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Mammoth, CA 7/1-3/19

Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:45 pm

Monday 7/1/19
I drove my camper over 9600+ foot Sonora Pass in the dark Sunday night as slightly higher, but much less steep Tioga Pass was only open an hour in the AM and an hour in the PM with no stopping allowed until 8 AM Monday morning. I slept well in the rest stop a mile N of turnoff to Mammoth and could have gotten 1st chair, but settled for 2ND. Stump Alley was open and seems like it will be through Sunday after the 4th although Monday was the last day there was a direct route to the Mill lodge.
My phone said it was 32 early at Mammoth Lakes and there was some frozen snow early, but it softened fast as it was the only day without wind. I went up 2, then 23 and found snow already softening on Cornice Bowl although it needed to be skied smooth as groomers left a lot of uneven places between and even in their passes. I skied it twice, then chair 3 twice before returning to car to get phone I had left on charger. Later at McCoy station I saw Phil from pugski who was waiting for his wife Tricia to come back up after changing some gear. We also met up with Gary from Kentucky and Paul from SLC. They skied improving Cornice Bowl while I tested sunny side of Climax. We all went up chair 3 and went off the back where Phil went down hard on firm snow due to a pre-release as he had not set bindings properly. He was done for the day. Next picture is Wipe Out 1
I skied until after 12:30. Runs off the top were still skiing well although snow was slow getting back to 23 or down St Anton. I finished my day downclimbing into Wipeout 2, then cutting over to Monument where snow was very smooth most of the way down. Then I rode gondola to the top and skied Climax, Saddle Bowl and Stump for 23.8K vertical. I was invited to join the PugSki crew for margaritas and eventually dinner, but I first had to get group who were partially behind my truck and directly in way of exhaust to move.

Tuesday 7/2/19
After using Kurt’s iron and equipment to wax skis outside the Mill, I missed first chair by a bit. but still loaded before the official opening time of 7:30. Wind that had come up Monday continued and delayed softening so I started with 3 laps on chair 3, then 3 skiing Cornice Bowl from chair 23 before meeting up with the 4 people from PugSki. We were also joined at some point by Kurt/mountain monster and I shared a gondola with Elyssa from Mammoth forums. We skied more laps on Face of chair 3 were snow was near perfect smooth corn for one of our laps. My Ski Tracks apps also shows 4 laps during the day on Climax plus end the day. One of my laps on Climax was a little too early as sunnier right side of bumps were fine while left side were still firm.
Paul from UT close, Gary from KY far, then next picture is Gary
Phil and Tricia quit early to return to Reno so Kurt and I showed Gary and Paul the route to Scotty’s which they had been eyeing for a couple of days. Kurt skied a smooth line on the Hump while I got a few turns near top of Wipeout 2, then more on smooth steep face between the Hump and Scotty’s before getting ahead of Gary and Paul. I think they were done after coming back up chair 1 while I did some more chair 23 laps skiing Dropout 1, then top of Dropout 1 and cutting over to Wipeout 1 and ending my day with Monument, then skiing to bottom and finishing with gondola to top and skiing Climax, Saddle Bowl and Stump for 26.2 K vertical.
Never had leg to Mill on Tues. This is after 2 PM
Even though only the bathrooms were open (and WiFi and gas firepit was available) at the Mill on other days the restaurant and bar were closed until they did one last Taco Tuesday from 1-3 so we went in for $2 carnitas or chicken tacos and $3 fish tacos that we enjoyed with the 2nd half of the US Women’s World Cup semifinal win. I rested for a while at camper, then I went for a bike ride since I brought it. I tried riding Mountain Vista trail to Minaret View, but snow blocked road a mile or two before end.
I stopped here. I did ride through a few short patches of snow.
I did some more riding on N side of 203, eventually crashing for first time in a long time in pumice while going too slow and locking front wheel while looking for trail to right that would get me back to highway and Mill. (I didn’t realize I was repeating a downhill I’d already done).

I had a hard time finding road or trail to get me back to 203 and finally cross-countried it. I came out just below F parking and guy waiting there for his girlfriend to climb hill from town said employee watching entrance to Downtown trail left 10 minutes ago and I had 19 minutes to catch last shuttle in Village. I made it down very entertaining trail in 18 minutes. My bike ride which I hoped to keep under an hour ended up being two. Shuttle brought me back to Main Lodge at 5:50
Guy had also said I could park at the Mill for a night, maybe two, but after using my outdoor shower and having dinner, security said I need to leave.

Wednesday 7/3/19
After moving from overnight parking off Dry Creek Rd, I was first in the Mill lot and shared first chair with Kurt and a couple he knew from San Diego, but lost them while buckling boots before skiing to gondola mid-station. Wind continued, but was a little less than previous day and temp seemed to climb quickly. Crowds were bigger than previous days, but only line I had was for last gondola at Main Lodge due to sight-seers. I shared a few gondolas with @shiftrider, but he was boarding Cornice while I was skiing Climax and I eventually lost him. I skied down to the Mill about 11 to change light jacket (that I’d worn all three days until then) for for a vest and put a beer in the pocket for my last bottom to top gondola.

I skied until a little after noon and was on the road about 12:45. Highlights were Dropout 1 then cutting over to Dropout 2, Dropout 3, Dropout 3 and cutting over into Wipeout 1, downclimbing into Wipeout 2 and cutting over to The Hump and also skiing Monument. My watch counted 25.3K. Even with a short stop going up Tioga Pass, another at the top and at Tuolumne Grove (hike to Sequoias was too long to make it to dinner in San Jose) and for hiking about halfway up Pothole Dome on the West end of Tuolumne Meadows, I was home in less than 7 hours.
Last edited by tseeb on Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Mammoth, CA 7/1-3/19

Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:00 pm

Adding more pictures, including two from way home. First is me having beer on probably my last lift of the season. Five of the 6 others who shared gondola with me carried on drafts they bought near entrance. Next is Pothole Dome that I hiked about halfway up and last is my camper at the W end of Tuoloumne Meadows, looking E.

Re: Mammoth, CA 7/1-3/19

Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:14 pm

I was there on Monday. As a last ski day on this California ski trip, I made sure to ski Climax, Drop Out, Wipe Out and Paranoid 3 + a run on Gravy Chute.

Summary of this trip:
11 ski days (Mammoth 8 and Squaw 3).
Dodgers game with Tony.
June Lake swim, Tahoe, Donner Pass & LA.

Re: Mammoth, CA 7/1-3/19

Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:43 pm


Were you able to get into that ski museum at Donner Pass?

Re: Mammoth, CA 7/1-3/19

Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:11 am

No. We traded emails and unfortunately they didn’t have anyone to show me around as it’s closed during the off-season.

Re: Mammoth, CA 7/1-3/19

Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:55 pm

Patrick, I was hoping to ski with you on 7/1. I sent you a PM on Pugski where you had recently been active. Since I did get a reply, I asked Tony and Liz for other contact info, but received it too late.

Not only did chair 2 close after 7/7, but chair 1 has a motor problem and is most likely done for the season. So it's only lower and upper gondola and chairs 3 and 23. Chair 11 is open for mountain biking. Picture is from July 3. Interesting tricycle at right.

Re: Mammoth, CA 7/1-3/19

Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:18 pm

tseeb wrote:Patrick, I was hoping to ski with you on 7/1. I sent you a PM on Pugski where you had recently been active. Since I did get a reply, I asked Tony and Liz for other contact info, but received it too late.

Damn. I didn't see the PM on Pugski, maybe the notification went into the junk mail.

Re: Mammoth, CA 7/1-3/19

Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:13 pm

Of course I meant to say “since I did not get a reply”. Wondering why you went over Donner after Mammoth. Did you fly home from SFO or just wanted some variety?

Following is Tioga Pass Civil Engineering Landmark. I have entered a contest the last two years to guess when Hwy 120 from Lee Vining to Crane Flat (over 9943' Tioga Pass) opens. Last year I missed it by a day and won the darn close. This year Hwy 120 opened to Tioga Pass, but Tioga Road crossing Yosemite stayed closed a week after my original guess of June 14. Then on June 21 it opened for 2 hours a day with no stopping allowed.
Since guess had to be made 15 days in advance in mid-June, I put in a new guess of July 1 at 8:30 AM. Pass opened to unrestricted traffic 30 min before my guess. I've asked the National Park Service to correct a spelling error at" (where it says Historial) and to either add a note to go with the asterisk at or change the opening date from June 21 to July 1 as I dispute whether being open 2/24 hours is open or closed. A tank of fuel, up to $100, is riding on it. Note that when I asked ranger at entrance and exit to Yosemite when the road opened, both said July 1.

Re: Mammoth, CA 7/1-3/19

Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:22 pm

tseeb wrote:Of course I meant to say “since I did not get a reply”. Wondering why you went over Donner after Mammoth. Did you fly home from SFO or just wanted some variety?

Initially I was hoping to depart from Reno or SF, but Squaw didn't spin on Monday July 1st and my wife suggested that I get my July turns now and get it done instead of waiting for our family vacation at my in-laws in France.

Definitely for the variety. I got 11 ski days (8 MM + 3 SV) on this trip and it was great to mix it up.
The trip was:
June 18-19: LA
June 20: drive to Mammoth
June 21-27: ski Mammoth with stuff.
June 28-30: ski Squaw with stuff.
July 1: ski Mammoth
July 2-3: LA

You can check out my posts on instagram @madpatski. Not done yet sorting the last few days and posting are necessarily in order.

Re: Mammoth, CA 7/1-3/19

Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:06 pm

Mammoth is no longer planning to stay open for skiing into August. "Mother Nature has been turning up the heat recently and snow is melting fast - the last day of skiing and riding will be Sunday, July 28." was posted on Facebook.

Re: Mammoth, CA 7/1-3/19

Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:41 am

:bow: I was skeptical of the August announcement when it made in late May. At no time was this year's snowpack as much as 2011 or 2017. I skied two days during the final week in 2017 and the snow loss between July 30 and August 3 was significant. Those were good ski days, but the final weekend of Aug. 4-6 was probably limited to Cornice, Gremlin's and Saddle Bowl. Another week would have been problematic and that point will surely be reached earlier in 2019.

"Mother Nature has been turning up the heat recently and snow is melting fast."

And when would that not be true in July? It's usually true in June too once you get inland much from the coast, and I would say June 2019 was more favorable than normal to skiing as there wasn't much suncup development by my last day June 21.

Nonetheless =D> is due to Mammoth management for pushing the envelope. Since 2016 they have really gone as far as they possibly can, which was not necessarily true during the early years after the Starwood private equity deal (2007-2011). The intervening lean years 2012-2015 were sometime a struggle to make it to Memorial Day.

Re: Mammoth, CA 7/1-3/19

Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:37 am

Mammoth Snowman's pics from July 21 look similar to my July 30 and Aug. 3 ski days in 2017. He says the final week will be just Cornice, Gremlin's and Saddle Bowl, similar to the last weekend in 2017.

Re: Mammoth, CA 7/1-3/19

Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:14 pm

Chair 23 has closed so skiing for the remainder of the season is only upper Gondola and chair 3. You will need to take off your skis and walk across some dirt/mud to get to gondola mid-station. Climax is still open, but they have lost a lot of snow everywhere since I skied there three weeks ago. I'm not very tempted to go back this season. Pictures from Kurt/Mountain Monster on pugski.
Bottom of chair 3
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