French but this is my dream job. When I was younger, when I was 20 years old my brothers and I were so passionate about riding and building jumps, it was our life, it was what we did.  Being a part of the effort that takes place at Mammoth, a place we were in awe of as kids, is surreal.  There’s a huge heritage and culture around riding here and I get seriously excited just watching small kids get pumped in the parks for the first time, then going and watching local rippers tear main park apart on a daily basis, learning new tricks that are absolutely insane.

What is it like working alongside some of the world’s best skiers/riders to collaborate on the park setup?

It’s absolutely incredible and critical to our progression as a venue.  Riders push builders and builders push riders.  Because of this dynamic, the progression in freestyle sports over the last 10 years has been insane.  Features are getting bigger and simultaneously safer which is a winning combination.

We have evolved with the industry as a whole and at the hands of the people who ride, train, and compete here. There are very few places in the US where you can even find an 80 foot jump open to the public — but at Mammoth, you build that and it’ll get hit everyday and we love that and we do that.  Without our amazing athletes, it’s safe to say the park would not be at the level it is today. Rider feedback is huge.

*Check out the our full post on the Inertia Mountain page.

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