Mammoth, Dec. 18-20, 2018

Tony Crocker

Staff member
Mammoth received 6-7 inches Sunday night into Monday. As expected the top was closed Monday so that’s when we drove up and stayed with Garry in a friend’s condo. We heard for some people that Monday’s powder on 3, 5 and 22 was quite good.

On Tuesday we got to chair 2 at 8:45AM and the top was open already. So I took my first 3 laps on chair 23. The steeps of Drop Out 1 were well churned already but it was smoother snow lower down. Wipe Out 2 was the opposite, with the upper section very lightly tracked because there was a gravelly choke point lower down. On my first day of the season at 11,000 feet I was taking quite a few breaks in these runs. The snow was good but inconsistent, some turns in lighter powder, some in denser windpack and some where you were mostly on the subsurface. Here’s the view halfway down Wipe Out 2:

My next ride on 23 (a safety bar added this season), Woolly was on the chair in front of me.

At the top skiing Woolly joined a snowboarding Santa and elf.

I overheard them mention the Paranoids, so I followed them out there.

The photographer dropped in first, then shot Woolly ripping P4, an impressive feat in that bulky suit with not great visibility from swirling snow. Here’s Woolly waiting halfway down.

I carefully slipped into P3, paused and watched Santa and the elf in P4, but I wasn’t going to mess with the camera in that precarious position. I continued down P3 and Bark Bowl in untracked but wind affected powder.

I was beat after that, rested a bit riding the gondola from bottom to top. I skied Dave’s and Triangle to 5, a lap on Face of 5, then met Garry who had skied Dave’s about 10 minutes behind me. We skied down to 2 and went back up top via 23 to ski Monument. This was not as powdery as the Paranoids but smoother and a bit easier to ski despite more wind and swirling snow.

It was a quite windy day, but the wind was blowing from behind the mountain so the gondola and 23 could operate. Chairs 2 and 5 had wind in the face for the entire ride. But we have it easy now compared to when those chairs weren’t high speed and you were in the wind twice as long.

Garry and I rode another bottom to top gondola and skied Climax through 3 to lunch at Main Lodge with Liz and Elissa, a long time Mammoth skier who was one of the most active members of the Mammoth Forum, closed to new entrants since 2014.

After lunch I skied Gravy Chute, a tight entry but very good snow once past that. Then we all skied Terry’s. Garry and I went up top once more. Skiers coming out of Wipe Out 1:

I slogged up to P2 for what I thought was my last powder of the day. Garry skied Monument again but came over and got this shot of me emerging from P2.

Garry and I took another gondola to the top, dropping off behind the gondola. Garry spotted some powder just off the boundary but where we could get back across easily.

After another run on 14 we returned to the front side via 13 and a mellow cruise back to Main Lodge. I then skied to the Mill and met Liz for Taco Tuesday. I skied 21,000 vertical, 5K of rather demanding powder.

Wednesday was a mellower day in many respects and it was almost 10AM when we got on the hill. There was no wind. Low 30’s temps were not that different but skiing was much warmer and I was soon ventilating and stashing my hat.

Liz and I started with Stump Alley, the face and back of 3, then a gondola to freshly groomed Cornice. I soon found that the ungroomed top runs had much softer snow, starting with my next run Dave’s.

Garry and I skied Gold Hill to chair 9. The Chair 9 area is the leanest at Mammoth in terms of snowpack. Gold Hill skied well but it’s narrower than usual and not groomed. It will not stand up to holiday traffic unless there is more snow. From 9 we skied via Solitude to chair 4. The area around the top of chairs 4 and 16 has new snowmaking towers.

Chair 5 and Climax are in the background.

Garry and I next ride chair 22 and skied Viva as the Avy chutes look a bit claustrophobic now. From Canyon we rode 16 and met Liz at 5. We skied Sliver and Sanctuary, much narrower than usual but with excellent snow. We took chair 2 and met Elissa at lunch at Main Lodge.

After lunch we rode the gondola to the top. I skied Climax while the others skied off the backside. I then took 23and skied Wipe Out 1 in the best snow of the day, well smoothed out from top to bottom. On my last ride on 23 I spotted this ice crystal rainbow above Scotty’s.

I skied down to 14, back up and then skier’s left of Scotty’s, another top run smoother and more consistent than on Tuesday. I met everyone again at chair 1. Garry headed back to Canyon while Liz, Elissa and I skied Wall. Elissa then left to turn in her demo skis while Liz and I skied Andy’s, where the racers were finally done by 3:30. Liz and I finished skiing China Bowl and Coyote from chair 3. Just below China Bowl we stopped to watch this girl take a small jump through this tight slot.

Her dad was filming from below.

I skied 24,500 vertical on Wednesday.

Tony Crocker

Staff member
On Thursday temps remained in the 30’s but there were some erratic winds, surprising lower down but not that strong on top. The morning was clear but clouds arrived around 1PM and it was completely overcast by 2PM.

We took the bus up to Canyon to leave the Tesla close to fully charged for the drive home. This was a good idea as we like to drive nonstop to Mojave for dinner. Most of our Mammoth trips in the Tesla have been in spring when the Owens Valley is warm. This time the average temperature was 48F, a modest hit to range similar to an extra 5mph of speed.

After a couple of warmup runs on chair 4, Liz and I skied Dry Creek from 5.

We met Garry at McCoy Station to ski first Cornice and then Dave’s to Solitude and Wall Street, then chair 2 to a short break at Main Lodge. After a run on Wall, we went to 23. Liz skied Cornice, then a gondola to Dave’s while Garry and I skied Drop Out 3, Wipe Out 1 and Monument. Coming down to Main, we rode the gondola bottom to top and skied skier’s right Climax.

Runs on top were fairly similar to Wednesday. Dave’s was better, having been smoothed out by wind with some sift added. Garry got this pic of me on Dave’s.

Drop Out 3 and Wipe Out 1 were the best runs Wednesday and just slightly firmer today. Monument was more noticeably firmer, maybe wind had blown off some of the loose snow there. By 1:30 light was getting a bit flat so we didn’t go up top after it clouded over.

Garry and I skied into Dry Creek from Climax, took 5 to 3 and skied World Cup, where he rode 23 to ski down to 14. I continued on to Andy’s, then rode chair 1 to ski Baby Gravy with a very sketchy entry but lots of soft snow below that.

I then met Liz to ride 1 and 3 to Rooster Tail and Coyote, then 5 to Solitude, Crosswalk and Spring Canyon to catch the Canyon bus about 3PM. I skied 23,300 vertical on Thursday.


Tony Crocker":3c771a3s said:
We took the bus up to Canyon to leave the Tesla close to fully charged for the drive home. This was a good idea as we like to drive nonstop to Mojave for dinner.
Remind me again about your SOP for recharging the Tesla on trips to Mammoth?

Tony Crocker

Staff member
Full charge at home to start.

With speed rationed to 80mph on the flats and 75mph on the uphills I can get to Lone Pine, 204 miles with 4,000 foot elevation gain. This assumes cooperative weather in terms of temperature and wind. With most of the trips being in spring I've done this 8 out of 14 times. The other times we also need a 10-15 minute charge stop in Inyokern.

The Lone Pine stop is about 45 minutes due to the remaining 106 miles to Mammoth having another 4,000 foot climb plus dropping temperatures and wind potential. The above may sound like a lot of down time, but we still got to Mammoth this time in 5 1/2 hours including the Inyokern stop and a Schat's bakery stop in Bishop.

Arriving at Mammoth we check in where we are staying and leave the Tesla to charge when we are at dinner. The car then has plenty of charge to handle any cold weather and 1,000 foot drives up to the chair 2 parking as long as we are there. The last night at Mammoth we top off the charge again.

The drive home is essentially the same as in a gas car because it's downhill and leaving after a ski day there will be a dinner stop anyway. Even in the worst scenarios we would easily make it to Inyokern. But the restaurant we like is a Thai place in Mojave, which can be a stretch under adverse circumstances. Last night's drive was the first Tesla drive when it's been any colder than about 55F in the Owens Valley. Worst case scenario would be an extra 10 minute charge in Lone Pine on the way down, which we have only had to do once out of 10 return trips. Twice we had dinner in Inyokern and the other 7 times we made it to Mojave from Mammoth without another charge stop.

I found a spreadsheet on the Tesla Forum before I ordered the car in October 2015, so I knew what the parameters of my main travels would be. Liz and I are impatient road warriors who like to get where we are going as fast as we can. If it works for us, it will work for the vast majority of people. But any prospective buyer should do their homework in advance and know what to expect. In the Northeast range will take a hit from the cold, but in general the driving distances and speeds are less than out here.

OTOH I can warn that prospective buyers of the upcoming Jaguar iPace and Audi eTron SUV's will be far more restricted than Tesla owners.
1) The batteries are less efficient so even "rated range" is slightly lower. Rated range is like EPA highway, optimistic due to a speed assumption of 60-65mph.
2) Both Jaguar and Audi want the styling to be transparent vs. their gas SUV's. Therefore the aerodynamics are not as good as Tesla's. This means that the hit to range from real world highway speeds of 75mph will be worse than in Teslas.
3) Tesla's superchargers put 150 miles of range on the car in half an hour. Level 2 chargers for other EV's at best will give you 35 miles in that same half an hour. So for now these cars are not viable for more than ~200 miles of travel between overnight stops.

As part of the Dieselgate settlement VW is spending $2 billion over the next decade for electric charging stations. ... alifornia/ Most of these will be 150kW chargers which the Jag and Audi SUV's can use at a charge rate similar to Tesla's superchargers. The cheaper EV's like the Bolt and Leaf are not capable of charging any faster than Level 2.

There are no EV's currently that can charge at 350kW. Porsche's upcoming Taycan will reputedly be the first. 350kW charging is almost the same as a gas stop. When that technology becomes widespread, I see that as the tipping point for mass adoption of EV's in much of the US. It will come earlier in Europe due to high gas prices and shorter drive distances.


Active member
Mammoth posted pictures on their Facebook page of Santa, Woolly and an elf that may have been taken same day Tony saw them.


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Tony Crocker

Staff member
Third FB picture is within seconds of my first picture.

First FB picture looks photoshopped to me.

The second picture is probably sometime different that where I saw them. There's another picture:

Woolly dropped in before Santa when I saw them in P4. Also the weather is much nicer in those pics than when we were in the Paranoids.