Mammoth, April 8-10, 2006

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Mammoth, April 8-10, 2006

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:10 pm

Winter is still going strong at Mammoth. Saturday was mostly clear but windy all over the mountain. There must have been a warm day last week, as the Canyon/Eagle side of the mountain was hardpack all morning with even some frozen granular is exposed spots. But the 2/3 of terrain that faces north was all packed powder and windbuff/wind sift. Only chair 14 was closed, as that was the direction from which the strong wind was blowing, along with a few afternoon clouds.

What's noteworthy is the immense coverage, definitely more than last year and possibly rivaling 1983 and 1995. I'll let the pics tell that story. So I went out of my way Saturday to ski some of the places that are sketchy or not open most years: Huevos Grande, Rockgarden, Varmint's Nest, Paranoid 4 and a couple of variations in the chair 22 Avalanche Chutes. We got a late start as it was Andrew's first day this season and he needed some boot work at Footloose, but still managed 24,600.

That night John Nash and family arrived in town from Virginia via Las Vegas and Death Valley. So Sunday we all went out for a tour. Sunday had "normal" Mammoth wind, mainly in exposed areas, but was mostly overcast and then started snowing about 3PM. So I knew to avoid Canyon/Eagle and we warmed up on the winter snow of chairs 1, 2 and 3.

After lunch Andrew stayed with Sarah and Scott on the lower mountain while I gave John a sample of the top. First we headed for the normally groomed Cornice. It has snowed so much the last month that it has not been groomed and the lip formed which was characteristic of the run before 1982. I told John he was experiencing what was the rite of passage of my generation of SoCal skiers in the 1970's, and he had exactly the same result as I did in 1978, losing his balance on the drop in and rolling 50 feet down the hill. He skied the rest of the run OK so we went back up the gondola and out to Dave's Run, which I have always viewed as the ideal spot to learn steep skiing. On its far side there is a diagonal cornice, and it's progressively steeper the earlier you choose to drop in. John liked that and also chair 5 where we next skied. Then he got his real thrill, riding chair 23 and skiing down to Scotty's in the wind blast. We then joined Andrew, Sarah and Scott for a few runs until the storm hit. During some breaks I managed to get a couple of runs on chair 22 plus one on Hangman's and finished with 25,000.

Monday the top was never open due to fog and intermittent snow. There was reported 2 inches new, which varied from dust on crust to some actual powder in a few places. The new snow did resurface the Canyon/Eagle groomers, which pleased the Nash family who normally have to deal with mid-Atlantic manmade. I skied 2 Braille runs on chair 5, trying to link tree outcroppings. Chair 22 had the only steep terrain open, so I did 4 runs there, with Avalanche 2 having the best snow. Total 19,500.

These were days 27-29 for me, and season vertical is now 580K. These won't come close to last year's totals, but the 177K of powder this year is a record, and less than half of that was the week at Mike Wiegele.

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Here's Andrew by the Main Lodge. Note the snow piled up against the railing of the 3rd floor sundeck.
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Overview of upper mountain from Dave's to the rocks above Climax.
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This is the best coverage I've ever seen in Hangman's, Varmint's Nest and MJB.
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Looking down Rockgarden, with the huge buildup of snow at right on Dave's Run.
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Looking down Star Chute.
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Looking down Balls-to-the-Wall, which I have only skied once, on the epic powder day 7 years ago. This time I moved on to Huevos.
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The entire Christmas bowl area above the sulfur vent was roped off and guarded while the accident investigation continues.
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Near dusk on Saturday the "Mammoth cloud" hangs over the mountain.
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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: Mammoth, April 8-10, 2006

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:15 pm

A few more pics.

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Attention Patrick! Here's John Nash riding chair 23 without a chicken bar or bungee cord.
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Later John had some difficulty loading chair 4.
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Footloose is one the country's premier bootfitters, and the wall is autographed by a few noteworthy skiers.
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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: re: Mammoth, April 8-10, 2006

Postby Patrick » Wed Apr 12, 2006 6:54 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Attention Patrick! Here's John Nash riding chair 23 without a chicken bar or bungee cord.

Ah, Chair 23. Classic chair and classic terrain under it. Great memories.

I can't believe how Hangman's looks. This is a totally different run without the hourglass with all this snow. Almost feel like going back for June again. (Just kidding, my wife would kill me). :wink:
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re: Mammoth, April 8-10, 2006

Postby ChrisC » Thu Apr 13, 2006 7:54 pm

That's Star Chute?! Isn't there usually a decent drop into the cute? Things are really filled in.
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re: Mammoth, April 8-10, 2006

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:04 am

As admin can tell you in the LCC resorts, sometimes there is not complete agreement about names. What I think is Star Chute is labelled in this pic from last May:

Image

About 50 feet below the entrance to Star Chute, Philippe's cuts diagonally from upper left to lower right throught the rocks, but is mostly hidden when viewed from this direction. I do not know the name of the chute used in the May 7 video, but it has mandatory air and/or straightline sections so I have never skied it.

The broad expanse of Paranoid faces northeast and usually has excellent snow and a sustained fall line of 35+ degrees for close to 1000 vertical. Star Chute starts to wrap around and face more directly east, so it usually has trickier snow conditions and thus I rarely ski it. But by staying skier's right (probably some of the small rocks in last year's pic are buried now) I was able to stay in good snow.
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: Mammoth, April 8-10, 2006

Postby ChrisC » Fri Apr 14, 2006 4:17 pm

So the last of the 'noids is Star Chute.

This website seems to indicate otherwise -- or refers to it as Star Chute/Kiwi Flat:
http://www.395.com/gomammoth/index.shtm ... ifts.shtml
(see top of mammoth mountain - the right side)

I'm not expert on this topic, just curious.
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re: Mammoth, April 8-10, 2006

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Apr 14, 2006 5:11 pm

You may be correct. In average years the Star Chute in your pic has rock bands and mandatory airs. What I called Star Chute your reference site calls Paranoid 4. http://www.395.com/gomammoth/index.shtml?skiing . This same page's description of "Balls" is the Balls-to-the-Wall in my picture from Saturday. When snow is deep you can ski down to the cliff drop, then traverse left and thread your way through some small rocks to avoid jumping the cliff. This alternate line, known as "Chicken Balls," is what I skied on April 9, 1999 in 50 inches of powder. Last Saturday with strong winds and no fresh snow I was too chicken even for that. I'll give it another look in May.

Hole-in-the-Wall is much easier than Balls or Star Chute. The toughest part is navigating through the out-of-bounds forest and finding it from above.
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
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10673
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California


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