Pro skier Chris Benchetler can live anywhere he wants to. He chose Mammoth as much for its skiing options as its town and off-season amenities. A fixture with such film companies as Nimbus Independent, Teton Gravity Research, and One Percent Coalition, he serves as an ambassador for the town and its junior teams, owns the local Mimi’s Cookie Bar with his wife and pro snowboarder, Kimmy Fasani, and focuses on staying fit, be it through pedaling, paddling, or cross-training. “I cross train regularly through rock climbing, surfing, road cycling, mountain biking, and more,” he says. “I plan on continuing down this path and want to keep pushing my limits as well as the limits of back country skiing for many years to come.”
Here are a few of his favorite things about Mammoth:
Aspect of the region in the off-season: What isn’t there to like at Mammoth? We have incredible mountains and granite peaks, along with relatively consistent weather, world-class rock climbing, mountain biking, road biking, and more. Not to mention the stunning hikes and lakes there are to swim in and fish.
Place to mountain bike ride: Mammoth Mountain Bike Park. They’ve devoted a lot of time to trail maintenance and have trails for every ability. My favorite trail is Pipeline.
Place to road ride: Everywhere. We’re very fortunate that there is limited vehicle traffic in the area and well-paved roads. You can do anywhere from 20 to 100 miles right out of your front door, with no stop signs or traffic lights.
Place to ride with the family: Uptown and downtown on the Bike Park are great for families. Also, it’s really fun to make the trip south 20 minutes to Lower Rock Creek–a public trail that is a must.
Place to paddle (flatwater): I think the easiest, with continued breathtaking views, is the June Lake area. You can drive right to the water and have four big beautiful lakes to choose from.
Place to paddle (whitewater): I can’t say I really know of one, but the Kern River isn’t too far away. Your best bet is to ditch the kayak and go rock climbing for the day.
Place to paddle with the family: June Lake. There’s a beautiful white sand beach you can post up at and enjoy some quality family time.
Place to refuel: The best place to refuel before your adventure is Stellar Brew. They have a wide range of super healthy breakfast, lunch, and snack items and they emphasize local produce and organic ingredients. One of the best places to refuel afterwards, I’d have to say, is our own place, Mimi’s Cookie Bar. She does all organic baked goods, including vegan and gluten-free, as well as makes her own organic frozen yogurt. It’s amazing.
Place for a beer afterwards: The best place for a beer and dinner is Toomey’s restaurant in the Village. He does some amazing combos that have become world famous, and also carries a lot of the local breweries’ beers, including the Mammoth Brewing Co.
Photo courtesy Peter Morning/MMSA