Mammoth, Dec. 9, 2015

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Mammoth, Dec. 9, 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:47 am

I decided to get one more day in before leaving for NY. I knew I was gambling on the weather as high winds were predicted to precede Thursday's storm. What was more surprising is how warm it was this week, over 50F in town at Mammoth Monday-Wednesday. Thus some lower terrain melt/froze, very rare in December. Adam was at Mammoth over the weekend before this happened.

I got to chair 2 parking by 8:25 as morning rated to be less windy than afternoon. The first run on Stump Alley was quite firm,
so I moved to Broadway for the second. I arrived at chair 1 8:45 and it was being closed for wind. The wind was not steady, but erratic and gusty and also crosswise to many of the lifts. So I had to ride chair 6 to get away from Main Lodge.
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I then rode 2 and then headed up top. The gondola never opened but chair 23 was running as its upper half was sheltered from the wind. It took quite a while to get past the upper rocks into Drop Out 1 but once there it was decent windbuff. Riding 23 I could see some snow blowing in.
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From Cornice I could traverse into the area below Drop Out 3.
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This had a fair amount of blown-in snow and was the best skiing today. Adam said there was more on Climax and particularly Dave's Run, but unfortunately those were not accessible with the gondola closed.

View up to the Drop Out side of chair 23.
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I noticed chair 3 had also closed, and it's hard to recall if I have ever seen 23 open with both 1 and 3 closed. I could have mixed in an easier run, but I figured 23 might not last much longer. After a run on Cornice the top liftie informed me that my 4th run up there would be the last before it closed. So I did an encore of the traverse to Drop Out 3, this time continuing down St. Anton to Main Lodge.

I skied across the bottom of Broadway to chair 6 at 10:15 and was shocked to find the gusty winds had closed it too. So I was fortunate to have the early start and get 8,200 vertical and 4 runs up top before the widespread lift shutdown. The only way out of Main Lodge now was the shuttle bus, so I took that to chair 2. From the top of 2 I took a couple of pictures of the top.
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The second pic has a lot of blowing snow in Saddle Bowl. Otherwise it's not obvious there's a weather issue. Usually the days with wind strong enough to close mid level and Main Lodge lifts are whiteout days when you wouldn't want to be up high anyway.

In this case the good snow was up there and I was relegated to 2 lower mountain lifts for the rest of the day with a modest selection of groomers similar to what admin has been skiing in Utah. I skied to Gold Rush and then Chair 4. The latter was in fairly rough shape at 11AM, mostly hardpack and not as intensely groomed as the Main Lodge area due to thinner snowpack. The runs back toward Gold Rush, Solitude, Wall Street and Lost in the Woods were better. I alternated these lifts as chair 2 also closed by 11:30. Fortunately temps were still in the 40's and the chair 4 runs loosened up and skied better by noon.

From Gold Rush here's the view of chair 5 (Climax in far center background), which may have run for a short time, but I didn't notice as I was on the other side of the hill.
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Zoomed view of snow blowing into Dave's.
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After about 3 circuits through Gold Rush and chair 4 I called it a day at 1:30 with a total of 21,800 vertical.

Canyon Lodge will open this Saturday, which will help the weekends a lot. The new snow from the next 2 storms Thursday and this weekend will help even more.

Sunset in Mojave on the way home.
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Tony Crocker
 
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