We started Ridge Merino in a garage in Hermosa Beach, Calif. in 2014 with the goal of developing outstanding Merino wool apparel that performs as well in daily life as it does in the wildest outdoor conditions.
The desire to develop natural, high-performance clothing was inspired by our passion for the outdoors. Before moving to the mountains full-time, many of our adventures took place in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., a town nestled in California’s Eastern Sierra Nevada at 8,000 feet where the high desert meets deep snow and 14,000 foot peaks.
Photo: Minaret Photography
The local ski resort, Mammoth Mountain has one the longest ski seasons anywhere and averages 400 inches of snow annually. It also boasts 300 or so days of sunshine a year. Undoubtedly the biggest summer draw in the area is Yosemite National Park -- the East entrance is just 45 minutes north of Mammoth Lakes.
It was a place we’d visit on weekends or, if we were lucky, a little bit longer. We’d get in as much hiking, camping, skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking as we could before driving the five hours home to Los Angeles.
It started to get harder and harder to leave Mammoth, until one day we thought: “Why don’t we just move?” To truly incorporate the wildest -- and most beautiful -- outdoor conditions into our daily lives, we needed to do more than visit. We needed to live the lifestyle. So in 2016, we moved to the mountains.
We knew that in Mammoth we could put our gear through the paces in challenging outdoor conditions. In one day in the Eastern Sierra, you can layer up and ski world class mountain terrain, then head 45 minutes south for a temperate afternoon bouldering session in a t-shirt.
Photo: Josh Bishop
“Surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the west, folks in this laid-back mountain town know they’ve got a good thing going.” - Visit California
We used to test our gear on a weekend backpacking or ski trip, but we often had to wait weeks to do it. Now it’s easy. Any day in the winter, we can test our gear in truly variable conditions… from warm sunshine one day to a full-on blizzard the next.
We couldn’t imagine a better place to design and test Ridge gear or a better place to call our home. But it’s not just the mountains that are inspiring.
Photo: Josh Bishop
The breathtaking natural landscape and endless recreation attracts some of the world’s most interesting people. The U.S. Winter Olympic Ski and Snowboard teams practice here. Professional photographers, NASA scientists, world-record holders, incredible outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen, and authors all call Mammoth home. And for those of us working “normal jobs,” Mammoth is a place where meetings take place on hiking trails and chairlifts.
Moving to Mammoth Lakes was the best decision we ever made. Both the company and our family have found incredible opportunities, friendships and community support -- all the things that contribute to a wonderful work-life balance and a great quality of life.
Want to know more about the wild and beautiful town we call home? As the LA Times describes it, “In Mammoth, the snow is so deep residents must tunnel out. There’s a history to that.”
Main photo: Minaret Photography