Mt. Baldy, CA, 4/1/2024

Tony Crocker

Staff member
Despite getting home Saturday I couldn't resist skiing Monday. OpenSnow estimated Baldy getting 12-18 inches and I was even able to use a free SkiDazzle ticket.

Baldy got Thunder Mt. open Sunday but not for a full day. Weather was unsettled so I was confident of no melt/freeze. Monday was supposed to be the first sunny day though with some wind.

I arrived 9:15AM and waited in the ticket line from 9:25-10:00. By that time the chair 1 line had cleaned out and I was on the Thunder lift at 10:30. I did not miss much as Thunder opened at 10AM.

Then there was that weather forecast. The L.A. Basin was sunny all day as was the drive past Mt. Baldy village. But it was cloudy at the parking lot and windy riding chair 1. View of Bentley's:

Baldy's report warned there was no base under the new snow on chair 1, so I was not tempted in the least.

Here's the view riding Thunder at 11:22, probably my 4th ride:

The first two runs were worse. I was marginally prepared. I was fortunately wearing the heavier yellow jacket I had worn in Utah and Colorado, but with thin base and mid layers. On the first run I stopped and switched the mid layer to a heavier sweater. I only had mid weight gloves and had to put on glove liners for the first two hours. These upgrades fixed the temperature problem but with that forecast I had not brought goggles.

By the 3rd run, Skyline, the fog had thinned enough for somewhat improved visibility. So next I skied near the Thunder liftline because of nearby trees. Skier packed snow skied well. Snow that had been skied as powder Sunday left chunks that stiffened overnight with the wind and were best avoided. Emile's had a lot of that. So I repeated the 3 groomers Bonanza, Robin's and Skyline. After noon there were occasional hints of sun, one of them here looking down Skyline:

By 1PM there was a mix of cloud and sun, about when I ventured into South Bowl.

I guessed wrong here. The NW facing trees had a wind crust. The sunnier SW facing side was more cream cheese and I got in a few decent turns of that lower down.

The groomers were in great shape once it cleared. View down Robin's:

Similar view on ungroomed Goldridge:

Here is was necessary to stay in the skier packed line. Sun softened Herb's was better.

BY 2PM the skier packed Thunder liftline was wider.

Higher up Emile's (looker's right) remained chunky and was thus less popular.

The board at the base said chair 4 was expected "late morning" though the website said "after noon." Here's a zoomed view of people waiting for it at 2:45, just before it opened.

I would have left at 3PM, but I had to check out chair 4. On a day of full sun it would be mashed potatoes, but the upper parts of Spring Hill and Turkey Shoot were carvable cream cheese. Under the lift I found a similar wind crust as in the South Bowl trees. My last run Rollercoaster was the only chair 4 run that had been groomed, though there were a few bare spots to avoid.

I neglected to take pics while riding chair 4, but I took this one while rding down chair 1.

Final overview of Thunder:

And yes there was a nutcase who skied down chair 1.

Despite the problematic start I had a worthwhile ski day of 20,700 vertical.
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