Mt. Baldy, CA, Feb. 6-7, 2019

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Mt. Baldy, CA, Feb. 6-7, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:39 pm

Two years ago Mt. Baldy had a lot of snow when we were in the Alps, but it rained 4x during the first 10 days of February when we got back. This year our timing was better. SoCal had a very wet January, but not so great in the local ski areas. During the week we left for the Alps it snowed over a foot but then rained for two days. The most recent storms fortunately worked the other way around. After raining last Thursday, Friday and Saturday it snowed 35 inches at Mt. Baldy Sunday and Monday.

Baldy seems more informative this season about conditions. The weekend storm was very violent in terms of wind, so they announced they would not open Tuesday as the storm was winding down. They also described the snow as not powder but windpacked, warning that some areas would be thin and others drifted 5-6 feet deep. I viewed this as a positive, because SoCal powder may be good on opening day, but it can then set up and make ungroomed skiing very difficult for a couple of weeks. The packed snow will continue to ski well, and if it warms up it will transition to corn faster than churned powder will.

On Tuesday at 8PM Baldy posted that they were targeting opening chair 1 at 9AM and Thunder at 10AM. Past experience tells me to take such predictions with a grain of salt, but Liz and I got there just after 8AM Wednesday to beat any traffic or road screwups. Only the hairpins above Baldy village required careful driving, and by the standards of past first days after a storm, the crowd was fairly light, eventually filling only two levels of the parking lot. We were in the upper lot, less than 100 feet from the ticket office.

We were pleased to see chair 1 load starting at 9:20AM. Baldy had warned that cover became thinner the lower down chair 1 you skied, so I considered this first view up Bentley's to be a plus in that context.
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Farther up is the view of direct south facing Holcumac, which I did not ski until the next day when chair 4 opened.
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Baldy is nearly always windy during storms, but this one set a new standard for the level of resulting rime.
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The trees are caked in all directions and the restaurant at the Notch is coated in rime too.

Liz went into the Notch to thaw out while I scouted the Chair 1 terrain. It was 24F when we arrived, and in early morning you are in continuous shade until you arrive at the Notch, which also had some wind for the latter part of the chair ride. Highs were about 30, which was good for keeping nearly all the snow in winter mode Wednesday.

The view of Nightmare looked good from chair 1 so that's where I headed first. This is where I first encountered the hard surface in wind exposed areas, particularly with some west exposure. The traverse line from the top of chair 1 had lots of whoop-de-dos and slick patches, so for future runs on chair 1 I opted to take the fire road starting behind the equipment building. The traverse entry into Nightmare was also firm with some rock exposure, so I was glad I didn't bring Liz with me. Once into Nightmare it was soft windpacked powder that skied beautifully. View of the first tracks in there, one of which is mine, on the second chair ride.
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I had a about a 10 minute wait for that second chair as people were still arriving at the mountain.

Taking that fire road from the equipment building, I passed under chair 2 with closed Thunder in the background.
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If you zoom closer, between the two chair 2 cables you can see two guys on top of the lower Thunder tower chipping the rime off.

I skied Bentley's next. It had a cleaner entry than Nightmare but I needed to zigzag back a forth some to stay in the best snow. I figured Liz could get down Bentley's at the end of the day but for now she should wait for Thunder, where opening time was delayed first to 11AM, then noon.

After my second run on chair 1, the liftline of arriving people had cleared. For my third run I entered at Bentley's but traversed right hoping to get a clean line in the Morgan's Grove trees. But those had a slight west tilt and I kept running into the hard patches. Eventually the traverse ended up about a quarter of the way down Nightmare so I skied that again.

I went into the Notch, had a bowl of soup with Liz, then we both came out just after noon and skied down to Thunder, where the chair was at least moving though not loading yet. Soon one of the patrollers told us that a cable had started to derail, so they had to stop and reset it.

Thunder finally started loading at 1:23PM. We were about 50 people back, and partway up we see the first tracks being made.
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Looking back at the view toward 10,000 foot Baldy peak, note that the chairs' electrical cable is coated with neatly a foot diameter of rime.
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From Thunder you can easily see to the ocean and Catalina on a clear day, and this time the view is further clarified by sun reflection illuminating ships in the water.
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The 8,600 feet is I'm fairly sure the largest vertical view from a lift in North America. The only place I know I've seen more is from the Aiguille de Midi in Chamonix. I don't recall specifically, but you can probably see west from La Parva down into Santiago.

Liz on top of Thunder with rimed trees, Baldy Peak in background:
IMG_0677.JPG


At last it was time to put away the camera and ski Thunder. I skied first Skyline, then Emile's, then the trees between them. It was easy to tell riding Thunder and listening to people's turns that these had the best snow. Liftline was adequately covered but it had more wind exposure and was mostly hardpack. The trees between Liftline and Robin's are tilted north and had excellent snow. Robin's itself had hard snow at the bottom and a narrow spot where a tree had fallen but was cleared the next day.

Goldridge was good too. I skied that twice plus encores on the Emile's trees and Robin's trees before Thunder closed at 4PM. We skied Bentley's to the bottom, lower section illuminated here in the late afternoon sun.
IMG_0678.JPG

I skied 14,300 vertical, maybe half that in shallow but very smooth powder. Liz only skied about half as much but she was delighted to see "the real Baldy" that I've been telling her about for many years.

I returned to Mt. Baldy Thursday, though Liz had an appointment and didn't come with me. Thunder would be open all day and hopefully chair 4 would open sometime.

Again I arrived at 8AM, but to an even smaller crowd and I loaded Thunder before 9AM. By midday there were again two rows of parking filled, but people didn't come quite as early as on Wednesday.

Most trees in the Notch area were caked with rime all over from variable winds, but on the south side of Thunder the wind coming up Icehouse Canyon was more consistent.
IMG_0682.JPG

Thus the rime is elongated two feet on the windward side of this pole.

I was a bit worked over from the prior day, so with a nearly empty mountain I warmed up on cruisers Fire Road/Bonanza and Shortcut/Robin's. Next was Emile's, which remained is as good shape as the end of the prior day. I skied halfway down Skyline and ventured into Tube.
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Snow was packed powder but not quite as smooth or consistent as the other tree sectors I had skied on Thunder. I also skied the trees between Goldridge and Bonanza. These are tighter trees with a less direct fall line but snow stays very soft in there.

What I did not get to ski was South Bowl.
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Just left of center into the trees a patroller was digging a pit. The open area in front of the trees was entirely hardpacked. When it opens, it will be best traversing out the ridgeline and dropping into the trees when the slope bends to face more north.

I tested Herb's and Andy's, which drop off Fire Road into Robin's. These face west and a bit south and the upper parts of both were pretty bad in terms of both hard snow and obstacles to avoid. So I finished up my 10 runs on Thunder in the places I knew were good like Robin's trees and Emile's trees. I needed a break and went in for a bowl of chili about 11:30.

Coming out of lunch I could see a couple of lifties at the base of chair 4, but it wasn't moving so I decided to ski to the bottom. I went for Nightmare and nearly had one. The entry had been scraped worse, I couldn't hold an edge on it, slipped with a hard hip check on the ice and perhaps rock but fortunately got my lower ski back on enough edge to steer into a pitch of softer snow where I could stop. I continued the traverse into Nightmare, where the snow surface had tightened up vs. Wednesday. There was no melt freeze but it was firm chalk, and there's no question I would have slid a long way if I had not arrested that fall. Nightmare is 36 degrees average for 700 vertical.

Returning to the Notch, I saw a few people lined up at chair 4 and patrol said 20 minutes, but the lift was not moving so I headed for Thunder. This was not a great decision, as Thunder came to a halt at 1PM while I was on the third chair from the top unloading, about the same time chair 4 opened. After 10 minutes, Thunder started moving, but very slowly. From my position I was off Thunder soon and skied Mullin's Mile to reach chair 4 directly.

From the top of chair 4 here's the view of Thunder.
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From here you can see San Gorgonio in the distance.
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I skied Spring Ridge to test the snow at the same due south aspect as Holcumac would be lower down. The snow was cream cheese, good as long as you didn't hit someone's else's tracks. But it was thin, as there was surely no base over here before the recent storm. View of tracks near chair 4:
IMG_0690.JPG


After my third chair ride I ventured to Holcumac. There's a very short window of skiability after a storm as it's relatively steep and south facing. When chair 4 doesn't open until the second day, it can already be melt/frozen from the first day. But fortunately Wednesday was cold. Thursday was only slightly warmer, but all the south facing on chair 4 was softening, so in the immediate future the best skiing over there will be on the groomers Roller Coaster an Turkey Shoot.

From the top of Holcumac, there's a panoramic view of all of the Thunder terrain from Bonanza to South Bowl, so I've put a few labels above selected runs.
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The ridge in the foreground runs from the Notch restaurant at left to the top of Nightmare at right.

The cream cheese snow was wide open and barely tracked.
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I skied a couple more turns then traversed over to the other tracks at center right to have a better shot at a clean exit at the bottom. I made it to the lower fire road, which I could take to Sugarpine under chair 1.

Looking back up:
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Midday the canyon under the lower chair can get quite warm in the sun. The rimed trees were starting to melt, dropping death cookies that often rolled down the hill into Sugarpine. Riding back up, on many of the trees the rime that remained was forming foot long icicles (need to zoom to see clearly).
IMG_0698.JPG


Driving out later below the parking lot the rime/snow was melting out of trees almost continuously. Thunder is still colder and more sheltered but when it gets warmer it will happen there too.

I skied back down Bentley's around 3PM and called it a day with 18,300 vertical. Bentley's was a bit firmer than Wednesday but not as much of a change in surface as Nightmare.

These are the best conditions I've skied Baldy since I retired 8 1/2 years ago. But we are not quite yet at the standards of good seasons in the past. Those would be the years in blue or green on this chart, 11 of them between 1978 and 2010. http://bestsnow.net/scalhist.htm

Why is that? Chair 4 is thin, won't survive more than a couple of weeks of warm weather. Chair 1 has OK coverage but still a lot of hard snow and DFU situations like I encountered at the top of Nightmare. Bentley's is already the only route to the bottom both enjoyable and fairly safe (upper half of Sugarpine is all hardpack), and Bentley's has choke points near the bottom that will get worse with warm weather.

Thunder has good coverage and preservation, should have good skiing through mid to late March with normal SoCal weather. But for now that's really about 3/4 of Thunder when you consider the hard snow on the more direct west exposures.

And of course the wild card is the weather. This weekend's cold storm in the Sierra will barely skirt SoCal with a few inches at most. Next week there is speculation about an atmospheric river. One more dump like the one last Sunday/Monday would set up Baldy for a couple of months of close to full operation skiing and maybe get this season a green score on that chart. But atmospheric river storms tend to be on the warm side, and a big rain event will screw up this season just like the 4 days of early February rain put an end to the good late January skiing two seasons ago.

Just as a note, Mt. Waterman's skiing continues to suffer even relative to Mt. Baldy. Its road is still closed today Feb. 8 so it will not open this weekend Feb. 9-10. This is not a new problem. Waterman has often lost its best powder days due to its road not opening for a few days after a big storm. The track record of Baldy's road being cleared promptly after storms has been excellent since the 1990's.

I suggest SoCal weekend warriors make the effort to get out there this weekend. It has remained cold enough to preserve mostly packed powder, so this will be only the second "A" weekend of SoCal skiing on that chart since 2011.
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Re: Mt. Baldy, CA, Feb. 6-7, 2019

Postby TRam » Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:45 pm

beautiful report! hope you guys get another big dump. If i was down that way I'd go out. Alas I'm stuck in utah
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Re: Mt. Baldy, CA, Feb. 6-7, 2019

Postby jojo_obrien » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:16 pm

Great TR Tony, thank you. It was like being there. Great shots! Really enjoyed the photos especially the Notch covered in rime/snow. Classic baldy.

Such a great mountain -- so many fun spots. I was quite curious to hear what the crowds would be like these days - the last time I skied baldy was 2011.

Glad Liz was able to see Baldy on a day as beautiful such as that. Can't beat Baldy on a bluebird day.

Not surprised at the snow conditions....wind plus SW flow will make for that.

As much as I love Baldy, I don't know if I'll ever ski there again. Those rickety ass lifts are probably 60 years old now plus the road and snowplayers up on the weekend (can you imagine today, Saturday?). I first started skiing Baldy in 1990 when my family moved to Claremont. In "colder times" Baldy would really deliver the goods - deep snow all the way down to the parking lot. I highly doubt we'll ever see days like that again.

I just bought a 4 pack to snow valley for $99. They have a new high speed quad there. I'm looking forward to checking out their new lift just to keep the legs in shape between trips to UT. Now that they have a bit of a base, hope they can make it to springtime in March - as spring skiing in SoCal has always been fun.
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Re: Mt. Baldy, CA, Feb. 6-7, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:51 am

Liz has inquired about Snow Valley. It is a quite flat mountain aside from Slide Peak, which is natural snow dependent and has not been open much in the past 8 years. Slide is steep, but only ~500 vertical like Wall/Olympic at Snow Summit. Slide also has no trees and is still not open now with the unsettled weather this weekend. If you're skiing on weekends you also have to deal with traffic on the 330. Consequently I last skied Snow Valley in 1985 and last skied Slide Peak in 1982. When we actually have natural snow here, Baldy is just too compelling in terms of terrain quality on a completely different level from the other SoCal locals (Waterman has it on a smaller scale, but it has other issues, see above), plus the convenience of being barely over an hour from home.

Crowds on Wednesday/Thursday were lower than on midweek new snow days in the 1990's. Adam is up there today, so it will be interesting to hear how it is on a weekend. But weather is not so good so I'm guessing it won't be that busy. Hopefully the wind won't be strong enough to close lifts.

In the Sierra and Utah, powder days during low snow years tend to be crazy due to pent up demand. I suspect it's the opposite in SoCal. It's been bad for so long that I think many people like jojo-obrien have given up. I know that's true with Mt. Waterman, which has been open so seldom over the past 16 years that the vast majority of skiers have forgotten about it.
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Re: Mt. Baldy, CA, Feb. 6-7, 2019

Postby tseeb » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:18 pm

Tony Crocker said "The 8,600 feet is I'm fairly sure the largest vertical view from a lift in North America." From the top of Cornice chair at Kirkwood you can see into and across the Central Valley of California (when it's not fogged in). I've seen the cooling towers at decommissioned Rancho Seco nuclear power plant where "elevation of the site acreage varies from 130 feet to 280 feet above sea level" You can also see a lot of lakes in the lowest Sierra Foothills although not sure that when getting off the chair is the best time to figure out which lake is which. I think I've seen Camanche (that is how they spell it) Reservoir which has a surface elevation of 135'. Since the top of Cornice chair is almost 9200', either Rancho Seco or Camanche is over 9,000' lower and visible. You can probably see some of the San Joaquin/Sacramento delta from the top of Cornice and from Siberia and Emigrant at Squaw.

Snow was visible on ridge closest to my house this morning below 2000'. Snow was deeper and lower early last week. Mt Hamilton at 4200', only a couple of miles behind ridge in this picture but not visible from my house, has had snow for about a week as it has been getting refreshed and not melting much with cold temps for this area.
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Re: Mt. Baldy, CA, Feb. 6-7, 2019

Postby jojo_obrien » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:43 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Liz has inquired about Snow Valley. It is a quite flat mountain aside from Slide Peak, which is natural snow dependent and has not been open much in the past 8 years. Slide is steep, but only ~500 vertical like Wall/Olympic at Snow Summit. Slide also has no trees and is still not open now with the unsettled weather this weekend. If you're skiing on weekends you also have to deal with traffic on the 330. Consequently I last skied Snow Valley in 1985 and last skied Slide Peak in 1982. When we actually have natural snow here, Baldy is just too compelling in terms of terrain quality on a completely different level from the other SoCal locals (Waterman has it on a smaller scale, but it has other issues, see above), plus the convenience of being barely over an hour from home.

Crowds on Wednesday/Thursday were lower than on midweek new snow days in the 1990's. Adam is up there today, so it will be interesting to hear how it is on a weekend. But weather is not so good so I'm guessing it won't be that busy. Hopefully the wind won't be strong enough to close lifts.

In the Sierra and Utah, powder days during low snow years tend to be crazy due to pent up demand. I suspect it's the opposite in SoCal. It's been bad for so long that I think many people like jojo-obrien have given up. I know that's true with Mt. Waterman, which has been open so seldom over the past 16 years that the vast majority of skiers have forgotten about it.


I agree with you but I will say at $25 for a lift ticket AND new high speed quad AND slide peak IS open AND there's less driving involved, it's a great option for some midweek turns. Back in the day when nearly everyone skied, slide peak would get some nice big volkswagon bus sized moguls. Made for a blast in the spring. Had a great little bar area back there and I recall at one point they managed to install and operate a hot tub. I think this might be the first time in a LONG time slide peak has been open. It looks like rain could be coming this week -- I'd love to get up there this weekend and make some turns. Let's just hope this incoming storm doesn't produce rain.

Never skied Waterman .....heard many good things but - as you have noted, they need a lot of natural snow to go.
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Re: Mt. Baldy, CA, Feb. 6-7, 2019

Postby egieszl » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:51 am

There is no way this is Mt. Baldy. I think Tony is trying to pass off some remote, unheard of European resort that looks the same as the infamous SoCal area. The report of ice, wind, hardpack, irregular snow cover, rocks, and delayed lift openings sounds like it, but there is just too much snow in the pics to make me believe this could be Mt. Baldy.

I've really missed the Mt. Baldy reports...thanks for the post! Hopefully others will post some more.
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Total past 12 seasons- Vertical: 14,120,078, Days: 557, Lift rides: 8,869, Top day vertical: 64,867;
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Re: Mt. Baldy, CA, Feb. 6-7, 2019

Postby egieszl » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:58 am

jojo_obrien wrote:In "colder times" Baldy would really deliver the goods - deep snow all the way down to the parking lot. I highly doubt we'll ever see days like that again.


I see no reason to believe that SoCal will not have additional periods of cold weather and abundant snowfall. If you read about the history of SoCal skiing there were periods throughout the entire history that were warm and dry. The 90s had some great seasons and nothing has so dramatically changed that it won't happen again. The predicted climate change is still a prediction of the future. The past six years of dry and warm weather can't be used as definitive evidence that this is the way it will be for her on out.

jojo_obrien wrote:I just bought a 4 pack to snow valley for $99. They have a new high speed quad there.


It's even better. It's a high speed six pack, not quad. It should be dedicated to "Warren Miller" and more appropriately named the "S**t Show Express" instead of the unoriginal Snow Valley Express. The upper mountain cam points right at the unload for fun.

Slide Peak was open on Saturday, February 9, but closed due to weather on February 10. It's scheduled to be open again today. Unfortunately, the so-called "family" operators of Snow Valley are poor managers of the ski area in my opinion. Once again, Slide Peak is open with only Chair 11 and no Chair 9. That means you basically have to hike back there to ski it and pole on a long flat road to get out of there.

Chair 9 was operational two seasons ago after several years of being inoperable. There are actually some good runs from the midway unload of Chair 9 so its a shame that they don't run it.

Also, strangely after getting Chair 8 back into service a couple of seasons ago it hasn't run at all this year. I get the fact that it probably isn't busy enough to really need the lift, but it's a poor decision not to operate these lifts on the weekends. Snow Valley is a mess!

However, for $99 four lift tickets is a steal!
2018-19 ski season stats- Vertical: 1,328,039, Days: 55, Lift rides: 814, Top day vertical: 53,363;
Total past 12 seasons- Vertical: 14,120,078, Days: 557, Lift rides: 8,869, Top day vertical: 64,867;
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Re: Mt. Baldy, CA, Feb. 6-7, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:06 am

From where I live in Glendale Baldy is a much closer drive than Snow Valley. Nonetheless since Liz has never skied there (or Mountain High West), I may consider showing her those places sometime if weather is cooperative.

egieszl wrote:Once again, Slide Peak is open with only Chair 11 and no Chair 9. That means you basically have to hike back there to ski it and pole on a long flat road to get out of there.

Ugh! That's one more reason not to go there.

egieszl wrote:I see no reason to believe that SoCal will not have additional periods of cold weather and abundant snowfall. If you read about the history of SoCal skiing there were periods throughout the entire history that were warm and dry. The 90s had some great seasons and nothing has so dramatically changed that it won't happen again. The predicted climate change is still a prediction of the future. The past six years of dry and warm weather can't be used as definitive evidence that this is the way it will be for here on out.

I generally agree with this view, and have explained why with some long term L.A. climatology graphs:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12036&p=75536#p75536
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12677&p=79108#p79108
The more worrisome recent development vs. those good years in the equally warm 1990's is rain vs. snow in the SoCal ski areas. This season has continued that trend. Conditions now would be spectacular if all instead of only half of the 10 L.A. rain days between Jan. 14 and Feb. 5 had been snow in the ski areas. The upcoming storm Wednesday/Thursday may be rain also and if so will seriously degrade the barely adequate natural snow base as well as putting much of it off limits for skiing due to ensuing ice.

I had not thought much about views west from the Sierra Crest. When you're driving across the Sierra, the eastern slope is very steep, providing dramatic views down to Mono/Crowley Lakes (Mammoth) or the Carson Valley (Heavenly NV). By contrast the Sierra western slope seems to go on forever, at least 30 miles of mountain driving above 5,000 feet. Thus I've presumed that you can see across the Central Valley but not necessarily down into it. I'm a bit surprised that identifiable landmarks in the Central Valley can be seen, but tseeb has been skiing these areas all his life so I'm sure he can spot things more casual visitors wouldn't know.

Qualitatively the views from Baldy are much more like the eastern views from the Sierra than the western views.
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Re: Mt. Baldy, CA, Feb. 6-7, 2019

Postby jojo_obrien » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:36 am

Wow.egieszl, you do know Snow Valley. I concur with you......there are some south facing runs at the midway point that can be decent if there is sufficient snow. If not, you have manzanita shrub coming through........

That is amazing that Chair 9 isn't operable. Are you serious GEESH. amazing to know chair 8 isn't moving. i often wonder if they ever crank up chair 4 or does it sit idle, waiting for the elements? i imagine snow valley is barely in the black when it comes to money, considering big bear has the market share and snow valley simple caters to the beginners/intermediate skiiers/boarders. '

sh*t show express - maybe you're right. (and yes, thanks for the correction -- 6 pack, not quad). i can't imagine snow valley gets nearly as crowded as it did the 70's / 80's/90's when the snow was good (minus a few of the bad drought years back in the late 80's). everyone goes to bear/summit.......
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Postby ShiftyRider » Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:16 pm

I went yesterday, quit skiing at 1:55. Everybody was stranded in their cars at Manker Flats. Cars didn't start inching forward until 9. So I shoulda got home by 3 or 4 and instead it was after midnight.

Tony, here's that Kriechmayr Hahnenkamm highlight I mentioned on the chair...
https://v.redd.it/eemhujo8zjc21/DASH_9_6_M

Might as well link this one too, insane air attempt by Dual Moguls superstar Dachi Hara last week...
https://streamable.com/21jqx
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Re: Mt. Baldy, CA, Feb. 6-7, 2019

Postby egieszl » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:00 pm

jojo_obrien wrote:Wow.egieszl, you do know Snow Valley. I concur with you......there are some south facing runs at the midway point that can be decent if there is sufficient snow. If not, you have manzanita shrub coming through........

That is amazing that Chair 9 isn't operable. Are you serious GEESH. amazing to know chair 8 isn't moving. i often wonder if they ever crank up chair 4 or does it sit idle, waiting for the elements? i imagine snow valley is barely in the black when it comes to money, considering big bear has the market share and snow valley simple caters to the beginners/intermediate skiiers/boarders. '

sh*t show express - maybe you're right. (and yes, thanks for the correction -- 6 pack, not quad). i can't imagine snow valley gets nearly as crowded as it did the 70's / 80's/90's when the snow was good (minus a few of the bad drought years back in the late 80's). everyone goes to bear/summit.......


For years, before I moved to Austin, I skied the Southern California ski areas regularly. I think when Snow Valley is in full operation I prefer it over Mountain High West and Snow Summit. Mt. Baldy is a superior mountain, but rarely, with emphasis on rarely, are conditions acceptable.

Bear Mountain and Snow Summit have the advantage over all resorts because their water source gives them consistency with their snowmaking operations. Snow Valley and Mountain High are still dependent on well water and their stock pile in their reservoirs. Mountain High's wells are so dry that they cannot fill both 25M gallon reservoirs presently. The East reservoir has been largely left unfilled and dry. During the 90s Mountain High would start the season with both fill and then refill the West reservoir once or twice again during the season. They've been really conservative with their snowmaking because of a lack of water. The past several years the focus has been only on the main trails of the West resort and very limited supplemental operations at East when they get significant natural snow. They're not even making snow at North this year for the North Pole Tubing park this. The wells are dry.

Snow Valley has improved their snowmaking operation with new fan guns, but the system only serves about 70% of the front side of the mountain. There is no snowmaking on terrain in the Chair 4 or Chair 8 pods, plus the black runs off the unloading mound from Chair 2 or the two black runs beneath the old Chair 5. I don't know what happened to the York snowmaking system from the early 90s that was installed on Slide Peak. It seems to have never really worked.

Snow Valley on their Facebook Saturday stated that they were going to get Chair 9 operating. Hopefully, they will get it operating. It was inoperable for several years in the early 2000s because the power line that served the lift had failed. About four or five seasons ago power was restored. Maybe three seasons ago Chair 8 was restored to be operable again.

This year they removed Chair 4 and Chair 10 from the trail map, but both lifts remain in a standing-but-not-operating state. Neither has operated since likely the mid-to-maybe late-90s. Chair 5 is also still standing without carriers and Snow Valley has stated that they'd like to get that lift to be operational again. However, I don't see the point since they hardly ever run Chair 2. I'd like to see Snow Valley restore Chair 4 (Riblet Triple) since it serves interesting terrain, despite all runs being short.
2018-19 ski season stats- Vertical: 1,328,039, Days: 55, Lift rides: 814, Top day vertical: 53,363;
Total past 12 seasons- Vertical: 14,120,078, Days: 557, Lift rides: 8,869, Top day vertical: 64,867;
egieszl
 
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Re: Mt. Baldy, CA, Feb. 6-7, 2019

Postby jojo_obrien » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:45 pm

egieszl, i agree with on every account. good summary. i've ridden every one of those chairs many, many times. small, fun little place. i was amused that they had taken some of those lifts off the trail map. they offered some fun, yet varied (short) terrain. for years the lack of avail water at snow valley was the achilles heel compared to bear/summit. it's good to see that they've received this snow....

ShiftyRider .......you paid the hefty tax of coming off the mountain on a sunday......my old rule of thumb was to get off the mountain by about 2 as you did, but i'm guessing that band that came in around 2 pm yesterday threw everybody off and everything was a mess? that's an insane timeline to get back home.......talk about the red snake. worst experience i ever had in socal was skiing big bear on a superbowl sunday.......what was normally 2 hr drive took 6 to get home. sounds like you topped me.
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Re: Mt. Baldy, CA, Feb. 6-7, 2019

Postby jojo_obrien » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:51 pm

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la- ... story.html

as i alluded to previously, unless there is 2+ ft low density snow, followed by a bluebird day midweek, you won't find me at baldy anymore (especially on a weekend).......that road attracts too many folks who don't have the driving skills to be on that road.
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Re: Mt. Baldy, CA, Feb. 6-7, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:09 pm

I had one day in 1989 I think when I didn't get home from Baldy until about 10PM. Other than that time I've never been delayed more than an hour. I realize the snowplayer situation has gotten much worse over the last decade or two. But I'm not that worried about Baldy's road as a retiree because most of my local skiing is midweek. I'm giving it another shot tomorrow, before Wednesday's possible damage. I'd be looking to Waterman on weekends of good years, but that road problem is more serious.

My local experience by area and season: http://bestsnow.net/vft_scal.htm

You can see how limited my time at Snow Valley is. My local skiing is skewed to Baldy when conditions are best and to Big Bear when there's not much natural snow. During the infrequent in-between situations Mountain High (assuming East as well as West is open) is surely a more attractive option than Snow Valley. Is there a scenario when Slide Peak is open but Mt. High East is closed? I suspect that would be rare. 2010-11 was the last time I skied SoCal anywhere other than Baldy or Big Bear. As I leave for two weeks in Canada Sunday, I'm not sure that will change this season.
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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