Local Ashley Hofman Shares Tips for Enjoying Her Backyard

Oct 20, 2020

Meet Mammoth Lakes local Ashley Hofman, who’s been living the mountain life since 2016. Ashley shares some of her favorite parts about Mammoth Lakes — the big, beautiful backyard she calls home.

How long have you lived in Mammoth Lakes?

Hofman moved to Mammoth Lakes from San Diego in July of 2016 (just in time to catch the big winter of 2016-2017). She and her husband, Jason, have always loved coming to Mammoth Lakes, even before they were locals. They were married at the Twin Lakes Chapel in 2015 and had their reception at Parallax (McCoy station). In true Sierra fashion, “we had a hailstorm on our wedding day” in July, she laughs. “Everyone was wearing short dresses. It made for some great memories.”

What brought you to Mammoth Lakes?

Hofman started snowboarding around 5 years old near her hometown of Nazareth, Pennsylvania (“I was the only one in my family to do it”) and moved west to San Diego after college. Her husband’s sister had a condo in Mammoth Lakes, and they started coming up to ski, climb and backpack. “It was our escape from city life in San Diego.”

What’s your favorite thing about your backyard?

“The diversity of activities. I’m an extreme hiker and backpacker, those are really my favorite activities here… A friend of mine asked me once if I’d done all the hikes. Done all the hikes? How could you in a lifetime?”

When friends or family visit in the winter, what are your must-do activities and places to go?

Ski and snowboard, of course!” says Hofman. “To be honest, our family kind of avoids the winter months here” (Hofman’s dad is a big golfer and loves to visit in the summer.) “One of the coolest things we’ve done is do the cross-country ski into Rock Creek Lodge for dinner.” She and her family also love cross-country skiing in the Lakes Basin with their two-year-old son, River, who is starting to love getting towed in a sled.

What are your favorite runs at Mammoth Mountain and what do you love about them?

Hofman’s favorite places to ride are out of is Canyon Lodge and heading over to the Eagle side. “I love just lapping Chairs 9 and 15.”

What’s your favorite spot for Apres and why?

During her day on the mountain, Hofman loves The Melt House (which was recently given a hip makeover and now sells to-die-for boutique grilled cheese sandwiches). Apres-ski, Hofman loves visiting Campo Mammoth in The Village at Mammoth for the bustling vibe and crafted cocktails.

What’s your favorite post-ski/ride place to grab a bite? Favorite item on the menu?

Hofman swears by locals’ standby Roberto’s Cafe (she gets the chicken fajitas, her husband gets the duck burrito). Another sure bet is the Mammoth Tavern (her husband used to be a salmon fisherman in Alaska, so she always orders the smoked salmon potato skins with tobiko).

What’s your favorite non-ski/ride winter activity?

Sledding and tubing! In the mountains I grew up in, it’s a huge activity for friends and family. It’s great for everyone, kids to adults.”

Any winter events in town that you never miss?

“Well, opening day, for sure,” says Hofman, “and SkiMo is also really fun” (the “Cinco de Skimo” Ski Mountaineering Challenge boasts a massive 5,700 feet of elevation gain and loss over five climbs/descents and is an “uphill fiesta” that highlights spring skiing conditions).

What keeps you around the Eastern Sierra in summer?

Hofman moved to Mammoth Lakes in July, and she and her husband are probably a few of the only folks who already knew the locals’ secret: Come for the winters, stay for the summers. She loves it all—“hiking, backpacking, camping, climbing, biking. There is just such a variety of different things to do and see.”

Can you share your best local secret to enjoying Mammoth Lakes?

“Knowing that there’s always a way to get away from the crowds, which we really enjoy. Whether it’s riding off-highway vehicles, or just choosing less-populated hikes, or knowing the best time of year to go certain places. Those are great insider tips.”

Sarah Rea

Sarah Rea has lived in the Sierra for 20 years (eight in Yosemite and seven so far in Mammoth Lakes), but has been eating cast iron skillet pancakes for most of her life. She learned how to make soap from bacon grease when she was four and has always loved picking wild berries. She thinks…

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