Mammoth, Nov. 17-18, 2015

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Mammoth, Nov. 17-18, 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:13 am

Garry's friend Craig has a condo at Mammoth, and I couldn't resist joining them for another two days this week. I looked like it might be a replay of last week with snow Sunday, top closed Monday and my first ski day Tuesday. Unfortunately the mountain was hammered by upslope wind Monday, stripping snow from upper entries and what snow remained was a mix of sastrugi, windpack and crust. Compare top of Climax Nov. 17

to Nov. 12

Tue. Nov. 17
Weather was sunny and warm, but the top remained windy for awhile and did not open until 10:30. So we were content with groomers, which have been widened and smoothed out some since last week, likely with overnight snowmaking in some cases. Stump Alley:

Race course runs, Paranoids in far background:

Ralphie's and Broadway:

When the top opened, we headed for Dave's:

The best skiing was the windbuff in the upper/middle sections. What looks like powder down below was slabby snow and tough skiing.

The face of 5 had been tracked out Monday so we returned to Chair 2 via groomed Solitude.

Next gondola Garry and I tried the backside. The upper bowl had some smooth and supportable snow.

The lower section below Roadrunner that had great powder Nov. 11 was highly wind affected, even in the trees. Again we had to hike out the road from the bottom of 14.

Needless to say we were not repeating the exercise in this week's snow.

So we skied more groomers the rest of the day except I decided to check out Scotty's at 2:30. The traverse entry from last week was now wind waves and gravel, and at that late hour I was still the first person to venture there. I picked my way slowly into Monument which had supportable windbuff but it was not always smooth. I finally hit a traverse track to the lower half of Paranoid 2. View down from there:

After this I was done for the day with 17,000 vertical and a few bits and pieces of difficult powder.

Wed. Nov. 18
Again we most skied groomers, typically laps from the back of 3 down to the base of chair 1 or 2. They did get a groomer up the face of 3 for the first time today.

Snow was somewhat firmer than other groomers

It was clear that ventures into the ungroomed should be looking for skier packed snow. Garry in the lower part of West Bowl:

Garry and I took a run on the now groomed Cornice. View of Cornice deserted later in the day.

Snow was very firm on the upper part, but they succeeded in covering up the rocks that were all over the entry area last week.

I took another run on Dave's. The windbuff was smoother, but I hit a rock at moderate speed, flailed but fortunately held my balance. Pic from below of skiers on Dave's:

As on Tuesday I continued down Solitude. View up there from bottom of Chair 5:

We regrouped and skied ego corduroy on World Cup right after the racers were done with it.

Gravy Chute was one run that was greatly improved from last week.

This was the softer, more forgiving windblown snow that is usually characteristic of the upper mountain steeps.

On Tuesday night they groomed a narrow strip up Scotty's and somehow filled an entry over what was almost bare rock the day before. View down from there:

The wind had blown some loose gravel into the upper part, but the lower 3/4 or so was fairly soft and skied quite well.

My final runs before I hit the road were on Terry's and Christmas Bowl/Coyote. Here's the infamous fumarole fenced off on the latter run.

Both of these runs had soft moguls similar to West Bowl. Total for Wednesday was 20,200 vertical.

As most of you know, I rarely find skiing this early in the season worthwhile. But this has been one of my top 4 early seasons (pre-December) with 4 days, 70,200 vertical and 8K of powder. I will probably not ski the rest of the month, as I will soon join Liz for her final days in NYC.

The others:
1981: 3 days, 55,700 vertical, 17K of powder. There was a huge dump over Thanksgiving at Mammoth. With my current mileage in powder and modern equipment I would do a lot better now than I did then.
2004: 3 days, 76,800 vertical, 6K of powder. This was the year it snowed 82 inches at Mammoth in October. The powder was on Snow Summit's October 30 opening day. Mid-November coverage at Mammoth was like mid-January of an average year. Old skis were not necessary like they were this year.
2011: 8 days, 11,500 vertical, 4K of powder. All of these were backcountry earned turns, one day at Mammoth and the rest on the Antarctic cruise.
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
Posts: 10099
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

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