Happy Father's Day

Mammoth Mountain circa 1990's

My father is the reason why I love the outdoors. Since before I was born, my father would take my family camping in the Sierra Nevadas during the Summer. In the Winter, he put me on alpine skis starting at the ripe age of 2. Yes, two years old. Start ‘em young, he said. Skiing has always been something special we have shared while I grew up with frequent trips out of southern California to Mammoth Mountain in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. I grew up learning from Olympians and the owners of Mammoth Mountain without knowing what the gravity of that was because for my father and them, it was just all fun.

During my first year of college, I lost my spark for the outdoors with distractions by my social life and academics. My father had climbed Mt Whitney with a friend during that year and later invited me to do it with him. I thought why not and decided to join. It was then that I was reintroduced to Summer in the Sierras and a passion grew back again and it hasn’t left since. My father is the reason why I’m still obsessed with the outdoors today.

Summit of Mt. Whitney with my dad

Last year for my father’s 70th birthday I decided I had the best gift idea – I treated him to a ski trip. On that trip up to Mammoth, we stopped in Death Valley National Park because I decided that I had been to the highest point in the continental US with him on Mt Whitney and I had to share the lower point in the continental US with him at Badwater Basin. It’s something that he is still proud to share with his buddies that he has been to the lowest and the highest point with his daughter. As for the ski trip, it was all in fun again and he said he felt like a kid on a pair of K2s again. Just livin’ the dream.

Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park - March 2016

Lexie Gritlefeld