Anniversary of an Outlier: Mt. Baldy, Mar. 21, 1991

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Anniversary of an Outlier: Mt. Baldy, Mar. 21, 1991

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:28 pm

I meant to dig this up a year ago for the 25th anniversary, but we were fresh back from Indonesia and soon on our way to Utah.

Much of the 1990-91 season was the worst of times. Through February Mammoth totaled 52 inches snowfall (barely nosing out 1976-77 as record lowest Nov-Feb total) and the SoCal locals about 15 inches. Mammoth had its first layoffs in late February 1991 and finally installed a major league snowmaking system in the summer of 1991.

Then came the "March Miracle," 176 inches at Mammoth and ~12 feet at the SoCal local mountains. I got in a day at Mt. High Saturday Mar. 9 and the weekend of March 16-17 at Mammoth. With the layoffs some of Mammoth's lifts were not open even though all terrain was accessible.

The following week was intermittently stormy and I chose Thursday March 21 to check out Baldy. This was truly a day when the stars all aligned. The two feet of snow over the previous two days was enough for plenty of powder but not enough to delay Thunder Mt. opening. Ongoing cloudy/unsettled weather held down the crowds too. Overview of Baldy when I arrived at the Notch:
Baldy032191overview.jpg


First tracks on Thunder:
Baldy032191powder.jpg


I worked over the main runs there, then took a couple on chair 4 when it opened mid-morning. As I returned to Thunder the clouds and fog were moving in.
Baldy032191thunder.jpg


With a 6 foot base under the new snow all the tree skiing was fair game, and also the perfect antidote to any visibility issues. The clouds kept the sun off the snow, so when patrol opened the steep chair 1 tree runs after lunch, all of those were still in powder mode too. I took 7 runs on the lower mountain including two on Psych Out, the slackcountry line just past Bentley's.

I returned to Thunder about 3PM for two face shot runs in South Bowl. After a final run to the car I had skied 27,500 vertical. The 22K of powder is still a personal record for lift service, exceeded only by two heli days, one in Alaska and one with Mike Wiegele! Furthermore this was in the era well before fat skis, when powder days were often a crapshoot for me. All of my skis were Rossi GS skis, so I took my oldest 1982 pair figuring they would be the softest.

I think it's an extreme outlier situation that this day still stands up as a top 5 lifetime ski day prior to my owning fat skis, having much powder experience and the 100+ cat/heli days I've had since 1997.
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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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Re: Anniversary of an Outlier: Mt. Baldy, Mar. 21, 1991

Postby jojo_obrien » Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:58 pm

Those were the days! They are long gone ..... fond memories at this point. RIP Baldy.
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Re: Anniversary of an Outlier: Mt. Baldy, Mar. 21, 1991

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:20 pm

The run of bad years has likely decreased Baldy attendance even when it's good. So I look forward to the next year like 1998, 2005 or even 2010 when I showed you Eric's. However, I'm likely as not to be in Europe, Canada or Utah when that happens.
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: 10760
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Anniversary of an Outlier: Mt. Baldy, Mar. 21, 1991

Postby jojo_obrien » Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:39 pm

That was some good stuff Tony...a day i will never forget ..thinking 2010?

Just landed in SLC and hoping for some Alta fun tomorrow. Hoping to run into some of the powder posse ...and also an opening of backside and devils castle ....
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