Mammoth, June 13, 2009

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Mammoth, June 13, 2009

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:18 am

I think I had one of those eastern spring days I read about from time to time here.

Weather prediction was for the afternoon thunderstorm pattern that has been hitting the eastern Sierra many times over the past few weeks. So I figured similar to Memorial weekend, with a mostly warm and sunny morning. But it was not that way. There was heavy overcast, fog on the upper mountain so the top never opened, plus a prevailing west wind from Minaret Pass, as is common in winter. Good thing I brought my ski jacket and not just the thin windbreaker I wore Memorial weekend. I still needed to wear a ski hat and a sweater under the jacket. Fortunately with the heavy cloud cover the temps were in the 40's all night as well as the morning I was skiing. Thus no overnight freeze. There was some hardpack snow where the runs had been heavily salted, but nothing very icy. So the skiing fell short of well-timed ripe corn, but was still pretty good and never went into that super sticky phase because it never got warm or sunny enough.

Here's the view from Main Lodge about 8:15AM.
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Cover down here is a bit better than the July 4 closings in 2005 and 2006, but it would last maybe one more week at most. There were race teams from Sun Valley and Colorado but the racing was limited due to no overnight freeze. Skier's right on Broadway had gates set up, so skier's left was somewhat chewed up. Mammoth maintained a groomed strip on upper Mambo, branching back to the Main Lodge. The best lower runs were those normally used for racing: Far West, Fascination and Powder Bowl.

Typical view of the upper mountain while exiting Chair 1, so that's why it was closed.
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I eventually moved to Chair 3, which was a brisk ride up in the wind. Here's the groomed face of 3, with lots of suncups off the groomed.
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I alternated runs on the face with long runs off the back to Chair 1. These included Gremlin's/St. Anton and World Cup/Terry's. View from the back of 3.
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Once on the face of 3 I ventured over to the West Bowl zipper line, where as expected I was humbled after 3 turns or so. joegm may make strange decisions when/where to ski, but I have to respect his bump focus. It's far from easy! Here's a better skier in the zipper, bumps unfortunately don't show well in the heavy overcast.
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Here's the view from the top of 3, when the cloud threatened to envelop more ski terrain.
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This was as high as the cloud lifted, but not for long. You can see a nice skier-packed line down Monument, similar to what Patrick and I skied in July 2006.
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With the top closed, the steepest run available was Gravy Chute. Snow was excellent where skier packed, probably rather similar to some of the steeper spring lines the easterners have posted about. So I made 3 runs there, one for each of the 3 lower packed lines below this pic into Powder Bowl or Broadway.
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Here's the view down to Main Lodge from the top of Gravy Chute. Mambo strip visible at distance behind the closest lift tower.
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I quit at 11:25 with 19,900 vertical in order to make it over to Mono Lake for the 1PM ranger walk. I brought my dog Samantha on this trip. The unseasonably cool weather made a 2 mile walk there (Mono Lake is at only 6,390 feet) much more pleasant than it would usually be in June.

Sunday's weather was nicer, only partially cloudy so the top probably opened. But I had planned to take Samantha on the Rock Creek hike I had first tried 3 weeks ago. I'm probably one of the very few who skied Saturday and not Sunday this weekend.

I'll post a separate report with pics from the hikes.
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Tony Crocker
 
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