Mammoth, June 8, 10, 2019

Tony Crocker

Staff member
June 8 was one of the finest spring corn ski days of my life. The second half of May had a lot of weather so the corn never had much of a chance to set up. Garry was at Mammoth with a couple of friends for 3 days this week. Thursday was too warm, mushy. Friday snow was better but so much wind that top was closed all day and even 1 and 2 intermittently. But Saturday was perfect: there was a hard freeze overnight, clear all day with a light breeze. Temps started in mid-30’s, maybe got to 50F by closing.

I got on the mountain at 7:50. Here’s the view of Stump Alley, with Lincoln Mt. in left background.

Chair 2 still has wall to wall coverage. This week will be hot with lots of melting, but I think there's a good chance chair 2 will last through Patrick’s first weekend June 22-23. I didn't think that a month ago and I still don't think 2 will last until July. Having 2 open is important not only for the parking access but also because the chair 5 terrain remains accessible.

The snow on Stump was hard but well groomed so not hard to ski and of course very promising for later in the day. On my second ride I reached Garry and heard they were headed to the top. I was pleasantly surprised that the snow was already soft on the upper third of Cornice facing the morning sun. Garry and I skied to 3, finding the Face of 3 still firm. So the plan while waiting for more widespread softening was to ski laps from Cornice to sunny lower runs, first Stump, then Rusty’s to chair 1. Garry on groomed Cornice:

Garry’s friends were now at chair 5. I expected that most of 5 was still firm, but that Coyote getting there might be good. From that first Coyote run a bit after 9AM, I skied almost continuous ideal corn the rest of the day. First Solitude then Waterfall were in morning sun like Coyote. View from above Waterfall towards 5:

By 10AM the main 5 runs Sanctuary and Sliver were in corn mode. Triangle was still firm skier’s left so we skied to the right parallel to Sliver. Garry and I then took 2 to 23 and went out to Monument.


Sometimes when the steeps are good, the apron runouts have heavy snow, but not on Saturday; it was all good top to bottom.

There was also good groomed corn below on St. Anton and the race course runs.

Next were the Drop Outs with the same NE aspect as Monument. Drop Out 2:


By now it was 12:30 and Garry decided to call it a day as he was driving home. He had started at 7:30 opening bell and gotten 4 runs in before I arrived. That would be about 28K vertical.

My next run I traversed from Monument with a few step-ups to Paranoid 2.

I noticed that the racers were done now, so from the back of 3 I skied the pristine corn that had been roped off for them on World Cup and Fascination.

Past 1PM I concentrated on the most direct north facing lines that had stayed frozen the longest but were now ideal. Those were first the liftline of chair 3 and then the skier’s left of Triangle that had been firm earlier. I then returned to 23 to ski all 3 Wipe Outs.

Over Memorial weekend the announced 3PM closing had been extended to 4PM. Saturday was the busiest June day I have skied, with lift lines of perhaps 20 people at chairs 1, 2 and occasionally 3 and 23. We heard a rumor that Saturday would be extended to 3PM. Thus I ended up at Main Lodge after my last Wipe Out run to find chair 1 closed as scheduled after 2PM and had to take the parking shuttle to chair 2.

I skied 36,100 vertical, which should tell you how good the snow was and how little effort was needed to ski it. Needless to say this is the best ski day I’ve ever had in June. The prior benchmark was also with Garry June 10, 2006: ... php?t=2128 That day the upper gondola was open but not 23, while today was the opposite. That’s a close tradeoff of the Wipe Outs/Drop Outs vs. Dave’s, Huevos, Climax and Hangman’s. The only better late spring corn day was perhaps May 18, 2013 ... hp?t=10987
That one was better only because both the upper gondola and 23 were open, so I skied a likely record 15 runs off the top vs. 11 today and 9 on the June day in 2006.

I drove north from Mammoth to raft the North Fork of the Stanislaus River on Sunday. View of the now closed east side of Mammoth from the 203 exit off 395:

Full view of Mammoth father north on 395:
Looking forward to getting more skiing in. Love Mammoth in the June.

edit: I love skiing in June no matter. What or where. From pouring rain high up Horstman glacier at Blackcomb back in 1988, crazy winds on top of Mt. Washington in 2009 to skiing + waterpark fun last Saturday.
All this snow has delayed the opening of the bikes parks..Mammoth and Lake Tahoe have world class MTB parks..
jasoncapecod":14f9rsmi said:
All this snow has delayed the openings of the bikes parks..Mammoth and Lake Tahoe have world class MTB parks..

Don't ski (or the bike) the calendar, ski the snow (bike the unsnow). :-(
After skiing Saturday I needed to drive over the Sierra for whitewater rafting on the North Fork of the Stanislaus River Sunday. But first I took a break at Travertine Hot Springs just outside Bridgeport.

I stopped here to debug my windshield before driving west into the sunset.

Mono County has the highest gas prices in California and Bridgeport is usually the worst of all. Bishop at the north end of Inyo County is over a dollar/gallon cheaper and fortunately the tank I got there Friday lasted until I got back to Bishop after skiing Monday.

The top of Sonora Pass at 9,600 feet is a good spot for backcountry skiing.

There were 3 skiers relaxing by their truck here. At least one track is visible at higher resolution.

West of Sonora Pass the north facing topogaphy becomes more extreme.

I stayed in Sonora and drove Sunday morning to Calaveras Big Trees state park.


Tseeb took Liz’ place on the North Stanislaus as she’s rehabbing an arthritic knee after bruising it a few weeks ago. I did not take a camera on the river, which was just as well because I fell out of the raft at the end of the first class IV rapid. Once was enough of that as this trip is at 4,000 feet with water in the 40’sF. Air temps were in the 70’s even though it was 90F in SF and LA Sunday and even hotter Monday.

I drove over Ebbets and Monitor passes back to Mammoth Sunday late afternoon.

No surprise the Sierra began warming after Saturday. The low Monday morning was low 40’sF but the snow did set up a little. Groomers were firm at 7:30 opening from the overnight salting but softened about an hour earlier than on Saturday.

I skied an abbreviated version of Saturday’s plan. Nearly all of Cornice was pleasantly softened when I first skied it around 8:30, and the same with Coyote half an hour later. Waterfall into chair 5 was my first ungroomed run about 9:30, very soft in direct morning sun. I skied 3 more runs on 5 and when I was done there at 10:30 I needed to shed my sweater.

My chair 23 runs were Drop Out 3, Paranoid 1 and Wipe Out 2. From chair 23 I saw one of the kids' camps using this track under the lift.

After 11AM the race course runs were the only ones on the lower mountain where snow was not heavy. I also skied Gravy Chute from chair 1. I was going to quit after the Wipe Out 2 run, but the race gates had just been removed from World Cup, Gremlin’s and St. Anton. Since St. Anton had perfect corn, I had to go up 1 and 3 to hit that racer corn from the top. I finished at 12:15 with 26,700 vertical.

The temperature when I left was about 60F, fairly average weather for Mammoth in June. Monday was certainly good skiing, though overshadowed by the ideal conditions Saturday. The ungroomed terrain off chair 23 still skied well top to bottom. It took more effort to push the snow around but the subsurface was still supportable if you skied each run at its appropriate time of day. I have been at Mammoth in June/July when it was much warmer than Monday.

There was some snowpack loss between Saturday and Monday, and this week there will be plenty more. The late May weather probably pushed back loss of coverage by a couple of weeks, which will surely benefit Patrick when he arrives at Mammoth June 20. It is still evident that the snowpack is not what it was in 2011 or 2017, so I remain skeptical about what will be left after the July holiday.

jasoncapecod":2zalop3c said:
All this snow has delayed the opening of the bikes parks..Mammoth and Lake Tahoe have world class MTB parks..
There is some overlap between the ski and bike seasons. On July 5, 2017 Liz and I rode the mountain bike track from Main Lodge down to the Village, and then the road around Lake Mary and back to Footloose where we had rented the bikes. On July 3, 1993 Adam and I skied the front side of Mammoth in the morning and rode mountain bikes down the melted off backside in the afternoon