The Mammoth Method

How Bernie Rosow deconstructed the giant resort, one video at a time

The Mammoth Method

How Bernie Rosow deconstructed the giant resort, one video at a time

Mammoth by the numbers

Snowfall: 400 inches
Acreage: 3,500
Vert: 3,100 feet
Trails: 156
Lifts: 28
BC Gates: 0
Parks: 13

Trail Breakdown

Beginner: 25%
Intermediate: 40%
Advanced: 35%

Last winter, 35-year-old skier and snowcat driver Bernie Rosow hit everything at Mammoth Mountain—literally, everything. At a resort with 3,500 skiable acres and a whopping 13 terrain parks, that’s saying a lot.

Deciding he wanted to put out video content consistently throughout the season, but tired of the lengthy process that came with producing full-length edits, Rosow relied on a GoPro for ease of use.

“The videographer process kills me,” says Rosow. “You end up sitting around on a great powder day.”

With an average annual snowfall of 400 inches at Mammoth, that equals a lot of frustrating days. Rosow’s GoPro provided an unobtrusive and easy means of shooting footage while focusing on the skiing.

He developed a daily routine that entailed a slow run first-thing in the morning to piece-together a line and then continuing to ski that route all day, going a bit harder and faster with each lap. What happened next surprised him.

“Mammoth had a ton of snow [last season] and I could step-out takeoffs for jumps and connect the line into one run without ever shoveling anything,” he says.

Each day, after skiing and filming a new continuous run that met his standards of radness, Rosow would go home to eat lunch and put the day’s video clip together, uploading it on the way to his job as swing shift supervisor for Mammoth’s Cat Crew. He would work from about 4 p.m. until midnight, only to get up the next day to do it all over again. The ultimate preacher of “ski, eat, work, repeat,” Rosow was originally just looking to have fun with the camera. But, his videos offered something special and the social media world took notice; a few of his edits racked up views in the 10-18,000 range, with one garnering a high of 85,000.

The attention inspired Rosow to strive for more epic footage, resulting in the addition of extra spice to his skiing—an unexpected outcome that gave the 15-year Mammoth veteran a whole new perspective on the resort he thought he already knew like the back of his hand. After all, you become familiar with just about every nook and cranny of a ski hill when your nights are spent grooming its slopes.

“I looked at the mountain in a new way,” explains Rosow. “At the end of every day I’d think, ‘What will I do tomorrow?’” It was as if he’d rediscovered the place.

Originally from Williamsville, Vermont, Rosow moved to Mammoth in 2001-02, sight unseen, to pursue the ski bum life.

He chose Mammoth because of the happening scene and the continued rise of its terrain parks; it was a time when skiers like Tanner Hall, Pep Fujas and many others were cutting their teeth at the resort.

What he found was the perfect blend of skiing opportunities—from big-mountain to park to backcountry—and a job that kept him engaged and provided the right hours: Cat Crew. Working at night left his days open for skiing. He finally had the formula right. The job and the resort stuck.

“I’ve stayed in Mammoth for the skiing,” Rosow says. “The Sierra Nevada is the best, with resorts [built at high elevation.] Mammoth has long seasons and tons of great quality snow.”

On powder days you’ll most likely find him riding the legendary Chair 22 until it’s tracked out and then hopping on his snowmobile to go into the backcountry, which is easily accessible from the ski area’s parking lot. Still, this every man’s skier will take Mammoth’s inbounds offerings any day of the week.

“On wind buff days I can go 100 miles per hour everywhere,” Rosow explains. “Landings are so smooth and you can jump off of everything. Jumping is definitely my favorite thing to do. Skiing for me is just making turns to get to the jumps.”

His curious spirit has played a big role in the success of his web edits. While Mammoth is world renowned for its immaculately sculpted terrain parks, Rosow has carved out new lines, jumps and jibs in places where local skiers never thought to look before. Single-handedly, he’s inspired droves of skiers to start attacking the mountain in new ways. For a man who spends his nights at the helm of a cat, maintaining firm, seamless snow for the enjoyment of locals and visitors alike, you might say his edits are just another means of serving the masses.

Yet, for Rosow, buzzing around the hill provides a much-needed change of pace from when he’s grooming. Going through the process of preparing an enormous ski area for public consumption—especially after a huge storm—is a tedious task; while he can really feel the magnitude of those 3,500 acres from inside the cat, during the day, things seem a bit more intimate.

“Mammoth is big,” says Rosow, “but it’s set up really well, with multiple base areas [Main Lodge, Canyon Lodge/The Village, and Eagle Lodge] that are spread out so you have easy access to the entire mountain.”

The resort’s layout—with a refined lift structure, made up of 28 lifts including nine high speed quads, two high speed six-packs and three high speed gondolas all providing an uphill capacity of 59,000 riders per hour—also means minimal crowds. In turn, more skiing for Rosow… more skiing for everyone.

Since Rosow plans to film even more this coming ski season, you may just see him out there reinventing the wheel once again. He’ll be skiing routes like the unofficial “grand tour.” The directions are simple, according to him: “Start at Eagle and ski all the way over to 14 and then work your way back.” The “grand” is a line he’s more than familiar with and there’s no doubt he’ll manage to ski it in a new, unique way. At a behemoth resort like Mammoth, you can’t help but ski and even think bigger.

Get your jib on:

This season, Mammoth’s Unbound Terrain Parks celebrate 20 years of leading the industry in innovation, quality and design. Celebrate the history of Unbound with events, parties and more in 2016-17. #20yearsofUnbound

13 unique parks; four halfpipes; 100-plus jibs; more than 50 jumps on any given day.

New this year, the Unbound crew plans to enhance the natural features of the iconic Hemlocks Ridge by building jumps and platforms throughout the bowl. This will allow skiers to pick a line with more flow and airtime, making for a fun(ner) and creative sidecountry experience.

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