Mammoth, CA 5/13 and 5/14/2021

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Mammoth, CA 5/13 and 5/14/2021

Postby tseeb » Sat May 15, 2021 6:58 pm

Mammoth 5/13/21
Leaving Squaw on 5/12, I contacted Tony Crocker who wished I’d let him know my plans earlier, but decided to meet me at Mammoth on Thursday vs. waiting until next week. Mammoth was losing ~5 inches per day, day to day losses and discoloration of snowpack are noticeable and they only report base of 16-24” so there is not a lot to lose.

Mammoth Snowman estimates chair 2 has about a week left. Based upon past history an educated guess would be that they will maintain a strip to the weekend of May 22-23. Mammoth Snowman thinks a strip on Broadway will be the only lower run open Memorial Day, though that prediction may be a little conservative.

A strip is being maintained in front of the Mill to allow a return from chair 5 and they were removing snow from Old Comeback trail and pushing it to top of new Comeback (which looked a lot different the next day). Solitude was groomed and had the best corn on the mountain as it was accessible only from Dave's Run after probably being used by racers early. But that grooming means chair 5 will run this weekend and may not after that.I left So. Tahoe in the dark and after filling up in Minden for $3.24 (at place where credit is same price as cash and they do not have alcohol in fuel) was heading S on 395 about 5 AM.
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Gas price in Lee Vining, CA, less than 100 miles S of Minden, NV
I skied from a few minutes after 7:30 AM opening until 2 PM close with a longer than usual break at the Mill where a large group of people from SkiTalk took a long break (and some were done for the day), even though they started hour(s) later. My watch counted 28K. First picture from chair 2 at 7:45 and shows a lot more brown than usual for mid-May at Mammoth.
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We had two good laps on Dave's leading to the corn on 5 and were going to do a third, but gondola was having issues so we spent afternoon on chair 23 with a few race course runs to the Main Lodge. Next three pictures are Tony Crocker in Wipe Out 3 where entrance was soon going to require removing skis. Snow was great there about 130.
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Mammoth 5/14/21
Started the day about 8:15 with FlowSki demos. See SKI AT A HIGHER LEVEL | all terrain : safety : performance (floskis.com)

First run on Stump they seemed like regular skis as no adjustment was needed.Second run I started feeling the natural arc as bindings are only attached to a couple of inches in the center of the ski.We took them to one of the Race Course runs on Broadway were they also worked well on firmer snow. On the way back to the Mill we took Face Lift where skis also worked well although I uncovered a football sized rock that rolled all the way down the hill. I still feel bad about base damage I did, even though it was unavoidable and I ski demos liked they are my own skis.

We rode 23 and skied Cornice about 9:30 and found it was already softer than later on previous day. We next skied Climax where snow was good where steep, but flatter apron was too soft and best exited by traversing towards Saddle Bowl. Next time up we skied Dave’s where it was sticky requiring more pole-ing than previous day getting to it, and on the exit, although steep was good as was the part of Solitude we skied. The route from base of 5 to the Mill looked a lot different that previous day and was getting sticky. Next time up after repeating Dave’s I hiked to the top of 5 to ski all of Solitude that Racers had been on early.

Other highlights were Road Runner, which looked groomed way past where we turned to Scotty’s;
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Tony Crocker on Scottys. Wipe Out 3 to left and Monument to right. Next picture has the Paranoids annotated.
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Wipe Out 2 that we skied just before 1 PM
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where as predicted you could no longer get to 2 or 3 without removing skis and Gravy Chute, our last good run of the day and probably the season, which we probably should have done a couple of hours (or days?) earlier as entrance was rotten. I was on the road home at 2, and after a stop to confirm that Tioga was still closed and to take a couple of pictures of always amazing Mono Lake and in Oakdale for fuel and fast food, was home about 7:30.
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Some of Mono Lake from edge of 395 by turnoff to Visitor's Center. It is hard to catch the grandeur of the setting with dust devils on the playa, etc.
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Re: Mammoth, CA 5/13 and 5/14/2021

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun May 16, 2021 10:56 am

I took a lot of pictures but I'm late in posting due to a hectic week. Last weekend I was in Palm Beach with a couple of Liz' NYC friends plus a local diver Judy who has been on 3 eclipse trips with us. On Monday we drove the 4 hours back to Liz' mom's house on the Gulf Coast, but first did a drive-by of the current residence of admin's Dear Leader.
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Tuesday was a 22-hour day, getting up at 4AM in Florida to return home, a 2-stop itinerary so I could land in Burbank instead of LAX. Then I went to the Dodger game and got home 11PM. With lots to catch up on at home after two weeks in Florida I was inclined to go to Mammoth next week, but I heard from Garry about the daily decline in snowpack. So when I got the text from Tseeb at 2PM Wednesday I packed and drove to Bishop.

I got on the hill at 8:30 Thursday, which was about right as corn was peaking on Chair 2 runs while the Main Lodge area was still on the firm side.
tseeb wrote:...a lot more brown than usual for mid-May at Mammoth.

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The foreground dirt patch beyond the fence is the usual direct route to chair 3 but now you need to go forward from chair 1 past the chair 2 unloading area. The brown area below the hanging chair is between World Cup and Gremlin's. World Cup was groomed and skiable but too thin to salt for the racers as it usually is in May. The fence in front of us reserves the top of Broadway for airborne skiers and riders to test their landings on this air mattress.
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About 9:30 we ran into Garry and then Jenny and skied Cornice. With a larger group from SkiTalk we skied Dave's and the pristine corn on Solitude. Solitude was groomed for racers and chair 5 ran for them only until about 10AM. Tseeb and Jenny agreed that was worth an encore, while most of the
tseeb wrote: group of people from SkiTalk took a long break (and some were done for the day), even though they started hour(s) later.

After lunch several of us skied a couple of runs on Drop Out 3, which had ideal forgiving spring snow, Jenny there.
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After a nice cruise of Cornice/World Cup/Andy's, Tseeb and I returned to chair 23 to ski Wipe Out 3, where Tseeb posted pics from the upper part. Here he is lower down.
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The chute in the center of the pic is Wipe Out 2, but below the rocks there is just one smooth skier packed line while the infrequently skied snow is heavily suncupped.
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From here we traversed out to the lower part of groomed Scotty's.

Snow remained good until 2PM closing if you were in the right places at the right time. I skied 24,300 vertical on Thursday.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
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Re: Mammoth, CA 5/13 and 5/14/2021

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun May 16, 2021 11:08 am

I had vaguely recognized the FLO Ski RV on Thursday as I've seen it in late spring at Mammoth before. Lonnie has some connection to the company and on Thursday night told me we should drop by and meet developer Adrian Floreani. Here are the skis we demoed Friday.
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The flow packs of ball bearings near the tip serve as dampeners for high speed stability. I have seen those available as aftermarket attachments to ski tips for over a decade.

The skis are made out of bamboo. A close examination shows a bamboo plate mounted on the ski through 4 screws directly underfoot.
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The idea is that the ski can flex under pressure more completely if not constrained by heel and toe bindings. Note that the plate can be placed in 4 possible positions depending upon snow conditions. We skied in the farthest forward position for groomed snow, but the red arrows point to the other 3 screw holes farther back.

tseeb wrote:First run on Stump they seemed like regular skis as no adjustment was needed.

Agree 100% even though the skis are only 163cm long. I also agree that performance was superior on the firmer snow of the race course area and Face of 3. The leverage of a lifted plate is known to aid carving/hard snow performance. It skied on those surfaces like narrow skis so I was pleasantly surprised to learn it was 90mm underfoot. I can't speak to the performance in soft snow/powder but with tip width about 116cm dimensions are similar to my first powder ski the Volant Chubb. My only reservation in powder would be the lesser surface area at the 163 length.

The obvious comparison is to the Anton Suspension system which I demoed at Sun Valley in 2010.
Those skis were 162cm but 78 underfoot with a more slalom-like sidecut. Spring pressure at the tip and tail produced superb grip on fast groomers. The Anton system did not catch on as the skis cost $2,000+ and seemed highly specialized for carving and perhaps moguls. FLO Skis are priced in the mainstream, $1,000 or less including the plate and binding, and have much more all mountain versatility.

Lonnie's friend Danny Shannon was there when we returned the demos around 9:15AM.
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Danny and were in touch a year ago trying to ski A-Basin in late May/early June. Danny was skunked due to the steep lottery odds for Ikon passholders. I got a day in as a guest of A-Basin passholder Paul Kulas.
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Mammoth, CA 5/13 and 5/14/2021

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun May 16, 2021 9:16 pm

Unsettled weather was predicted for the weekend with possible increasing wind in advance. However Friday was calm and essentially the same warm weather (high close to 60F) as Thursday. We skied Cornice just before 9AM and it was in peak corn mode already. With earlier softening and more places with sticky snow later in the day, Mammoth must have had less of an overnight freeze Thursday night vs. Wednesday night.

After returning the demos we took a Cornice encore followed by a run on Scotty's, only accessible by Roadrunner. Roadrunner looked to be groomed in its entirety, going above Red's Lake in the pic below and continuing around past chair 12.
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I was not tempted as the trail is even flatter on the front side and likely a slog on the last section from chair 12 to Main Lodge.

We rode the gondola from the bottom to try Climax.
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As on other top runs there were clean skier packed lines but here they ended below the rock band 3/4 of the way down with the apron below heavily suncupped. So we traversed hard left to the saddle behind chair 3.

The McCoy Station collage has been changed this year.
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In the same 11AM to noon timeframe as Thursday we we skied Dave's to Solitude twice.
tseeb wrote:Next time up after repeating Dave’s I hiked to the top of 5 to ski all of Solitude that Racers had been on early.

I stopped near the bottom of Dave's to take pics of Tseeb skiing.
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Here's he's hiking up to the top of chair 5.
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And finally skiing nearly deserted Solitude:
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Next time up top we skied Drop Out 3 to chair 1 where my son Andrew was on duty. He took a run on Andy's Double Gold with us.
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The view down to chair 1 shows the race course runs still at full width, but the areas between them mostly melted out. Next week the lower parts of these runs will probably be farmed, likely surviving to the May 22-23 weekend but not that likely to Memorial weekend closing.

Our final top run was a sketchier entry to the Wipe Outs.
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On Thursday I coud ski to where I'm standing but had to walk Friday. Tseeb is going to climb down to the snow in the top of Wipe Out 2. I took the same entry to Wipe Out 3 as Thursday, then traversed and stepped up to this view of Wipe Out 2.
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Note the guy in orange shirt stepping over gravel in the background to enter Wipe Out 1.

Tseeb in Wipe Out 2 with view to McCoy Station and snowmaking pond:
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And finally,
tseeb wrote:Gravy Chute, our last good run of the day and probably the season, which we probably should have done a couple of hours (or days?) earlier as entrance was rotten.

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I finished at 1:40PM with 22,600 vertical. There were several places where snow was dirtier or bare spots expanded between Thursday and Friday. So I'm glad I rushed to Mammoth so soon after returning from Florida instead of waiting until next week.
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Mammoth, CA 5/13 and 5/14/2021

Postby egieszl » Wed May 19, 2021 8:57 am

I have never skied on suncups or if I did it was decades ago and I don't recall. What makes this surface so undesirable for skiing? It looks awful, but how does it ski.

The snow depth on Mammoth seems to be very inconsistent across the mountain this year. You could argue that they're skiing because of man-made snow, yet there are areas that are open where there is no man-made. Seeing Scotty's open, but the Paranoids melted almost entirely just seems bizarre.
2018-19 ski season stats- Vertical: 1,328,039, Days: 55, Lift rides: 814, Top day vertical: 53,363;
Total past 12 seasons- Vertical: 14,120,078, Days: 557, Lift rides: 8,869, Top day vertical: 64,867;
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Re: Mammoth, CA 5/13 and 5/14/2021

Postby EMSC » Wed May 19, 2021 12:25 pm

egieszl wrote:I have never skied on suncups or if I did it was decades ago and I don't recall. What makes this surface so undesirable for skiing? It looks awful, but how does it ski.


It skis badly no matter which type of suncups you run into. Despite the theoretically sun softened nature of the snow it is continuous big and inconsistent ripples; and to boot if you try to make a turn, your edges get caught in all sorts of weird ways both trying to turn and trying to end the turn due to the ever unpredictable high points of the ridges between cups. That's assuming a previously well compacted snow pack that has only recently turned to cups. Other times if you see suncups it means crazy soft and unsupported glop that will tear your knees apart as you sink in. So depends on recent weather and previous nature of the snowpack in my experiences.

egieszl wrote:The snow depth on Mammoth seems to be very inconsistent across the mountain this year. You could argue that they're skiing because of man-made snow, yet there are areas that are open where there is no man-made. Seeing Scotty's open, but the Paranoids melted almost entirely just seems bizarre.


+1

Some pictures look like skiing for a few weeks to come, others look like they will be lucky to make it a few more days at best.

Out this way Breck is throwing in the towel a week earlier than planned (closing this Sunday instead of Memorial day), but ABasin says they will make their June 6 closing date (though they are shutting Pali and Beavers lifts already).
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Re: Mammoth, CA 5/13 and 5/14/2021

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed May 19, 2021 12:27 pm

The edges of suncups tend to remain firm while the centers continue to melt and get deeper over time. I remember a TR on Turns All Year with pics of YUUUGE suncups 2-3 feet deep. Unfortunately the pics are no longer in that TR.

Snow depth at Mammoth varies season to season based upon wind deposition. Some storm, likely the big one last week of January, must have had a reverse wind direction at some point that stripped snow from the Wipe Out side of chair 23 and blew it over toward chair 14. I never saw so many people skiing the rarely covered Dos Passos as on my late March trip.
Image

egieszl wrote:The snow depth on Mammoth seems to be very inconsistent across the mountain this year.

Scotty's and particularly Cornice are bowls that tend to collect a lot of windblown snow. Partway down, Gremlin's Gulch collects even more. In 2005 and 2011 I continued monthly ski streaks in August by skiing 1,100 vertical on Cornice and Gremlin's.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
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Re: Mammoth, CA 5/13 and 5/14/2021

Postby tseeb » Thu May 20, 2021 8:45 am

Weather.com says Mammoth Lakes, CA was in the high 60s last Wed-Fri with lows well above freezing (in town). The weekend must have been interesting as highs were only 55 both days and there was some precip in the PM. Weather.com predicts low will get into the teens on Fri and OpenSnow predicts 6" new on Friday, and 4" and 2" on Sat/Sun.

CalTrans District 9 Facebook page says "ATTN DRIVERS: Due to the incoming storm, Caltrans will close Sonora Pass/State Route 108 at NOON on Thursday, May 20. Monitor Pass/State Route 89 will remain open unless the severity of the storm necessitates its closure." So instead of Tioga opening, Sonora (and Ebbetts) will temporarily close again.
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Re: Mammoth, CA 5/13 and 5/14/2021

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu May 20, 2021 1:03 pm

Town temperature measurements are not all that useful for Mammoth in spring. The patrol site maintains an hourly log of readings over the past 24 hours.

Bryan at OpenSnow has not chosen to update his forecast over the past 3 days. At that time only the GFS was predicting significant snow for this weekend. Whether there is as much new snow as the deterministic model shows or not, the the weather should at least arrest the ongoing meltdown and preserve more coverage for Memorial Day closing than we might have expected a week ago.
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Mammoth, CA 5/13 and 5/14/2021

Postby tseeb » Thu May 27, 2021 9:40 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Town temperature measurements are not all that useful for Mammoth in spring.
Weather.com is useful to see the highs and lows in the Mammoth area for any day in the past couple of years. While town is not perfectly correlated to the Mountain, I haven't found a better source if you want to see temps going back more than 24 hrs.

Mammoth only got 2" out of the storms, not the 12" OpenSnow (computer generated) predicted. While Tioga was scheduled to open this AM, which would save me about 30 min and 40 miles vs. Sonora Pass, it does not look like I'm going. If I was, I should already have been there skiing less crowded Wed/Thu vs. Fri/Sat. One of our SkiTalk friends posted "They have done a superb job widening the WROD’s to the maIn lodge & stump alley wider than 2 weeks ago - probably for the holiday", but if that is true seeing how thin Broadway and Stump were and lack of farmable areas nearby (except for parks).

Mammoth Snowman said on Monday "For this final week of skiing and snowboarding, you can expect chairs 1, 2, 3, 23, and G1 and G2 to run. The mountain is making an all-out effort to try and keep chair 2 running until next Monday."
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Re: Mammoth, CA 5/13 and 5/14/2021

Postby jimk » Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:14 am

Nice reports and photos guys!
I like this one showing tseeb doing some fine rock dodging:
Image

Never been to Mammoth, but my son reports that it's a fine place for late spring skiing. Maybe someday?

I just made the drive from Utah to East Coast. Went a slightly southern route including a lot on Interstate 40. Saw some beautiful/interesting sites along the way. Not much happening in west Texas panhandle, but they had the cheapest gas of my trip at $2.49 \:D/
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Re: Mammoth, CA 5/13 and 5/14/2021

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jun 04, 2021 2:22 pm

jimk wrote:Not much happening in west Texas panhandle

Hopefully you didn't miss Cadillac Ranch!
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We drove Liz' brother's truck from DC home mostly via I-40 in summer 2018. A week of that was at her mother's then summer residence in Waynesville, NC. That's how we got to raft the Chattooga River. Most of the tourist stops were on the eastern half of that trip: Luray caves, Dollywood, Mammoth Caves, Nashville, Memphis, Crystal Bridges Museum.

Next month we'll be driving Liz' mother's car home from Florida on a more southern route.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Tony Crocker
 
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