Mammoth, June 12, 2016

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Mammoth, June 12, 2016

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:57 pm

Today was a difficult one due to weather/conditions as well as the significant meltdown of the past two weeks. The forecast was for rain all day. We got lucky that it did not rain from about 8AM to noon. Nonetheless there was also some fog so we waited until the upper gondola and 23 opened before heading up. Fortunately the fog bank was mostly mid-mountain and rarely up top. Surprisingly it had snowed on top overnight, perhaps 4-6 inches and very thick. Here we are at the sign, noticeably taller than over Memorial weekend.

We had met Lonnie and he thought we should get on Climax before it got much traffic. View off the top of Climax:

Lonnie on Climax:



This was Lonnie’s third and final day at Mammoth. Friday had been heavy spring conditions, Saturday had been mostly firm and now this.

The subsurface was not hardpacked and I did not find the conditions a severe technical challenge, even though I was on the Recons and not a wider ski. However the effort involved resulted in my stopping to catch my breath every few turns. This annoyance persisted all day and while the thin air first day at Mammoth is usually noticeable, this was the worst trouble I’ve had with it in a long time. I skied the untracked apron below Climax to the top of Christmas Bowl. The new snow had hidden some exposed rocks on the traverse back to face of 3 and I took a core shot and a few other streaks on my ski bases. So it was a good decision not to bring a newer ski.

Liz had taken Cornice, which had just as many snow clumps as Climax but had traversed far right to a cleaner line under Hangman’s. We both knew we had to tighten boots right away in this kind of snow and so both had arch cramps when we regrouped at chair 3. My feet settled down but Liz’ were sensitive the rest of the day so she did not follow us to chair 23. She skied a couple of runs on the face of 3 and then went into Main Lodge when her feet did not improve.

We met Lonnie’s friend Cowboy Ted and we all rode up 23 and took separate runs. Ted skied the most wide open but bumpy Drop Out, Lonnie skied the more skier packed Wipe Out 1, while I walked over some rocks to get to Wipe Out 3 and some more untracked snow. Lonnie on the apron below Wipe Out.

As below Climax the subsurface was not that hard or bumpy, should have skied fluidly, but for me it was about 4 turns at a time with a couple minutes rest in between.

We continued down to Main, and I decided to ski a run on Broadway for a breather. View down Broadway:

Normally strips like this would be well chewed by 11AM, but there were very few people on the hill today so it skied fairly well.

Next time up 1 I skied over to 23 and met Lonnie and Ted again. We skied far right off Cornice to the area Liz had skied the first run. This fall line was short enough that I ran out of breath just as I got to Saddle Bowl. We rode up 3 and Lonnie left to go home after this pic.

Cowboy Ted is well named by his attire.

Ted and I took 23 up to ski Drop Out.

Drop Out was mix of soft bumps up high and an apron with just a few tracks.

Mammoth has maintained a good strip on St. Anton, about half its normal width skier’s left with a running creek now formed on the other side.

Here’s the lower strip of St. Anton, which will be lucky to last another week.

Note the race course runs Fascination and Andy’s Double Gold are history.

It was now 12:45 so I called it a day with 9,100 vertical.

I had seen pics of the Main Lodge area reduced to strips but I was still surprised how much snow is gone from the mid-mountain area. Forest Trail and Upper Mambo are gone. It will soon be necessary to go up 3 to Saddle Bowl to reach Broadway from McCoy Station without walking across some dirt.

This TR from June 13, 2009 makes an instructive comparison:
That was not a great ski day as the top was closed for fog all day. However I did not see a single run that did not have more coverage then than it does now. The next day June 14 was closing day. Some people on Mammoth Forum were grumbling about that close in 2009 but it was clear Broadway would not last to July. Also given the state of the SoCal economy in spring 2009 attendance was down during a quite good snow season with 100 more inches snowfall than this year, so there may have been other reasons Mammoth closed then.

The bottom line is that my opinion has been reinforced. Do not wait until July if you want to ski Mammoth again this season.
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: 10093
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

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