June 8 was one of the finest spring corn ski days of my life. The second half of May had a lot of weather so the corn never had much of a chance to set up. Garry was at Mammoth with a couple of friends for 3 days this week. Thursday was too warm, mushy. Friday snow was better but so much wind that top was closed all day and even 1 and 2 intermittently. But Saturday was perfect: there was a hard freeze overnight, clear all day with a light breeze. Temps started in mid-30’s, maybe got to 50F by closing.
I got on the mountain at 7:50. Here’s the view of Stump Alley, with Lincoln Mt. in left background.
Chair 2 still has wall to wall coverage. This week will be hot with lots of melting, but I think there's a good chance chair 2 will last through Patrick’s first weekend June 22-23. I didn't think that a month ago and I still don't think 2 will last until July. Having 2 open is important not only for the parking access but also because the chair 5 terrain remains accessible.
The snow on Stump was hard but well groomed so not hard to ski and of course very promising for later in the day. On my second ride I reached Garry and heard they were headed to the top. I was pleasantly surprised that the snow was already soft on the upper third of Cornice facing the morning sun. Garry and I skied to 3, finding the Face of 3 still firm. So the plan while waiting for more widespread softening was to ski laps from Cornice to sunny lower runs, first Stump, then Rusty’s to chair 1. Garry on groomed Cornice:
Garry’s friends were now at chair 5. I expected that most of 5 was still firm, but that Coyote getting there might be good. From that first Coyote run a bit after 9AM, I skied almost continuous ideal corn the rest of the day. First Solitude then Waterfall were in morning sun like Coyote. View from above Waterfall towards 5:
By 10AM the main 5 runs Sanctuary and Sliver were in corn mode. Triangle was still firm skier’s left so we skied to the right parallel to Sliver. Garry and I then took 2 to 23 and went out to Monument.
Sometimes when the steeps are good, the apron runouts have heavy snow, but not on Saturday; it was all good top to bottom.
There was also good groomed corn below on St. Anton and the race course runs.
Next were the Drop Outs with the same NE aspect as Monument. Drop Out 2:
By now it was 12:30 and Garry decided to call it a day as he was driving home. He had started at 7:30 opening bell and gotten 4 runs in before I arrived. That would be about 28K vertical.
My next run I traversed from Monument with a few step-ups to Paranoid 2.
I noticed that the racers were done now, so from the back of 3 I skied the pristine corn that had been roped off for them on World Cup and Fascination.
Past 1PM I concentrated on the most direct north facing lines that had stayed frozen the longest but were now ideal. Those were first the liftline of chair 3 and then the skier’s left of Triangle that had been firm earlier. I then returned to 23 to ski all 3 Wipe Outs.
Over Memorial weekend the announced 3PM closing had been extended to 4PM. Saturday was the busiest June day I have skied, with lift lines of perhaps 20 people at chairs 1, 2 and occasionally 3 and 23. We heard a rumor that Saturday would be extended to 3PM. Thus I ended up at Main Lodge after my last Wipe Out run to find chair 1 closed as scheduled after 2PM and had to take the parking shuttle to chair 2.
I skied 36,100 vertical, which should tell you how good the snow was and how little effort was needed to ski it. Needless to say this is the best ski day I’ve ever had in June. The prior benchmark was also with Garry June 10, 2006: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards ... php?t=2128
That day the upper gondola was open but not 23, while today was the opposite. That’s a close tradeoff of the Wipe Outs/Drop Outs vs. Dave’s, Huevos, Climax and Hangman’s. The only better late spring corn day was perhaps May 18, 2013 http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards ... hp?t=10987
That one was better only because both the upper gondola and 23 were open, so I skied a likely record 15 runs off the top vs. 11 today and 9 on the June day in 2006.
I drove north from Mammoth to raft the North Fork of the Stanislaus River on Sunday. View of the now closed east side of Mammoth from the 203 exit off 395:
Full view of Mammoth father north on 395: