An FTO Posse at Mt. Waterman(?), Feb. 14, 2009

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An FTO Posse at Mt. Waterman(?), Feb. 14, 2009

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:28 am

I made it to Waterman around the 9AM opening, and socal pulled into the parking space next to mine. We met baldyskier not too long thereafter, and added Ben Solish ~11AM. By the time we booted up, went through a modest but slow ticket line and chair 1 we were skiing by 9:30.
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Chair 1 is not quite MRG, but its single predecessor was one of only 3 chairlifts in California before World War II.

The main face runs Robin's (formerly #3) and Bros Alley (formerly #1) were fairly well tracked, but Jack's (formerly #2 1/2) only lightly, so we made our first run there with powder turns all the way

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socal in Jack's

From then on we were in the trees. Skier's left of Robin's was excellent. Nearer the chairline terrain is more irregular with fallen logs, gullies, etc. This is a reminder that since the face of Waterman is steep and fairly rough the current 50-inch reported base is about the minimum if you want to wander around off the trails. Ben got some good powder skier's left of Bros Alley before we met him, but by 11AM the remaining open lines funneled into a tracked-up gully. Skier's right of Robin's was a different story. First run was very lightly tracked down to a traverse line back to the lift. The next 2 runs before lunch, led by baldyskier we pushed farther right and scored untracked all the way to the road. Why? Because of a modest 5 minute walk along the road to get back to the lift. Pics below of these runs:
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socal in the untracked. No pics of baldyskier and Ben in action as they are half my age and nearly always ahead of me. They may post some better pics later.

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More light tracks

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baldyskier and Ben at the road with our tracks and socal above

After lunch it was time for me to show this crew Mt. Waterman's piece de resistance, the 1,400 vertical out of bounds runs down to the highway 1+ mile below the ski area.
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Overview of this area viewed from the road just short of the parking lot.

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Ready to drop into Avalanche. Sufficiently untracked even for icelantic. Waterman is to Baldy what Solitude is to AltaBird, for those who put a premium on elbow room.

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Bottom of Avalanche. The place we started skiing is where the thickest cloud in this picture is rolling in.

baldyskier and Ben left after this run ~3:15 but socal and I went back for one more.
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Top of second run into Avalanche, skier's left of the bowl and a quicker traverse/step-up from the top of chair 2. The fall lines are better on the other side where we had our first run

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Nice steep tree lines back here. One of my guest Baldy skiers called it "South Bowl on steroids."

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socal in one of the upper gullies. In general you want to make periodic traverses to delay ending up the bottom of the main gully too early.

Many thanks to CWHappyRN for the road pickups. In the old days I was often out there by myself and would take my chances on thumbing back to the ski area, but that could take a long time with a bigger group, especially since Mt. Waterman is way more under the radar now.

We had dinner at Newcomb Ranch and ran into one of the Metcalf owners at the bar. The current owners have other full-time jobs and really can't be on the scene midweek. I told him I thought the midweek closing was smart anyway, not only to save money when few people would be there but to attract powderhounds on Fridays and Saturdays. He was rather disappointed that they had only 250 people today after having 150 during the storm yesterday.

I also asked why Mt. Waterman was not at SkiDazzle. He said having their own booth would cost $8,500 so they had arranged to have a small slot in Sport Chalet's booth. But then Sport Chalet decided to pull out of the show at the last minute. I have noted that SkiDazzle seems noticeably smaller than the ski shows of 20-30 years ago.
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Re: An FTO Posse at Mt. Waterman(?), Feb. 14, 2009

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:24 am

I really like the looks of Waterman and Baldy. Purdy.

I have noted that SkiDazzle seems noticeably smaller than the ski shows of 20-30 years ago.

A few days ago, Roger Laroche from Carnet du Ski mentioned that the recent National Snow Industries Association show at Montreal was likewise less attended by manufacturers:
http://www.carnetduski.com/nouvelle.php?N=311
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Re: An FTO Posse at Mt. Waterman(?), Feb. 14, 2009

Postby jojo_obrien » Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:47 am

WOW. i'd love to get up here and ski with you tony. looks like you really know the mountain. thanks for the report........it was torture for us guys who had to stay home and "cuddle" all day..................... ](*,)
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Re: An FTO Posse at Mt. Waterman(?), Feb. 14, 2009

Postby baldyskier » Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:53 am

Tony- nice TR. One correction. You have Socal and me switched- I (Roy aka Baldyskier) was the one parking next to you in the lot and skiing the last (extra) run. Socal was the guy on the Volkl Gotama's leading the way at times. Other than that, great TR, as usual. Thanks for showing us around Waterman!
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Re: An FTO Posse at Mt. Waterman(?), Feb. 14, 2009

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:28 am

One correction. You have Socal and me switched
:oops:
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Re: An FTO Posse at Mt. Waterman(?), Feb. 14, 2009

Postby socal » Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:29 am

Tony Crocker wrote:
One correction. You have Socal and me switched
:oops:


No problem...

I got to the lot around 8:30 and was on the hill just before 9. I rode up with a guy named "Chuck" (I think), he said he was part of the original ownership group. This guy could ski and knew his way around. We did 3 runs (2 out of bounds with short 5-7 minute walks back) and I found Tony and Baldyskier at the bottom of the 3rd. I'll just add some pictures as Tony summed the day up pretty well.

This was the area that I lapped with the FTO crew a few times. This was my first run down with Chuck.
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And skipping right to the end of the day, here was our last run:

I'd say it was untracked
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Ben:
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Baldy Skier:
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Ben and I found a really steep (but short) little chute; unfortunately all the snow sluffed off by my 2nd turn, oh and it led us to the main drainage that Tony talked about trying to avoid. Still fun, but not great (Ben, thanks for taking these shots of me):

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Here's a view from the bottom. I believe we skied from the top of that ridge:
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Closer look at the terrrain:
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I have a birthday party to go to tonight, so an early start for Baldy on Monday isn't looking good. I'm thinking about just seeing what the situation looks like around 11am and if the road is open heading up for a 1/2 day. I hope the advisory level winds and 1-3 feet of snowfall will keep most of the snow players and the less devoted away.
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Re: An FTO Posse at Mt. Waterman(?), Feb. 14, 2009

Postby bludbut » Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:32 am

I was up there too with my buddy Chunder on Saturday. This was one of the best days I have ever had skiing in the San Gabriels. The further you got away from the main runs the deeper and smoother and better it got. Boot top to mid shin light dry pow all day long with very few people to contend with. I give the whole experience a 9 out of 10. The only negative things I can think of were, Coors Lite is the only beer they sell at the waring hut and the traffic jam on the way down due to a head on collision. We had to wait for an hour 1/2 to get by the wreck.
All in all epic So cal skiing!

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Re: An FTO Posse at Mt. Waterman(?), Feb. 14, 2009

Postby Admin » Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:41 am

Nice shots!
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Re: An FTO Posse at Mt. Waterman(?), Feb. 14, 2009

Postby ski-the-face » Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:40 pm

nice TRs, pretty much sums up the day :D
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Re: An FTO Posse at Mt. Waterman(?), Feb. 14, 2009

Postby ski-the-face » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:44 pm

anybody go to baldy, im curious on what it was like
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Re: An FTO Posse at Mt. Waterman(?), Feb. 14, 2009

Postby bludbut » Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:39 pm

ski-the-face wrote:anybody go to baldy, im curious on what it was like


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Re: An FTO Posse at Mt. Waterman(?), Feb. 14, 2009

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:43 pm

ski-the-face wrote:anybody go to baldy, im curious on what it was like


Garry Klassen did ski Baldy and reported generally the same high quality snow we had. However Thunder opened at 10AM and chair 4 at 1PM due to the usual ice-on-the-cables issues. Garry and his friend Greg climbed partway up Telegraph peak and skied ~3,500 vertical into Icehouse canyon in the mid-afternoon.
I put this in the SoCal weekend thread, repeated here for convenience.

looks like you really know the mountain.

Yes and no. I would caution all that it's very difficult to navigate those runs that end 1+ mile below the ski area base. Back in Mt. Waterman's 1970's and 1980's heyday there were rescues out the West San Gabriel River Canyon nearly every good season. So during El Nino 1998 the sheriffs started citing skiers who showed up at the bottom of Avalanche with Mt. Waterman lift tickets. Perhaps part of why my last day there was in 1995.

I first followed ski patrol out there on April 23, 1983. The snow on the face was cruddy, but the OB canyons had pristine corn so I skied 5 runs out there. But then there was Feb. 17, 1992:
11AM corn run: missed Winston, skied 2,000 vertical into San Gabriel River canyon, 2.5 hour hike up to ridge over Angeles Crest 4 miles below ski area.
#-o

Even on Saturday our last run was down to the road, but not in the drainage I expected.
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Re: An FTO Posse at Mt. Waterman(?), Feb. 14, 2009

Postby baldyskier » Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:16 am

Here is a link to my pictures. They should be self-explanatory, given the above posts and pictures.
http://picasaweb.google.com/Baldyskier/02142009MtWaterman?locked=true&feat=email#
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Re: An FTO Posse at Mt. Waterman(?), Feb. 14, 2009

Postby Mike Bernstein » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:04 pm

As an imminent emigrant to the Los Angeles area from New York, this TR fills me with mirth and joy. Your stuff is always educational, Tony. I'm counting on Waterman, Baldy and to a lesser extent Mtn High to get me a fix when the drive to Mammoth isn't feasible for whatever reason. How long and/or hairy is the drive to each from ,say, Studio City? To what extent, if any, is there avi danger in the Waterman slackcountry? I ask b/c of the unfortunate news last year from the basin between Mtn High East and West. What preparations do you routinely take, if any? Is Avalanche the basin heading towards the NE or NW? It seems like there is a tremendous amount of terrain accessible via a short traverse or boot pack depending upon your appetite to walk or thumb back to the base.
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Re: An FTO Posse at Mt. Waterman(?), Feb. 14, 2009

Postby bludbut » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:55 am

Mike Bernstein wrote:As an imminent emigrant to the Los Angeles area from New York, this TR fills me with mirth and joy. Your stuff is always educational, Tony. I'm counting on Waterman, Baldy and to a lesser extent Mtn High to get me a fix when the drive to Mammoth isn't feasible for whatever reason. How long and/or hairy is the drive to each from ,say, Studio City? To what extent, if any, is there avi danger in the Waterman slackcountry? I ask b/c of the unfortunate news last year from the basin between Mtn High East and West. What preparations do you routinely take, if any? Is Avalanche the basin heading towards the NE or NW? It seems like there is a tremendous amount of terrain accessible via a short traverse or boot pack depending upon your appetite to walk or thumb back to the base.


I'll chime in.
From Studio city you are really close, probably 20 mins to the bottom of hwy 2 for Waterman. Probably 45 minutes to the bottom of Baldy. Either drive up can be sketchy, It just depends. There are a lot of snow players and alike that can really slow down the drive up and down both routes.The earlier you get up to either the better. There can be avi danger as you already know from the Mt high incident. The San Gabriels can get a serious frozen ice layer after a long period of warm weather. Then it dumps and well, you know what can happen. I have been up Baden Powell and experienced these conditions and had traverse down very carefully. Lesson learned big time. Avalanche is Nw facing I believe? Good luck with your imminent emigration.
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