Mammoth 4/21: It's getting thin, and 80K vert

Staley

New member
There are a lot of bare patches out there. Upper Solitude and the Face of 3 have dirt showing in the normally well-covered groomed sections. Even Broadway is looking brown. All of this is a major change from 2 days prior, showing just how fast the snow is melting.

I also skied about 80,000 feet of vertical yesterday. The Mammoth app actually messed up and shorted me since I was skiing directly onto the lift without stopping. It ended up stopping the tracking for the run partway up the lift (typically 200-250 feet), so I lost that amount on just about 40 of my 80 runs. Adding that amount to the 71,630 that the app tracked means I actually got to 80,000!

For anyone who really wants to go for it, I think the new Chair 5 at Mammoth on a weekday when Solitude is totally smooth (or there's enough snow to groom a path down the face) is where you'd have a good chance at hitting 100,000 if you tried. I was getting in 12 laps an hour there even with bumps, so I think you could safely stretch that to 13 if it's smooth, and then 13 * 1050 vert feet * 7.5 hours = 102,375, plus the start they start the lifts a little early and end them a little late.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Now I see why it's not easy to keep up with Staley. The 50K I did at Bachelor on April 7 (about half groomed) is about my limit, assuming it's not all groomers. How much of the 80K was groomers?

I would have assumed that this spring will hold up better at Mammoth than 2007. Season snow totals are similar, but in 2007 the big month was February and March was warm and dry. The upper part of 5 was windswept a week ago and I'm not surprised that it is losing cover. 5 might be done spinning for the season after today, though most of its terrain will be skiable via Dry Creek for awhile longer.
 

Staley

New member
Most of the 80K was on groomers. However, I skied Solitude much more than any other run, and even though it was a "groomer," the top half was pure bumps by 11. It did help that I was able to straightline the bottom 1/3 of the run, though.
 

egieszl

New member
13 laps an hour is totally unrealistic and maintaining 12 an hour over multiple hours is even questionable. Maintaining a 10-11 hourly average is more realistic.

13 laps is 41.5 minutes of lift riding time and that's assuming that there are absolutely no stops, slow downs and that the lift is running at 1,000 feet per minute.

That leaves 18.5 minutes for skiing which equates to about 1 minute, 25 seconds a lap. The lift is 3,160 feet in length and that's assuming you ski directly down under the ropes. 1.5 minute laps on a 3,160 foot lift is very challenging. Let me explain why-

Rarely is a ski area so uncrowded that you can ski 13 laps totally uninterrupted. Realistically, someone is going to get in your way at some point slowing you down. You're probably not going to ski every lap directly under the ropes and Solitude, for example, significantly increases the distance you must ski. You'd also be lucky to pull up to an empty lift 75% of the time and have absolutely no one waiting for a chair in front of you. Each chair you must wait for adds another 6 seconds. The same is true about a clear unloading area at the top of the lift. As mentioned above it's rare to have 13 consecutive rides with no stops or slow downs. If you vary your routes then terrain variations especially advanced, expert runs and bumps slow you down even more. Navigating the lift maze, even empty, adds seconds.

My point is you're going to spend realistically more than 1 minute, 25 seconds from the time you get off the lift to the time you get back on the lift. Realistically, it's going to be 2 to 2.5 minutes under the best conditions.

So basically you need to rent the area of the mountain for yourself to do 13 an hour.

I've been counting vertical while skiing for many years now and I can tell you with a lot of experience that maintaining a 10k an hour average is hauling ass. It's possible, but very difficult to maintain over the course of an entire ski day. 50k-60k is very realistic for someone in good shape, who doesn't mind skiing the same groomers over and over. 70k is an impressive number for a 7.5 hour day and what I consider to be really about the top end of what is realistic under normal ski area conditions.

100k is really impossible in 7.5 hours.

Your app said you rode 71,630 vertical feet (71,630 / 1,066). That equates to 67.195 rides on Chair 5. You said you did 80 runs. That's 13 additional lift rides that are not counted. Are you sure the app wasn't correct in it's calculation?

I think the best way to count vertical is to record the actual lifts you rode and how many times you ride each one. What lifts did you ride that day and how many times did you ride each one? I've yet to find an app that records correctly.
 

EMSC

Active member
egieszl":3daq4l81 said:
I think the best way to count vertical is to record the actual lifts you rode and how many times you ride each one. What lifts did you ride that day and how many times did you ride each one? I've yet to find an app that records correctly.

You haven't been to a Vail Inc resort in the past two seasons then. Every pass/ticket comes with a rfid chip embedded that records your lift rides and via the internet you can sign up to look at the data. Vail calls it Epic Mix. Though even then the system isn't always 100% perfect. It occasionally will miss a lift ride.

Best shot at 100K plus would be to set up your own charity event to raise $$ for a cause and coordinate with the resort for your desired lift/lane, and even opening hours etc...
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
egieszl":3pepsj4c said:
50k-60k is very realistic for someone in good shape, who doesn't mind skiing the same groomers over and over.
My 50K day at Bachelor was about 50% groomers, covered the entire mountain, never skied the same run more than twice. I also got on the mountain 35 minutes after the opening bell, though I did skip lunch and skied until the lifts closed.

So it's clear to me that lapping an efficient groomer could push a daily total much higher. With respect to Mammoth, I think face of 3 is more efficient than chair 5 for racking up vertical:
Tony Crocker in 2005":3pepsj4c said:
I later found on the Mammoth Forum that there had been a charity vertical event at Mammoth on April 9, same day as my 29,900 + 13K powder. The winner skied 82,000, nearly all on chair 3, which has a 4 minute ride for 900 vertical. One contestant couldn't resist the powder and didn't start running laps on chair 3 until the top was tracked out. He "only" skied 52,000. So I'm still an amateur in this field.

Other mountains/lifts may be more conducive than Mammoth to huge vertical totals on groomers. Sun Valley's long consistent fall lines, one of them served by the 3,100 vertical HSQ on Warm Springs, comes first to mind. My second highest day of 45,900 was there, also with a late start, a lunch stop and afternoon ski demo in foggy weather. I do know that 100,000 has been achieved within normal lift hours at Sun Valley.

Tseeb and I both found a reference to another recent retiree on the Epic Forum:
tseeb":3pepsj4c said:
According to http://www.summitdaily.com/article/2012 ... ofile=1055 This guy has over 7 M this year at the Epic resorts and may get another 2 M at A-Basin [That didn't happen with A-Basin's close last weekend TC]. Back to Back days of 120 K vert at Keystone.
Keystone has night skiing to add more time.

EMSC":3pepsj4c said:
You haven't been to a Vail Inc resort in the past two seasons then. Every pass/ticket comes with a rfid chip embedded that records your lift rides and via the internet you can sign up to look at the data. Vail calls it Epic Mix. Though even then the system isn't always 100% perfect. It occasionally will miss a lift ride.
Here is his Epic Mix page https://www.epicmix.com/user-profile.as ... Id=5451206

For ungroomed vertical the Snowbird and Jackson trams perhaps have the best potential. I believe we counted a 56K day for BobbyD at Snowbird once. My best there was 41,250 during the 2002 Olympics.
 

jtran10

New member
Tony et al - thinking of a trip out for Memorial Day weekend, probably skiing a day (or 2 if it's good), and doing hot springs and other stuff the rest of the time. With coverage as is is it worth the trip for a last ski day this year?
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Trip out from where? If you're flying from points east Blackcomb or Bachelor would likely give you more extensive skiing. Or Sunshine a week earlier for the Canadian holiday weekend. Memorial Day Mammoth this year should be like an average good season at 4th of July (that means like 2010, not a huge year like 2011). So worthwhile in the context of a "mixed vacation," doing other things too. Tioga Pass opened May 7, so Yosemite is easily accessible from Mammoth (1 hour to Tuolumne Meadows, 2 hours to the valley).

I'll be on a 11-day trip, starting with the annular eclipse near Page, AZ. Then some Southwest canyon hiking, pass through Vegas and Death Valley on the way to Mammoth. Then ski Saturday, maybe Sunday of Memorial weekend and finish with Tuolumne river rafting May 28-29.

Even if I were just driving for the 3-day weekend from L.A. I would be skiing one or maybe two mornings of the trip as in 2007.
 

egieszl

New member
EMSC":3fmalfoc said:
You haven't been to a Vail Inc resort in the past two seasons then

I'm well aware of Vail Resorts ticket setup, tracking and their Epic web site. I have no little interest in skiing at Vail though.

Tony, that guy is insane! However, it kind of backs up my point of about 10,000k per hour. On his best day he skied 121,000 vertical feet at Keystone. Operating hours were 8:30 am - 8:00 pm. So he averaged 10,521 vertical feet and I have to assume he skied bell to bell. I wonder what lift at Keystone is optimal for racking up vertical? There is no shortage of groomed terrain there.

I agree with you about Mammoth that Chair 3 is probably the best. My second choice would be Chair 9.
 

Staley

New member
egieszl":2kp6ci1r said:
13 laps an hour is totally unrealistic and maintaining 12 an hour over multiple hours is even questionable. Maintaining a 10-11 hourly average is more realistic.

I didn't do 13 so I'll admit that's just theoretical, but maintaining a 12 lap per hour pace wasn't too difficult on a weekend spring day with slushy snow and soft bumps. It's also possible they were running the lift faster than normal--it was moving far faster than chair 3. There was no issue with waiting for people in line or getting off at the top as you get to know the lifty and can cut the ropes when you're skiing the same lift continually. Chair 5 actually launches you off at the top so there was no poling or anything to start the runs.

egieszl":2kp6ci1r said:
My point is you're going to spend realistically more than 1 minute, 25 seconds from the time you get off the lift to the time you get back on the lift. Realistically, it's going to be 2 to 2.5 minutes under the best conditions.

The app listed my runs on Solitude at an average of 2 minutes, 15 seconds. However, since it didn't turn off at the bottom and included about 1/5 of the ride up, that's an additional 45-50 seconds or so (since the lift is slower at the start and I need time to load). That means I was actually skiing the runs in the required 1 minute, 25 seconds, and that's with some people on the run, slow conditions, and bumps at the top. I was skiing pretty fast, but not out-of-control, and I'm sure a better skier or someone with a race background would be much faster than me on the unwaxed powder skis I was using.

egieszl":2kp6ci1r said:
Your app said you rode 71,630 vertical feet (71,630 / 1,066). That equates to 67.195 rides on Chair 5. You said you did 80 runs. That's 13 additional lift rides that are not counted. Are you sure the app wasn't correct in it's calculation?

I took runs all over the mountain. I skied Cornice, Scotty's, Coyote, Face of 3, Saddle Bowl, Stump Alley, Broadway, the Race Courses. Some of those runs were very short (like from the top of Chair 1 to Chair 3--those "runs" were sometimes skipped altogether by the app).

egieszl":2kp6ci1r said:
I've been counting vertical while skiing for many years now and I can tell you with a lot of experience that maintaining a 10k an hour average is hauling ass. It's possible, but very difficult to maintain over the course of an entire ski day. 50k-60k is very realistic for someone in good shape, who doesn't mind skiing the same groomers over and over. 70k is an impressive number for a 7.5 hour day and what I consider to be really about the top end of what is realistic under normal ski area conditions.

100k is really impossible in 7.5 hours.

I think the best way to count vertical is to record the actual lifts you rode and how many times you ride each one. What lifts did you ride that day and how many times did you ride each one? I've yet to find an app that records correctly.

Seeing as I just got home from school and have entirely too much time on my hands, I figured this out. Mammoth's app has a replay function so I sat through all 80 runs to see where I went. I then found the elevations for the lifts using a variety of sources (the elevations might not be entirely accurate, but the vertical drop of each lift is), and found the amount of vertical that I skied. It's 81,008 feet. And yes, that's with some bathroom breaks, water breaks, waiting in a few lines, walking through gondola stations, taking less efficient lifts and runs, etc. Therefore, I think I'll stand by 100,000 feet being possible at Mammoth.
 

egieszl

New member
I've been thinking for sometime about this thread and decided to talk to some other skiing buddies.

I have to conclude that 100k in a single "normal" operating day at Mammoth is impossible. The normal day is 8:30 am - 4:00 pm (7.5 hours).

Tony is probably right about Chair 3 being the most ideal - 898 vertical feet rise, 2,400 linear feet and a ride time of 2.6 minutes. Therefore you'd have to ride Chair 3 - 112 times to surpass 100k. That equates under perfect operations to 4 hours and 51 minutes of riding time. That leaves 2 hours, 39 minutes for skiing or 1.42 minutes per run for loading, unloading and skiing. That's just not possible.

Your 80k day is impressive and especially so since you moved around quite a bit. Most of the lifts at Mammoth are not ideal for amassing vertical and the varied conditions and terrain slows you down. So good job.
 
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