Mammoth, May 14-16, 2017

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Mammoth, May 14-16, 2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun May 14, 2017 9:47 pm

It was completely sunny though breezy until 11AM. Clouds gradually increased and though there was no precipitation it was mostly overcast from 1PM onwards. Weekend operation in addition the usual lifts in the Main Lodge region included chairs 5, 10 and 12-14. The weather did not impede lift operations, but temps up top never got out of the 20's so everything above 10,000 remained frozen.

We were at Chair 2 at 8:30AM opening. Today was the last day of normal 8:30AM - 4PM operation. Starting tomorrow it will be 7:30AM - 3PM, but in current weather there's no reason to be there before 9AM. The chair 2 runs softened about 9:30 and were best until 11AM. Here's a lady skiing with her dog at the base of chair 2.
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We stuck with 2 well past 10AM except for a couple runs on Powder Bowl with similar NE aspect.

Face of 3 and Cornice were well groomed, on the firm side of ideal but still good skiing around 11AM. With the afternoon overcast they never got softer. Broadway Main Lodge runs were similar at 11AM but softened to good corn before noon. The race course runs were opened to the public about noon, so we hit Ralphie's before lunch and then Fascination from Cornice after lunch. You can still walk on to the third floor sundeck at Main Lodge, though that snowpack looks 2-3 feet lower than on our last visit April 21.
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At 1:30 I used Climax as the test case for the top as it gets sun all morning in May. It sucked big time, a total coral reef, so I bailed into Saddle Bowl, then took 3 and Coyote to 5. The face of 5 was just then softening around 2PM, so Liz and I had a good runs on Face of 5 and Sliver there, though I took a header there skiing a bit too aggressively. We left 5 and skied the other race course run, Andy's Double Gold, to the gondola.

As it might be the last day for chair 14, we went back up the gondola and off the backside. As on the front side snow remained frozen above ~10,000 feet. Snow below Roadrunner on 14 softened nicely for the late afternoon so we took a second lap back there.
IMG_0338.JPG

The Dos Pasos and No Pasos chutes we skied in February have burned off.

We left via chair 13 and I skied a couple of runs on 12. From 12 there is a direct view of Philippe's at center of this pic.
IMG_0339a.JPG

Snow will likely be too firm this trip but I should get a shot at that over Memorial weekend.

On the plus side, it never was warm enough in the afternoon for the snow to get sticky. There were clumps of soft snow on the busier runs though. I was not an overall busy day at all, but the conditions confined most people to the lower half of the open runs. Skiing mostly groomers due to the conditions from opening to nearly closing, I ended up with 33,700 vertical.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate more for Memorial Day weekend. It's supposed to warm up by this Thursday.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,393K in 2016-17
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Re: Mammoth, May 14, 2017

Postby RainbowJenny » Mon May 15, 2017 7:45 am

Skied Phillipe's for the first time early May. A unfriendly-looking runnel got the best of me despite following a friend who skied it perfectly in borrowed Stockli Stormrider 78. Just an honor to have been there to watch him.

Thanks for the report.
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Re: Mammoth, May 14-16, 2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed May 17, 2017 12:21 am

We knew weather was predicted unsettled Monday/Tuesday with maybe 1-3 inches snow during the day Monday. So we were not in a hurry to get out early Monday, especially since it was snowing in town 8-9AM. We got on the hill about 10:15 to clouds above 10,500 (thus the top was closed) but no wind. I suspected with overnight cloudiness that it might not freeze as hard. Snow below 10,000 that had softened Sunday seemed not to have refrozen at all. We alternated groomers between chairs 1 and 2 for about an hour and a half.

At 11:45 Liz took a short break so I went up 3. While riding the lift the next snow squall started and I unloaded the lift in thick fog. I followed the green balls (like on Euro trails) into Saddle Bowl, which was mostly resurfaced with the new snow. I got under the fog and found more of the same on Gremlin’s and St. Anton. I rejoined Liz at Main and by the time we got to top of 1 the fog was 1,000 feet lower. We skied Powder Bowl/Ralphie’s and had lunch at Main Lodge.

The squall let up by 1PM so we headed back out and up chair 3 during a partly sunny break.
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We skied face of 3, then noticed people traversing from back of 3 out into the fresh looking snow below Cornice and the Drop Outs. We gave that a try but the subsurface was too frozen and irregular for barely an inch of new snow, so we bailed into St. Anton. We now knew to concentrate on groomed areas that had had new snow but had not been skied when then visibility was poor. Skier’s right of Gremlin’s, then under chair 23 was wide open with no tracks. First time we continued down the right side of lower St. Anton. The next time past 23 we went off trail right toward Terry’s. Since the subsurface was smooth there, I continued through the stunted trees down to St. Anton. Looking back up from there:
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At 2:45 we loaded 3 for the last time (closing is now 3PM) and arrived at the top as this cloud bank was moving in.
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For our last run I wanted to test the chair 5 terrain, so from the back of 3 we skied straight into that fog. We traversed past the lift, planning to hit the strip that had been groomed Sunday. Still in the fog, we saw some trees and skied beside them on skier’s right of Sanctuary. This chair 5 terrain by this time had no hard subsurface and probably skied great most of the afternoon.

I finished with 19,500 vertical. There was another snow squall while we were in the hot tub and one more while we were at dinner.
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This view toward the Sherwins is from the Brasserie on the second floor above Mammoth Rock ‘n Bowl. This is one of Mammoth’s gourmet secrets in an obscure location, with the chef who formerly worked at Tamarack Lodge.

On Tuesday the snow squalls were done, but it was still overcast and the wind was back, slightly stronger than Sunday in the morning but the upper lifts were all open. Few people were up top because the snow remained solidly frozen. There was more of an overnight freeze than Monday though not quite as firm as on Sunday based on our first run on Stump Alley at 9AM. We moved next to Broadway, which was much better as the new snow was mixed in to the grooming where as it had mostly blown off the windier Stump Alley. We tested Cornice, which varied between soft turns on new snow and blown off parts well frozen.

We remained on Chair 1 for the next two hours, skiing many variations off the back where there was decent deposition of the 2+ inches new snow. The only mistake with a nasty coral reef subsurface was the area between Wall and Powder Bowl that had been excellent in April. The race course runs were excellent. Only Fascination was roped off, and when they took down the gates ~11AM we got a couple runs of fresh tracks there. The other runs were on Terry’s, Agee’s and Blue Ox and the nearby trees. Here’s Liz on Blue Ox.
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At 11:30 we moved to chair 3. Its broad groomed face skied well, and the lower pitch near the chair had a fair amount of blown-in snow. Chair 3 had a stiff and increasing wind, and when we boarded it for the 3rd time just past noon we were informed it would close soon. That ride had to run at slow speed at in a steady 40mph wind, increasing to 60 near the top.

As on Monday I wanted to take this last shot at checking out the chair 5 terrain. And as on Monday the visibility from the saddle below Climax across the top of Dry Creek was terrible, this time with the gusty winds thrown in. This time when we got past the lift we were below the fog. We skied down the middle of Sanctuary this time because that’s where we saw the most blown-in snow.
IMG_0361.JPG


As on Monday 5 had good skiing, but we weren’t getting back there with the now shut upper lifts. We went into the Mill for a needed thaw break. At 1PM we took chair 2 up and skied Andy’s Double Gold. Arriving at Main Lodge, we now saw chairs 1, 6 and the gondola shut by the wind, so we had to take the parking shuttle to our car at chair 2. So we left at 1:30 to drive home. I skied 16,900 vertical.

Note to Patrick: with today's skiing, I have now skied every date on the calendar from Dec. 26 - June 1.

The early departure allowed us to spend an hour at Manzanar before it closes at 4:30PM. The National Park Service exhibits are gradually expanding, so it’s a worthwhile stop on spring trips when you leave Mammoth early enough.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,393K in 2016-17
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Re: Mammoth, May 14-16, 2017

Postby Patrick » Thu May 18, 2017 2:27 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Note to Patrick: with today's skiing, I have now skied every date on the calendar from Dec. 26 - June 1.


Nice. My skied everyday calendar is from Nov 20 - May 25...

May 26 is next Friday and maybe K will still be open, however my passport expires on May 23.
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Re: Mammoth, May 14-16, 2017

Postby EMSC » Thu May 18, 2017 3:07 pm

Patrick wrote:May 26 is next Friday and maybe K will still be open, however my passport expires on May 23.



:-k How does someone who travels across borders so much allow that to happen?
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Re: Mammoth, May 14-16, 2017

Postby Patrick » Thu May 18, 2017 4:07 pm

EMSC wrote:
Patrick wrote:May 26 is next Friday and maybe K will still be open, however my passport expires on May 23.



:-k How does someone who travels across borders so much allow that to happen?


By trying to time it right. \:D/
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Re: Mammoth, May 14-16, 2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu May 18, 2017 9:51 pm

Patrick wrote:By trying to time it right.

Some countries want your passport to have 3 or 6 months left before expiry to let you in. Thus SOME people on this forum renewed a passport expiring mid-2017 before heading to the Alps last January. :stir:

Presumably Patrick will have that new passport within a month.
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: 1,393K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Mammoth, May 14-16, 2017

Postby Patrick » Thu May 18, 2017 10:24 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
Patrick wrote:By trying to time it right.

Some countries want your passport to have 3 or 6 months left before expiry to let you in. Thus SOME people on this forum renewed a passport expiring mid-2017 before heading to the Alps last January. :stir:


The problem is, especially in ski season, I never know when I'll have to cross the border. I know I won't cross this weekend.

Tony Crocker wrote:Presumably Patrick will have that new passport within a month.


Hoping to get it in time if Kmart opens for June turns, maybe sooner.
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