Mt. Baldy, Jan. 7, 2020

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Mt. Baldy, Jan. 7, 2020

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:29 am

We returned to Mt. Baldy after the holiday crunch was over, though Garry was up there Saturday and said it was very quiet.
Liz and I arrived about 9:10 and only half the upper lot had filled. To no surprise chair 1 took a beating from the sunny weather since Dec. 27.
IMG_5316.JPG

The traverse line going out the right side did extend to above the parking lot with a clean line down from there.

Farther up chair 1 toward the Notch:
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It was nearly 10AM when we got to the Notch so I figured we should try chair 4 as it was sunny and likely softening already. I was right about that. Our first runs were in perfect corn, first on Turkey Shoot.
IMG_5325.JPG


View down Turkey Shoot with Thunder in the background.
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The other chair 4 groomer Rollercoaster was just as good.
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This was the first time Liz had skied chair 4. I showed her the view from the top down Lytle Creek.
IMG_5320.JPG

I got to ski 2,200 vertical down that side on May 31, 1998.

We skied 3x each of Turkey Chute and Rollercoaster. The corn was that good midwinter due to latitude and south exposure. Other terrain on chair 4 was patchy and past history tells me chair 4 has only a week or two left unless it snows more.

We moved to Thunder and met Garry there about 11:45.
IMG_5342.JPG


Groomers there were excellent, mostly winter snow with just a few hard patches. Skyline:
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Robin's was just as good but the light was poor for pictures, particularly when we got thin overcast midday.

Ungroomed terrain remains problematic. I tested Emile's around 1PM. it had an irregular somewhat hard surface which is hard to figure out as it sees very little direct sun this time of year. A couple of times I've seen this at the top of Mammoth as a result of freezing fog, so that's my best guess here as fog often is drawn up the notch into the Mt. Baldy ski area.

I skied Herb's, which had partial softening but rarely the entire width of the run. Here's the view from Skyline into South Bowl with similar exposure.
IMG_5357.JPG

The upper part was probably good, but it was probably firm when it got lower into the shade and the traverse out was likely an ordeal. Midday temps were probably around 40, but without full sun there were areas remaining firm that had softened on prior warmer days.

Around 2:45 we got a great view of the low sun illuminating the ocean in front and behind the Isthmus of Catalina.
IMG_5354a.JPG


We mostly ran laps on Robin's and Skyline. There were also narrow groomed paths from the Fire road down Toilet Bowl to Robin's and down Tortilla Flats from Skyline to lower Emile's. Groomers remained good all day due to low skier traffic, likely better than at the busier SoCal areas.

My last ungroomed run was Goldridge. It skied easier than Emile's due to a more defined skier packed path, but still had hard firm and slightly irregular snow.

I skied 17,300 vertical. We all rode chair 1 down based upon those morning views and my suspicion that some of the frozen snow may not have softened.
IMG_5359.JPG

We did see a couple of people ski down, and it appeared that the snow had softened enough that we would have done OK. But the lower terrain days are numbered if it doesn't snow again soon.

Thunder's coverage is still good. But until it snows again, if you want to ski off the groomed, pick as warm a day as possible.
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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: Mt. Baldy, Jan. 7, 2020

Postby jojo_obrien » Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:27 am

well.......it certainly ain't Alta, that's for sure.

good to hear Liz got to ski chair 4 although ......man i've had some epic days on chair 4. hope she will have the opportunity to ski it with some nice powder some day.

i flew out of LAX yesterday and couldn't believe the visibility. it was incredible -- as witnessed from your pic w/ Catalina clearly visible.

i'm always surprised at how hammered it can look going up lift 1 and yet thunder can have quite ample coverage to ski -- which is always better than not skiing!

cheers Tony Happy NY
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Re: Mt. Baldy, Jan. 7, 2020

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:28 pm

Garry returned to Baldy today, reported favorably. It was colder, high 20's so no further loss of snowpack. He says Robin's and Skyline are still in great shape.

jojo_obrien wrote:I'm always surprised at how hammered it can look going up lift 1 and yet thunder can have quite ample coverage to ski

Thunder has good exposure while much of chair 1 doesn't. That magnifies the difference based upon altitude alone. The base of Mt. High East is about the same elevation as Baldy's chair 1 base but it's north facing and mostly shaded this time of year so holding up much better.

And chair 4 is Thunder's altitude with terrible exposure. It will be unskiable within 2 weeks if it doesn't snow again IMHO. Thunder should have a couple of months left even with average SoCal weather.
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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Re: Mt. Baldy, Jan. 7, 2020

Postby egieszl » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:49 am

It's always a pleasure to read a Mt. Baldy ski resort. The information they share about conditions on their website is very suspect. They don't even have a trail map to view.
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, Jan. 7, 2020

Postby jojo_obrien » Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:13 pm

agreed on everyone's points above. baldy has always exaggerated. great little hill but they information has ALWAYS been suspect. i wish i knew the real deal on the financials of that place. it surprises me it hasn't gone underwater like Waterman .........but then again private interest money is always a mystery .....you never know where people with big money acquire their big money..........
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Re: Mt. Baldy, Jan. 7, 2020

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:29 pm

I'm sure Baldy makes much more from scenic riders to the Notch than they do from winter activities. I think they have live bands at the Notch on summer weekends.

Even in winter that tubing park must pay off some. It's sort of a nuisance for skiers as it blocks the gravity route from chair 4 to Thunder. I now take my last chair 4 run on Rollercoaster and traverse above the end of the tubing park.

Waterman falls far short of Baldy in revenue potential both summer and winter. It has to be 100% a labor of love for the Metcalf family. We are now 3 weekends past the big snowstorm and Waterman is still not open due to "equipment problems." And of course during those 3 weeks the usual SoCal weather has returned and only groomers are worth skiing. So Waterman won't be worth visiting if it finally opens next weekend.

It is interesting to see Baldy worth visiting as a groomer hill. There aren't that many groomed runs but they are high quality and the snowcats they upgraded during the Tom Treaccar era a decade ago are still doing a good job of maintaining them.
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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Re: Mt. Baldy, Jan. 7, 2020

Postby EMSC » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:03 pm

egieszl wrote:It's always a pleasure to read a Mt. Baldy ski resort. The information they share about conditions on their website is very suspect. They don't even have a trail map to view.


Since I'd never seen a Trail Map of Baldy, just TR's by Tony and others, I went a looked. They do have a 2020 map posted. My favorites are the "Extreme Danger Zone" markings.

Path was Baldy Main Page>Skiing & Snowbaording "More Info" link>2020 Trail Map link

https://winter.mtbaldyresort.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Mt-Baldy-Resort-Trail-Map-2020-002.pdf

The map gives a good perspective on how the lifts & terrain pods fit together and also helps me understand where a few of the off piste runs that Tony names are in relation to the overall resort.
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Re: Mt. Baldy, Jan. 7, 2020

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:53 pm

MtBaldy2006map.jpg

The above map is painted in large scale on the outside wall as you enter the Notch restaurant. The Stockton Flats expansion on the wall map is labelled "1991." I skied that on May 31, 1998

EMSC's map reference is quite good for showing some of the slackcountry topography. You can see Eric's below Turkey Shoot and left of Holcumac on that map, draining via Manker Cutoff to the back of the parking lot. Pics of jojo_obrien on Eric's, Feb. 28, 2010

Rarer skiing is below South Bowl/Comeback Trail on the right side of the map. This drains to Butch Canyon ending about 1/4 mile down from the parking lot. I've only been out there 3x, no pics.

The EDZ signs on that map are chronically rocky areas. Clementine had unusually good coverage on Dec. 27. It was also one of the few areas with good powder until the sun baked it around 2PM.
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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Re: Mt. Baldy, Jan. 7, 2020

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:45 pm

Garry reports chair 4 closed now, groomers on Thunder still good.
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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Re: Mt. Baldy, Jan. 7, 2020

Postby jamesdeluxe » Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:36 am

Tony Crocker wrote:The Stockton Flats expansion on the wall map is labelled "1991." I skied that on May 31, 1998.

Why were so many chairs penciled in for the eventual Stockton Flats sector? Looks like five or six?
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Re: Mt. Baldy, Jan. 7, 2020

Postby EMSC » Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:59 am

The whole Stockton Flats thing is very deceptive on that map:

Based on the elevations listed it would be 2,200 vertical feet?
Is there even snow down that low very often?
Would they have to run Chair 4 as both Upload and Download most of the time given that pod's bad snow reliability?
Talk about pie in the sky plans. They would need D Quads for 1 and 4 and at least the one on the backside listed, etc.... to justify the numbers needed to be able to do that at all. Gee that's only about $20M for those 3 lifts alone. And with all that parking that they don't really have tucked in that canyon...

Etc... That said, wish them well to at least keep running and hopefully upgrade something at some point (eg Chair 1 or better snowmaking to compete with Big Bear or... something). Seems like a pretty unique place with great terrain for when So Cal does get good snow.
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Re: Mt. Baldy, Jan. 7, 2020

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:47 pm

Stockton Flats is north facing. The base at 6,400 is not that different from the current base of chair 1 at 6,500 which has much worse exposure. The road in there (now dirt, would need to be paved) up Lytle Creek is gradual and would be a much easier drive than the 3 miles of hairpins above Mt. Baldy village. I agree chair 4 would need upgrading for upload/download capability unless another chair was built from the Stockton base to the Notch.

Yes it's pie in the sky and I don't think it's happening. It seems clear to me that the Notch (scenic rides, restaurant, summer intertainment) is the ongoing revenue source for Mt. Baldy and skiing is a sidelight. Supposedly the 2004-05 season when Garry skied 86 days there had only 50,000 skier visits.

Upgrading snowmaking enough to compete with Big Bear is not happening because there is no comparable water source.

Last night's storm was a big 2 inches. We are in the same pattern of mediocrity as in 2017 and 2019. The natural snow terrain barely got covered, the bad exposures are largely melted out and remaining ungroomed terrain is icy/crusty after the warm weather over New Year's even though it's been relative cool the past two weeks. At least it didn't rain as in 2017 and 2019 but the December 25-26 storm was not as much snow as in January 2017 or February 2019 either.

I'm paying a bit more attention to the local situation now because any skiing I get in the next 3 weeks is likely to be here in SoCal. Without a significant new storm we will soon be in the usual situation of the past decade where only Big Bear is worthwhile.

Arizona and New Mexico have not seen much snow since New Year's either. But all the ski areas in those states have base elevations over 9,000 feet so nearly all the snow they got in November/December is still there. However, Taos' Kachina Peak lift is not open yet.
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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Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10636
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Location: Glendale, California


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