Mammoth, CA May 15, 2024


Well-known member
On Wednesday, I loaded chair 2 closer to 730 opening than Tuesday after spending night in SUV a couple hundred feet off Scenic Loop. A couple of vehicles parked close enough to me that I drove through some snow to leave vs. trying to backup in before 6 AM light with some fog on windows. Many others spent night on road which is noisier and not as level.

I started with three laps on Stump before moving to Coyote where I also took three laps, then I took three on Solitude.
Snow was a little firmer than previous day and you had to be careful with ridges between groomer passes in places. I followed advice of snowboarder I rode chair 5 with and rode chair 10 about 9 once to ski very smooth Wall Street after firmer and also smooth Sunset.

I used chairs 2 and 23 to get to Cornice which seemed smoother than previous day even though my first time down was later. I continued to gondola base using Rusty’s that had barely been skied. I ended up riding the gondola seven times. I’d planned to ride chair 6 after skiing Wipe Out and Drop Out from chair 23 before 1, but line was long so I did another gondola skiing Climax, taking narrow exit on left for the second time this day, also my last run off the top and probably the season. I stopped at 1:15 with 32.8K. Another highlight run was taking Dave’s a little before 10. Snow on steep face was good, but it was already getting too soft going back to char 3. I got to see somebody ski a narrow S-facing chute from Huevos Grande. I also skied Road Runner to get to Scotty’s and took many runs into upper, once downhillers where done, and lower race course runs. Racer taken from chair 23. I tried but didn't catch them in air off jump.

Next photos all taken at 1241 on my last chair 23 ride. First is Drop Out.

Next two are Wipe Out. Instead of skiing soft snow to bottom, I cut right into open to public about 11 downhill course.

I joined tailgaters for one beer, then after an hour of driving stopped at Caltrans maintenance station on 395 at 108 to make sure 9600'+ Sonora Pass, which saves about 35 minutes and 50 miles and has up to 27% grades which is hard on brakes, was not going to open. It opened Thursday mid-afternoon. This is off Scenic Loop where I stopped to add some snow to my ice chest then I drove through some.
20+ year-old Honda SUV going past Mono Lake. On flat ground with no wind 2000 rpm is 75 mph. Yes MAINT is REQ'D, but oil looks good.

I drove into Gardnerville to refill on $4.18 (credit) regular, then drove home past Kirkwood.
Caples Lake, with some of Kirkwood visible in middle background, still has some ice.

I made it home from Kirkwood in 3 hrs 10 min, my fastest trip of the year. They could easily be open through May, but are owned by Vail.


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Cornice which seemed smoother than previous day even though my first time down was later.
On our prior two trips it seemed that Wednesday was consistently the quietest day. That's a big positive for groomer corn to remain smooth longer. It's particularly conspicuous this season on the lower race runs because the chair 1 closure is drastically reducing skier traffic on them.
Yikes. I've been paying under $3/gallon for a good while this winter/spring. I think it was $2.99 most recently.
We noticed on our March road trip Colorado < Utah < Nevada of course < California. The Cayenne has 500+ miles of range so we filled in St. George on the way home. Here's why Tseeb thinks $4.18 in Nevada is a deal.
If I recall, didn't they sell some sort of spring pass good for April/May back in the 90's
Kirkwood had a revolving door of owners before Vail, including Telluride for a brief time I think. People don't want to commute from the lodging base in South Tahoe. Kirkwood is also one of those stratified mountains with a flattish lower half and steep upper half. I'd still expect more popularity given the consistently superior snow conditions vs. its Tahoe competitors though.
I paid under $3 in Wells, NV (midway between Elko and UT) during my return from Snowbird on 3/16. It was $2.99 credit less 5 cent discount I get from Pilot RV card. I didn't buy any gas in UT during trip. Savings on gas in part of NV close to Lake Tahoe has been reduced over last couple of years. Gas was still $6.99 in Bridgeport in May.