USC Spring Break–Mammoth Mountain. You ain’t got nothin’ on Cabo

Foreword by Stan Lerner:

 downtownster is for all downtownsters, so it’s with great pleasure that I post this first blog by Mark Italia who is currently a student at USC. His Spring Break reminds me a bit of my own before I got kicked out of school. Welcome aboard my boy!

SPRING BREAK! WHOOO! Where did you go? Cancun? TJ? Cabo? Did you get shot? Maybe you got mugged? How much were plane tickets?…sucks for you. It is ten o’clock in the morning and I’m still recovering from my Spring Break trip to Mammoth Mountain. That’s right, I spent Spring Break on skis. And I bet you I had a better time spending less money than your sorry ass did for going to Mexico and possibly getting raped.


In total, I spent about $400 for the entire six-day trip. This feat is surprising considering $158 of that was spent on lift tickets. For six days, I paid $170 to stay at one of the nicest lodgings in all of Mammoth, Meadow Ridge. Able to accommodate ten, we stuffed 17 frat guys into a four-bedroom palace. This place was complete with granite countertops, fireplace, balcony, ski & snowboard storage, three bathrooms, and quintessential wood paneling.


Though our cabin was decked out by what seemed to be a very nice Jewish family, it took us less than two hours to make it look like our beloved frat house at USC. The Dining room table turned into the Beer Pong throne. We set up a DJ kit and speakers in front of the fireplace and blasted our neighbors until the wee hours of the morning. We set up stacks upon stacks upon stacks of empty Natty Light cans onto the gorgeous granite countertops, which was thankfully large enough to display our beer count. And we hadn’t even gotten to the slopes yet…


Unfortunately, there is one major expense to Spring Break in the snow – lift tickets. Someone please explain to me why skiing on a mountain should cost $83. Where are the expenses? Property taxes? Despite this ridiculous number, we did get 7% back for buying a 2-day pass. Woopdie-f*ck*n-doo. However, Mammoth does a great job of making you feel like you get what you pay for.


Every run is well groomed, has a distinct personality, and is sprinkled with the proper amount of medics and guides to make sure you don’t get lost or killed. The lifts are top of the line and the gondola is one of the smoothest I’ve ever ridden – I would know. Props to claustrophobia.

Skiing Mammoth during Spring Break has its advantages besides those that are already included. The most noticeable is the lack of crowds. I cannot remember the last time I went skiing and hadn’t come back complaining of being crashed into by a novice snowboarder or waiting in Disneyland lines at the big ski lifts. Maybe this was just a fluke, but whether it was or not, it seemed much less crowded than what I would imagine anything being in Mexico. Poor souls.


 The weather was a bit warm and the afternoons came accompanied by 60mph winds at the summit, but when you’re coming off of two hours of sleep and constant drunkenness, weather is the least of your concerns. Making sure the trendy Asian wearing the dreadlocks cap in your group doesn’t get lost is slightly higher on the concern ladder. Quick side note – he got lost.


So there we were, 17 of the scrappiest bunch of fraternity brothers you have ever seen coming home from a gorgeous day of skiing after a night of slurred words and debauchery, to watch our beloved USC Trojans playing a**holes Arizona State in the NCAA Pac-10 Championship basketball game. Many of our fellow Trojans were at the game, but from where we were sitting on a lush couch in a warm log cabin surrounded by sixteen of our closest friends, there couldn’t have been a better seat in all of Staples Center. Cheering at the improbable comeback and not quite wanting to nurse any oncoming hangovers, we made it a point to try out Roberto’s Mexican Grill on Old Mammoth Road.


Why USC, let alone downtown L.A., doesn’t have more places like Roberto’s to cater to drunken students and wacky 20-somethings is utterly perplexing. I had one of the best Carne Asada burritos of my life and split three pitchers of strong (and may I say very tasty) margaritas for a grand total of $24. We were loud, obnoxious, and borderline destructive, yet welcomed with opened arms by flirty waitresses and witty bus boys.


At this point, how could I possibly top this amazing first full day of Spring Break? Bars! Bars in Mammoth are nice, but you have to take them for what they are. They will never compare to anything back home, but at the same time, you don’t really want them to. Their cozier, more casual atmosphere is slightly more pleasant than the narcissistic bar scene that can show its face in L.A.


Grumpy’s, located adjacent to Roberto’s was one hell of a good time. However, we were already plastered and didn’t need to be in just any old mountain bar. Laki Luna was more our thing. Cost of my Jack&Coke: $4.50! The people were amazing too. Two gay men and a 43-year old woman grabbed my buddy’s ass and bought us a round of drinks. Eventually we were kicked out and proceeded to walk the two miles back to the cabin. May I say, I can’t remember the last time I walked two miles in L.A. or in Mexico feeling as safe as I did that night.


The evening ended perfectly, as we all huddled around the television set and laughed high out of our minds to the hilarious adventures of Larry David (props to my boy Jeremy for bringing seasons 1-6 of Curb Your Enthusiasm). Thus ended our first full day of Spring Break.


The second full day was much like the first, so I’ll skip it and cut to the chase. Cutting down on expenses, most of us forfeit a third day of skiing for 21 straight rounds of beer pong starting promptly at 9am. Cost of 30-pack Natty Light at Mammoth Vons: $14. Cost of ingredients for brownies: negligible. Debauchery ensued as the days wore on and the skiing was replaced for heavier drinking and more Larry David. Though some of us drank more than others, and some of us had beds and others didn’t, and though some of us hardly made it out to the slopes at all, all of us had the time of our lives and hadn’t splurged the last of our college loans doing it.


IN TOTAL: Six days, $400. But what had I really paid for? The greatest imaginable time I could’ve spent with sixteen of my closest friends from USC? Spring Break memories to last me a lifetime? Maybe it was just the entry we wrote into the guest book laying on the beer-stained granite countertop…


“Had a great time during our Spring Break. The amenities were nice, the surrounding businesses were cheap, and the slopes were magnificent….p.s. we hired a hooker. She took turns with us on each and every bed. We will tell our friends of this fine establishment. Thanks for the memories!”


And for my bros who came with and want to relive a piece of our trip…This is Italiadactle, signing off.



3 thoughts on “USC Spring Break–Mammoth Mountain. You ain’t got nothin’ on Cabo”

  1. I think it’s unheard of to stretch $400 to survive for 6 days on vacation!
    Mammoth sounds like it is the ideal Spring Break—all that’s really missing is the ability to tan.
    But we all know that L.A. has it’s fare share of fake-bakes.

    I can’t wait to try Roberto’s!!!

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