had been predicted an unsettled weather day for some time. It did not bring snow but of course it brought wind. Even though temperatures were around 20F, chair rides like 16, 2 and 5 were bone chilling. Chair 3 had little wind in the morning and chairs 1 and 22 only at the very top. 14 would have been brutal with the wind coming from that direction. Snow was similar to Monday and a bit firmer than Tuesday. There were subtle signs that the wind might be smoothing out some of the upper terrain, but that didn’t really have much impact until Thursday.
Surprisingly the top was open all morning so we used the gondola to get up there and ski Cornice, Climax and a traverse into Drop Out 3. I skied Drop Out 1 from 23 before we moved to the east side of the mountain for more comfort, eventually stopping at Eagle for lunch. I got in one run on Chair 22, Grizzly, which had the softest snow of the trip so far.
In the afternoon the wind cranked up harder. All of the upper and mid-level lifts closed around 1:30PM. Here’s the view of the upper mountain from the top of chair 15.
That’s blowing snow, not fog up there.
We crossed to chair 2 to ski Rodger’s Ridge, then skied back to Canyon and called it a day before 3PM.Thursday
lived up to its prediction of calm and clear and was the best day of the trip. The wind smoothed out much of the upper terrain and softened some of it. Garry unfortunately had to get home early and missed it. Liz and I packed and got on the mountain at 10AM, planning to skip lunch and start driving home when we got tired.
We started from Canyon as on the other days, warming up on Wall Street, Broadway and Face of 3 before taking the gondola to the top. After Cornice we skied Drop Out 3, where the improved snow was much in evidence. Climax was improved too, but Dave’s was still best, widespread ego cruising with a considerable dose of windsift.
Liz was exploring some tree areas off chair 1 while I was on Climax and Dave’s. I skied Gold Hill on to chair 15, where I decided to check out FTO on my phone riding that longish lift alone. I was soon at the top, stuffed the phone in a pocket but did not zip it. When I next boarded chair 22 there was no phone in the unzipped pocket!
I skied an occasional tight route down the liftline of 22, then cut over to the top of 15 where I thought I had dropped the phone but no luck there. I skied back to 22, where the liftie had the phone, which probably fell out when I was loosening my boots for the prior chair ride.
I called Liz from 22, and she was conveniently riding 25, so we met there and skied the Sunshine Glades near the Grizzly Ridge line which Liz had skied Wednesday.
Next time up 22 we admired the view south to Lake Mary and Crystal Crag.
We skied Grizzly itself, which was just as good as on Wednesday.
Liz took an encore run there while I hiked around some scree to reach the rarely skied Avalanche 3.
We crossed the mountain to chair 2 and our final runs on 23. I skied Wipe Out 3 while Liz skied Drop Out 3. We went back up 23, down to 14 via Red’s Lake Run and Santiago Bowl. We got into Scotty’s/Monument just past 3PM, but with clear skies the visibility was no problem.
We skied down to Main. Liz crossed the lower mountain to Canyon while I took a last gondola for an encore on Dave’s. With the excellent conditions we skied until 3:45, total 26,100 for me.
I skied 102K vertical in the 4 days and Liz skied about 90K. She was skiing in the new boots with better control as well as comfort and needed no tweaks from Footloose before we left town.
Our new Tesla has more of a margin for cold weather driving with its rated range of 360 miles vs. 272 on our 2016 model. We used 335 rated miles driving the 205 miles to Lone Pine Sunday at high speed with some wind. The drive home Thursday was at 35F all the way to a dinner stop in Inyokern and past as far as Palmdale. We had never driven 14/395 at temps much below 50F before.