Celebrating one of Mammoth’s more free-spirited monuments
By Austin Staunch
Having moved away from Mammoth a few years ago, I am pleased to discover the perseverance of one of Mammoth Mountain’s local monuments. The Panty Tree remains in the Chair 5 area in all of her colorful, lacy glory.
She is a tawdry old girl, her limbs outstretched and many brassieres shamelessly exposed, as if she is flashing for the beads that skiers and boarders toss her way. In past years, her liberal ways have put her at odds with more conservative guests, causing Human Resources to conduct panty raids.
To remove the variously sized and styled undergarments, the chair was stopped as an employee poked around with a long pole, or the “panty probe.”
I can assure you the sight was without dignity. Had I been the employee assigned such a task, I would have sued the mountain for defamation of character. While staging this shameless raid was embarrassing, it was also dangerous to our lovely tree and resulted in the tragic loss of a limb.
Why should one get their panties in a twist over her presence? She is harmless, and she is popular. When stripped of her glory she defiantly comes back even more motley than before. Therefore, if she is not to be stifled, then let’s establish some ground rules:
Know the location of the Panty Tree. There are always a few sparsely covered trees before the real deal. As we do not need a veritable unenchanted forest of wispy panties, ride the line first. As with performing any kind of stunt in the ski area, survey the scene first and inspect the landing.
Bring your A-game panties, not your B-game. As difficult as it is to part with a good piece of lingerie, there is a reason you don’t wear your B panties when someone may see them. They are unflattering. Don’t make our girl look bad in your old, stretched and torn britches.
If your panties miss the target, ski the chair line and reclaim them. She does not need a tree skirt of frozen G-strings around her base. Failing to try again would be a panty waste.
It is perfectly acceptable for your panties to have a history, a story if you will, but it need not be scrawled in Sharpie a la “Billy was here”. The Panty Tree does not kiss and tell.
After conducting my own research, the consensus is that the Panty Tree is not for men’s underwear (unless you are a man who likes to wear women’s panties — no judgment here). While Mammoth Mountain Ski Area does not discriminate based on gender, the Panty Tree does.
Most important, only clean panties please! If the potential handling of your panties were to require proper BSI (body substance isolation) then toss your panties in the wash, not off the chair. Have some decency!
Here’s to you, Panty Tree, and all those who adorn you.
May your ruffled, satiny hotness continue to wave at us in the wind. May you survive the impending replacement of Chair 5 and be a risqué reminder of her fixed grip days. May you never suffer the panty probe again. May you firmly wedge yourself into the cracks of our consciousness and be a champion of tolerance and humor.
Austin Staunch now lives in San Francisco. She is a former MMSA ski patroller.