Public Relations and Social Media Manager, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area
Lauren Burke has been a staple in the Mammoth Mountain community over half a decade and her abilities, insight, and poise, both professionally and personally, have already made her an indispensable individual, not only at Mammoth and in the California resort world in general, but within the greater snowboarding industry. Years ago, in order to placate her lifelong obsession with the mountains, Lauren packed up her Southern California-based bags and sent it up the 395 to the Eastern Sierra, where she proved her mettle working with the purveyors of Main Park's infamous metal, the Unbound Crew. Her passion for standing sideways and her relentless work ethic quickly earned her the prestigious position managing the public relations and social media of one of snowboarding's most influential resorts. Since she began, in the height of rapid change in both traditional media and social, she has helped to guide Mammoth's presence in snowboarding and beyond, balancing a keen knowledge of both mainstream media and endemic culture and walking the line between both effortlessly. I have been lucky enough to collaborate with Lauren many times during her tenure at Mammoth and while we have (so far) always been too exhausted post-work to meet up for celebratory wine like we plan to, there are few individuals that I look forward to working with more—Lauren's tenacity, drive, and talent are readily apparent even though she's naturally humble about her accomplishments. Case in point, nowhere in the below 30 Under 30 questions does she highlight her own efficiency to make things happen, but she took no more than 24-hours to send back her responses—a testament to her ability to tackle anything thrown at her, anytime—even during the tail end of Mammoth's second longest season. In an industry that has far too few ladies occupying influential roles, Lauren Burke is a testament to the integrity and amplitude that one woman can bring to the snowboarding world.
– Mary Walsh
Warm and ready to handle it!
What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.
I currently oversee all public relations for Mammoth as well as our social media channels and snow reporting. Every day is an adventure in resort PR. It's all about telling stories that tap into people's desire pack their bags and get to the mountain. Whether it is hyping up a massive storm on a live TV broadcast, managing a nude shoot at sunset in Main Park for ESPN, or fielding never-ending phone calls, office visitors [Hi Mary – you need a lift ticket?], interview requests and emails—this job always keeps me on my toes.
Where are you from and where do you currently call home?
Originally from Del Mar, CA, home has been Mammoth Lakes, CA for almost six years.
How did you start snowboarding?
Southern California boardsport culture has always been a huge part of my life. I was lucky enough to have parents who made the seven-hour drive from San Diego to Mammoth as much as possible. My dad finally relented to my endless begging to get on a snowboard when I was about twelve.
At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?
I moved to Boulder, Colorado for college and spent all my free time in the mountains riding Keystone and Breck, and really exploring the mountains on my own. Not exactly following my heart, I moved to LA after graduating and proceeded to spend the next two years desperately missing the mountains.
She couldn’t ignore her love for the mountains.
And how did you make that happen?
Mammoth has always felt like home to me and I was an avid consumer of every piece of social media and marketing they put out. I was glued to the webcams, constantly checked the weather, and was obsessed with planning my next weekend warrior trip for even just a day of riding. While sitting at my LA desk job, I saw a tweet from Mammoth looking for an Office Manager for the Unbound Terrain Parks – I applied and 30 minutes later, Michael Gregory, Terrain Park Director at the time, called me. Michael put me through the ringer with a three-month long interview process. He ultimately offered me the position and asked me to move to Mammoth in five days. I quit my job the next day, packed up my car with the help of my little sister and headed north. I worked for Unbound for about two-and-a-half years before transitioning into the world of PR.
Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration?
There are so many badass women in this industry including my own boss, Joani Lynch, who truly embodies a passionate PR person and total mountain woman—she's a VP of this company and manages to work harder than most while still raising two amazing girls and spending as much time as possible outdoors. Being able to work alongside female riders and businesswomen like Kelly Clark and Kimmy Fasani has taught me to see the big picture of this industry and to always lead with kindness and authenticity.
Not a bad place to call home. PHOTO: Peter Morning
What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?
Ultimately, snowboarding is all about having fun and I feel like what we've done at Mammoth is open the doors for more people to get up here and have more fun, whether that's in the parks or taking your first run on the bunny slope.
What do you want to accomplish that you haven't yet?
Snowboarding and the mountains saved me and I can only hope to have some part in bringing more people into the sport in the future.
Anyone you'd like to thank?
Shout out to Michael Gregory for giving me a chance and continuing to support me throughout my career. Mark Brownlie for always having my back and teaching me more than he will ever know about putting in work. My family for their endless love. My boyfriend Cheyne for being my right-hand man. And of course, my Rottweiler, Buddy for being the cutest ever.