Mammoth, 11/22/07

Tony Crocker

Staff member
I was persuaded to spend the weekend at Tahoe. Since we drive by Mammoth on the way and have MVP's, Adam and I stopped to make a few turns.

Broadway has been open since November 9, and its upper section was WROD skiing with occasional frozen granular patches from excess skier traffic. And right where it widened out to allow more room 3 snowboarders decided to sit down in the middle of the run and do whatever it is they like to do rather than keep moving on the snow.

The good news was that after a couple of days of nonstop snowmaking Mammoth opened Saddle Bowl off the back of chair 3 for Thanksgiving. Since it was the first day, conditions were nice there (and inexplicably less congested) so we took 9 runs on Saddle Bowl.

When we headed down to Main Lodge ~1PM Broadway had improved in terms of both surface and congestion. 12,100 in ~2 1/2 hours. Cars were parked solidly about 2/3 of the way down to Chair 2. Not quite as many people as 4th of July in the big years. I'm sure you all know which skiing I find preferable.

Pictures later. I took a lot because I've never been at Mammoth under these conditions before.
Tony Crocker":9bk6injp said:
I was persuaded to spend the weekend at Tahoe.

Why? Obviously it's not for snow reasons. :(

I have NEVER had a good Tahoe early season.

But always amazing views, super clear waters and well-preserved since the's a good place.








How much snowmaking does Mammoth have? I've never seen an overview map. Does it extend to the Canyon Lodge?

Interesting to see how rocky some of the terrain truly is and makes one appreciative of usually deep snowpack.
My understanding is that the snowmaking at Mammoth is portable. So they do take it up to Solitude on chair 5 and the Cornice up top, and definitely to Canyon and Eagle Lodges. Mid-winter Mammoth has an ideal snowmaking climate like Summit County in Colorado with high altitude and low humidity.

Mammoth claims 700 acres of snowmaking coverage. That would be 20% of terrain, sounds conservative to me given the portability. Last January pretty much all of the lower mountain groomers were in good shape, and about 2,000 acres were skiable overall. They had about 60 inches natural snowfall by then. Maybe if the 700 acres includes all the high traffic and some wind exposed spots, they can operate 1,500+ acres by January with 3-4 feet natural snow.

In mid-December 2005 I was there with 53 inches season-to-date natural and probably 2,500 acres were skiable. But the wind deposition helped coverage then vs. hurting it last season. The upper cover now is due to only 6 inches new back on November 11. So I would say the wind helped with that one.
Mammoth has miles of under ground pipes bringing both water and air to several thousand man holes all over the hill. The lucky crews get to crawl into each hole to hook up water and air.

Mammoths Snowmaking guns are towed by Snowmos and the cannons are mounted on the Cats.

These are the guns they move around...


The Snow Cannons

Fun huh?


These guns stay attached to the manholes until the job is done!


Heck we even have video of all this stuff:

Since Tony left they have drained about 1/3 third of the pond by mc coy things are changing fast. Now we need a 10 foot dumper for Christmas...
Tony Crocker":24p0k5lr said:
And right where it widened out to allow more room 3 snowboarders decided to sit down in the middle of the run and do whatever it is they like to do rather than keep moving on the snow.
Oh, brother!

A sitting snowboarder is doing what a standing skier would be doing. Maybe catching their breath. Maybe waiting for their children instead of ditching them.

Do you get the idea? What's wrong with you? I mean, I see messages where you seem to presume to speak for snowboarders. Yet you don't understand something as simple as waiting for the rest of the group or something.
That is a substantial snowmaking investment by Mammoth.

Looks almost as impressive as Heavenly's system. Northstar is not bad. The rest of Tahoe is really average for % overall coverage by man-made.
Judging from conditions mid-January last year, I think Mammoth did a good job with snowmaking. Hopefully I should know, since I've observed the progression of Snow Summit's world class system over the past 30 years.

Broadway was the typical WROD situation where it's very difficult to hold up under the pressure of so much traffic over limited terrain. That's why I was frustrated by the 3 snowboarders parking themselves crosswise in the middle rather than off to the side of a run that was already much narrower than normal. Yes, I've seen skiers stop in inappropriate locations too.

Question for Snowman: If 1/3 of the reservoir has been drained, is there a water source to replenish it? Or will snowmaking have to stop in a couple of weeks if it stays dry?
As a courtesy I wait in the middle, cuz the best snow is always on one or the other "side". Check out your avatar. You'll see.
Mammoth can feed the snowmaking system right from their ground water pump system. Runs from 15 to main lodge can all get a 18-24 inch base and be maintained all season long.

As for snow summit they are the snowmaking kings... snowman has well over 100 days on those slopes from the 80s. I was there the day after they blew what must have been the world record from snow... 87 or 88. it was like skiing on one gray wales that had been covered in snow over night. Sick.

Mammoths has a great system, but the main lodge area suffers from a killer inversion. That makes things hard when you need snowmaking the most in late October and November.

Snowman out...
ShiftyRider":12e6vzg9 said:
As a courtesy I wait in the middle, cuz the best snow is always on one or the other "side". Check out your avatar. You'll see.

I ripped the sides of Mammoths 3 Groomers, for 4 hours today! :)

Tony, we still haven't made our first trip to Mammoth. You were in the right place at the right time with Chair 3 opening up!

Snowman, the pics of the snowmakers on Cornice is awesome scary. I wouldn't want to be doing that.

Look for us next Tues. and Weds. (probably not skiing the Cornice Ice Bowl!!!)
Finally, the snow has decided to come back to Mammoth. This is supposed to go through saturday and be the first in a series of storms that will bring substantial snowfall. I almost forgot what it felt like to wake up to snowy nice. :D
This storm (expected ~2 feet) will be over essentially bare ground but will establish a base. It will take one more like that to open up much off trail skiing.