“I struggled with the academic side of school, it wasn’t until I picked up a camera or clicked into my skis that I felt like I was on a level playing field.”
When Peter Morning was young, his dad didn’t want him to be the sort of kid who grew up in front of a screen. There wasn’t much chance of that in Mammoth Lakes, but just to make sure he was getting outside young Peter was sent on assignments with his mom, who happened to be the photographer for the local newspaper. It didn’t take him long to learn the skills of his mother’s trade—he had his first picture published at just 11 years old.
But the photography bug didn’t really bite for a few years. Peter found his dyslexia difficult to manage at school, and felt more comfortable on the slopes or increasingly behind a camera. Morning was a keen ski racer and, on a skiing trip with friends to New Zealand with camera in tow, shot nearly 50 rolls of film. It was then that he saw his interests combine, recognizing a natural talent for ski photography.
“I’d be embarrassed looking at those photos now but it was the first time I really fell in love with photography. Before that, everything was just learning skills but in New Zealand, I finally understood what my mom would tell me about telling stories not just shooting photos.” With his new passion motivating him, struggles at school didn’t seem as significant, and he began charting a course for future.
Back in Mammoth, Morning decided to give photography a serious try. He was lucky enough to get a job documenting Mammoth life for the CEO of the company. “I pretty much shot whatever I wanted. I took photos of snow banks and the parties, just so that in 100 years we wouldn’t only have the marketing photos, we would have these snapshots of real life.”
Those snapshots caught a few eyes, and soon Peter was shooting on the mountain where he has been ever since. Thought as a result of knee injuries he wasn’t skiing or as active, and gained a lot of weight. Wanting to make a change and with running off the table with janky knees, he picked up a road bike.
“I was at 280 lbs and set a goal of losing 80 lbs that summer, and did. After that it became my summer activity.” But Morning wasn’t just riding for weight loss. “I ride too hard to talk, but not too hard to think. Sometimes I don’t even know where I’m headed when setting off.” Long road rides quickly became a staple of his summer days. He felt great with extra exercise and the time it gave him to relax and think things over.
He first did the Mammoth Gran Fondo three years ago, but “I rode the first 50 miles pretty strong and then blew up.” In 2018 he had no plans to ride, but his boss offered to register him the day before. “I’d been riding, but not training” he said. Despite a lack of specific preparation he put in a stronger ride than he had three years ago and “I got really motivated by that, I bought a Peloton bike and I’m training four or five days a week this winter, and am really excited to see what I can do next summer.”
Between training, shooting photos and living in one of the most exciting ski towns in the US, Morning has a lot on his mind. He found CBD when dealing with poor sleep. Before using CBD he struggled to get enough and often woke at 3am. “Now if I take a SoftGel before bed I actually get a good night’s sleep and don’t wake up feeling like shit, like if I took Nyquil. It lets me relax.”
He’ll be needing a lot of relaxation and recovery. Not only is he cramming in training sessions every night with a goal of riding around six hours at this summer’s Gran Fondo, he’s also shooting ski and snowboard events like the X Games in one of the snowiest winters Mammoth Mountain has ever seen. Despite the 30+ foot snow drifts and what’s probably a pretty lively après scene, Morning is making sure to relax and recover as he find a love for cycling that matches his love for and success in photography.