#SkiLocal - Mokelumne Wilderness

Hi! Molly Armanino here. I'm an Elan Skis athlete and I want to show you my special place for #AlwaysGoodTimes on snow here.

I started skiing at a young age at a small ski resort called Dodge Ridge. As I got older, I started skiing outside the boundaries of the resort and have fallen more and more in love with the mountains every day since. There is always something to learn while skiing, especially in the backcountry, and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue to grow in the mountains where I grew up.

At 27 years old, I have spent many years skiing in the backcountry around my home in South Lake Tahoe, CA. There is one area that will always have my heart, and that is the Mokelumne Wilderness. My first time in this area was when I was 10 years old. My mom had taken me here on my very first backpacking trip. I remember the wildflowers being incredibly impressive and the excitement of camping far from home. I thought to myself: I never want to leave. As I got older, I started skiing in the same area and was always blown away by the beauty of the surrounding stark peaks and magnificent terrain. 

Today I want to show you the place I love the most, known as Roundtop. I asked my friend Trevor if he would like to head out for a hike with me to show off our home area. Growing up skiing together, Trevor is one of my closest ski partners, and I trust his backcountry skills more than anyone else. It was a no-brainer to have him along, and I knew we would have a blast!

Unfortunately, Tahoe had a mostly dry winter and we knew the snow wouldn't be the greatest everywhere. However, there are many different aspects to Roundtop, so I thought we would be able to find some decent snow somewhere. Plus, conditions were very stable at the time and avalanche danger wasn't an issue, which made choosing a ski area a lot easier. When Trevor and I arrived at the base of Roundtop, we decided to head up to the peepers left of Roundtop Peak because we could tell the snow was a bit softer. We were both very pleasantly surprised to find amazing wind buff! With Chossy leading the way, we descended one at a time with "eyes on" and enjoyed every single turn! On the way down, you must ski across a frozen lake known as Winnemucca. I love skating across this lake and looking back at the mountain we skied down! In the summer, this lake unfreezes, and the wildflowers come out all over the mountain face. Watching the seasons change year after year never ceases to amaze me. 

Thank you for joining me on my journey to one of the dearest places in my heart!

Molly Armanino

Molly Armanino is a freeskier living in South Lake Tahoe, California. She grew up ski racing and now competes in the Freeride World Qualifier circuit. In addition to competing, Molly can be found seeking adventure in the backcountry, climbing high peaks in the Sierra, and having fun in the mountains with friends and her dog Choss. Molly also works for an environmental consulting agency whose mission is to improve the environment by developing programs that enhance sustainable and healthy communities. The combination of her passion for skiing and the outdoors is what drives her to explore the mountains, encourage women and young girls to venture onto the slopes, and care about the environment that gives us the opportunity for good times!