Wednesday, January 2

The science of Mammoth

Just a few days after last season's memorable February Mammoth trip, Adrian and trixy were already saying they couldn't wait to go back the following Season. I believed them! They caught the bug ya know? That's pretty typical of newbies. Mammoth overwhelms them with anticipation. And a few of months later (in May?) that anticipation had evolved into what seemed like a promising return to Mammoth Mountain with a Big party. Apparently a good number of friends and co-workers expressed their interest in the big trip with zeal. "It's May..." i said, glumly.

There isn't really an exact science to these seemingly impossible to arrange Mammoth Trips. Though it is fairly easy to predict someone's level of interest basing on their responses upon invitation. Well, i have my own science which have worked for me over many years. The purpose of this science is not only to determine the level of interest but to protect me (the setup guy) from a costly mistake. Just like most travel destinations, Mammoth Mountain falls victim of the ever increasing rental rates annually. Yup, thats inflation for ya! You have to protect yourself from possible cancellations. And believe me there are always cancellations... So what is this science exactly? Well as a rule of thumb i always did two things; one is to collect deposits from everyone and the other was to stay away from couples as much as possible (Except my core guys. I don't collect their deposits). Why is that you might ask? Well for one thing they are very needy. They demand a room and sometimes their own bathroom. Who needs that? Moreover, i learned over the years that the people who seem the most interested and overzealous are the one's that are most likely to cancel. It's interesting, but what you want are guys who show a good level of interest without overstating it. That plus a good core of guys who are still down to go with or without the co-workers and friends who Swore by God they were going for sure!

By early November we (We meaning Adrian, Trixy, and I) had decided on the dates for the new Season's trip. It was going to be a four day- three night stay in early January. That would mean two days dedicated for travel and grocery shopping and more importantly two full days of snowboarding (possibly two and a half). At that time the head count was nearly ten people. And that's not counting my party. Being the wily Mammoth veteran that i am, i gave their party a very high 70% chance of cancellation. Thus, i anticipated a very late booking of the cabin. But even then it should be okay because it would be around seven to eight people (including my small core of guys). Apparently i underestimated my own science because every single one of them canceled, except Adrian and Trixy. Amazing huh?

Do you remember what your response was when i said it is too early to tell, Trixy? You said "No, they really can't wait to go". Hahaha! I don't want to say "I told you so" but i told you so! And oh i have to commend Adrian for trying to salvage the trip, although all he actually did was almost turn it into a tragedy. Without consulting with me first he apparently invited four newbie couples and promised them the Moon and the Stars... All of a sudden i found myself scrambling to accommodate these people whom Adrian claimed were "not the kind of people who canceled". Ya right! Unfortunately i let my guard down and allowed myself to believe it. I know now it was a foolish thing to do because soon after I booked a cabin Big and Expensive enough to accommodate all of us and some kids, one of the couples canceled and the rest suddenly were not returning calls (It's really too bad...). Perhaps i was wishful thinking.

We learned a hard lesson with these travesty of events (especially for Adrian and Trixy). But you know what? Forget it. Were going...


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