Mammoth, Apr.11-13, 2016

Resort and backcountry skiing and snowboarding in the western US and Canada, including our famous reader-submitted No-Bull Snow Reports.

Mammoth, Apr.11-13, 2016

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:29 am

Mammoth during first half of April is often winter conditions on the upper half of the mountain, but this trip’s conditions were more like early May than mid-April. The prior week was extremely warm, and the storm over the weekend was mostly rain on the lower mountain and maybe 6 inches of cement up top. Since the top opened Sunday, conditions up there were quite challenging. It was the opposite of usual new snow days. The new snow skied best where it had been packed by skier traffic. Midweek it was quiet with low skier density. While that was not so good for the top, it was great for preserving smooth corn snow on many of the groomers.

We also had some challenging spring weather, but each day there was a sector of the mountain with pleasant snow surfaces. Fortunately it was not that difficult to figure out the right places and concentrate one’s skiing there.

Monday 4/11
was overcast all day so we took our time getting on the hill about 9:45. Surprisingly for a cloudy day there was zero wind until about 2PM and even then the breeze was light. We discovered there had been no overnight freeze, so our first runs on Stump Alley and then on Haven’t the Foggiest and Gold Hill were OK but not as smooth as when they set up overnight. A test run out Ricochet found irregular snow. Crossing from 9 to the face of 3 showed that the best snow was on north facing mid-elevations that had been well skied over the weekend. I had to test the new snow by taking 23 over to Paranoid 2.
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The snow was indeed winter vs. spring there, but so chunky that it was exhausting.

Meanwhile Liz had connected with Rainbow Jenny at Main Lodge and I joined them at 3. We skied past the infamous fumarole, where 3 Mammoth patrollers suffocated 10 years ago last week.
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We continued down Coyote to chair 5 and took 4 runs there: Sliver, Face of 5, Triangle and Sanctuary, all in good spring snow. The bumps had probably been deep last week, but the new snow filled them in some for smoother skiing. We had lunch at the Mill and skied Terry’s to the gondola for another shot at the top. Climax was not quite as chunky as Paranoid, but enough that no one wanted to ski it again on this trip. Lower down we got a nice steep shot through Waterfall in skier packed spring snow.
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We cruised around the race course side again for another bottom-to-top gondola. This time we skied groomed Cornice to 23. Wipe Out was the most pleasing top run of the day, some chunks but good if you stayed in a skier packed path. The apron below the chair 23 rocks had been smoothed out more than the upper steeps, the opposite of what’s usual up there after new snow.
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Back at Main I took a run on Baby Gravy, then rejoined Liz and Jenny, went up 1 and 3 to Dry Creek, which was excellent.
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Then Jenny headed for her lodging at Juniper Springs, Liz quit and went into the Mill while I took 4 more runs on 3 and 5 to finish the day with 30,300 vertical. With the overcast weather the snow on 3 and 5 stayed consistent to closing bell even though the base areas got sloppy late in the day.

Tuesday 4/12 was the only day with typical Sierra spring weather and conditions. It was mostly sunny all day and there was a steady breeze which tends to prolong the window of corn between the hard snow and slushy phases. We were on the mountain by 9AM this time and the warmup run on Stump was still firm at the top from the overnight freeze. So it was not hard to figure out that the south and east facing groomers on 25 and 9 would be in corn mode. These runs tend to be underutilized even on weekends, so with the weather and low midweek density the snow was smooth corn perfection all morning. We met Jenny again, this time with Chemist, who had rented the Juniper Springs condo for the winter and would be leaving later this week. We skied 7 runs over there, alternating among Haven’t the Foggiest / Back for More on 25 (top of pic below) and Quicksilver / Gold Hill (lower left) on 9.
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Even past 11AM the corn groomers were better than anytime on Monday. We then gave Ricochet another try and it had improved enough to be worth a rerun. We skied to lunch at McCoy Station about 12:15 and I had already skied over 17K.

Chemist has a race background and planned to shoot video of Jenny after lunch. They needed a quiet groomer and headed for Mambo which I suspected correctly would be in the sticky stage at 1PM on this sunny day. I skied the face of 3 and then met them to do 2 video runs on Andy’s Double Gold.
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Then we went up the gondola, intending to ski Cornice to 23. But the backside looked smooth and pristine at 2PM so I suggested we try that. The upper quarter was great, but the mid section was tracked out and the lower groomers were past their prime, surprisingly early for the chair 14 area. We rode 14 and hiked up to Scotty’s. Liz skied that while I skied upper Monument and joined Liz when the lower part got too heavy. I warned Chemist about the Paranoids but he took Jenny over there anyway to inspect Philippe’s. We could see it would take a long time for them to get down P3, so Liz and I continued on to Chair 1. View of the top from Climax to the Wipe Outs.
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We rode 23 up to ski Wipe Out 2. More snow had been packed out so I thought it skied quite well, but it was 3:15 by now so Liz called it a day after that. I skied once more from 23 on Drop Out and a couple race course laps to finish the day with 28,700.

End of the day at Stump parking with our new Tesla, which we took delivery April 2.
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We have been following Tesla with some interest but did not consider buying until AWD was introduced (late 2014) and the Mammoth Supercharger was permitted last fall and opened January 21, 2016. Despite 2 charge stops in Inyokern and Lone Pine we still got to Mammoth in 5 hours 12 minutes, and the Mammoth charger is within walking distance of Roberto's, Rafters and some other restaurants. Going home in the downhill direction only one charge stop in Inyokern (where we had dinner Wednesday) is necessary with our max size 90D battery.

Our schedule for the week was flexible as a midweek storm had been possible from prior week predictions. But now the prediction was for increasing winds starting Wednesday afternoon, with temperatures dropping Thursday without much new snow. So it was an easy call to make Wednesday 4/13 our last ski day. Winds were fairly strong from the start, mostly from the SW, and chair 9 closed mid-morning, followed not long thereafter by 23. Surprisingly the upper gondola ran most of the day. The other problem early the morning was a thick fog layer down to ~9,500 feet. So no surprise the top of Stump was firm and as on the other days we then took Gold Rush over to the areas that usually get morning sun. Unfortunately the fog was on the backside of Lincoln too, so the chair 25 groomers were bulletproof at 9:30AM. In order to get sun softened snow we had to go low to Eagle. The final stretch below the bridge is on its last legs but the 3 open groomers above that had good corn.

The Eagle runs are pretty mellow but we could observe the cloud rising to higher elevation above the top of Lincoln while we were there. The east face of Lincoln was getting some sun and was also leeward of the gusty winds, so we rode 16 and then 22 to inspect the runs there. A couple of skiers on Viva looked good so we first skied that.
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The bumps got bigger lower down but the spring snow was ideal for skiing them.

After a groomer on finally corned Back for More, we skied Shaft.
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Next was Sunshine, the direct south face skier’s left of chair 25, which rarely had adequate coverage during the drought years, so it was delight to ski there in well timed corn. We then skied the line just skier’s left of 22.
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It was now past noon and Liz skied to the Mill for a short break while I tried Avy 1, which was still on the firm side of ideal. I cruised Spring Canyon down to 16 and intended to try chair 5 but the wind had just closed it.

I met Liz at the Mill, noting that entire side of the mountain remained under the clouds. I thought radiant warmth of the day might have softened the snow some, but it was still firm at the top of chair 2. We rode 3 up and skied off the back toward 5, which I hoped might have had a little sun. It was solid frozen granular entering Dry Creek, but the snow finally softened midway through the moguls. We continued on to a nice finale in Lower Dry Creek. As both of the lifts out of the Mill were long and in the wind and we had already skied the best conditions of the day, we quit at ~1:45. We were lucky to be skiing the mountain in full operation as the best skiing was on chairs 15 and 22, both of which will be closed for the season after this Sunday April 17. I skied 19,400 vertical for the day and 78K for the trip.

The early getaway also allowed us a chance to let Corty Lawrence at Footloose check out Liz’ boots. The custom footbeds from Park City solved Liz’ circulation issues but the ankle sensitivity is still there. Unlike some of the boot analysts, Corty thinks her Salomon shell is a decent fit, but its liner has a reputation for wearing out fast. Thus he’s not surprised the boot was fine for the ~35 days Liz skied in 2014-15 but is having problems this season. Corty made several tweaks that Liz will get to test on our next Mammoth trip in 2 weeks.

Highs were around 40F all 3 days we skied. Thursday sounds ugly with high 29F and wind expected to close many lifts. But it’s expected to warm up for the upcoming Canyon/Eagle closing weekend. The Main Lodge side of the mountain will run to a minimum of Memorial Day. With average spring weather and the current snowpack I would expect another week or so after that, but Memorial Day might be the end if the above average temps persist for another month.
http://bestsnow.net
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
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Tony Crocker
 
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Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Mammoth, Apr.11-13, 2016

Postby mdskier » Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:37 pm

How did the "complete heal release" to RJ's ski happen on dragons back ?
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Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 3:22 pm
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Re: Mammoth, Apr.11-13, 2016

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Apr 28, 2016 5:47 pm

Tesla questions and discussion moved here: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=12137
http://bestsnow.net
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: 9777
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Mammoth, Apr.11-13, 2016

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Oct 24, 2016 1:58 pm

Like a couple of threads in 2015, the Tesla link above has mysteriously disappeared. :evil:

However, I responded to a similar thread in another forum: http://forum.pugski.com/threads/tesla-m ... post-38529
http://bestsnow.net
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: 9777
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California


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