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Mammoth, Dec. 16-19, 2019

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:39 am
by Tony Crocker
We came to Mammoth this week to get Liz new boots. Footloose has demo boots and will credit 2 days of demos to a purchase. On our visit to Olympic Sports in Squaw, we determined that Lange RX boots were a good fit for Liz’ high instep, which her prior Salomon boots were not. So at Footloose she demoed those boots in medium vs. low volume and 80 vs. 110 flex.

On Monday Liz demoed the 80’s, switching boot volume midday. It was 8F at 9AM, warmed to the upper teens midday. There was upslope wind on top but fortunately minimal wind elsewhere. Snow surfaces were all packed powder but not necessarily smooth. The upslope wind may have removed much of the loose snow from the last storm of 6 inches or so on Saturday. But overall coverage was excellent and this is now one of the 1/3 of seasons where Mammoth is in full operation by December 15. The wind kept the upper gondola closed until 12:30PM but other lifts ran all day.

We’re staying with Garry Klassen near Canyon Lodge so starting each day on chair 16. On Monday we moved to chairs 3 and 5, then tested Gold Hill to chair 9. Riding chair 9 we saw Ricochet still in early season mode with at least twice as many trees showing as there would be mid-season.

We crossed to chairs 3 and 23, where I passed the 30 million vertical lifetime milestone. The snow on the Wipe Out side of chair 23 was directly in the upslope wind so not ideal in terms of either comfort or surfaces.

We moved again to chair 5 which was more sheltered and had softer snow. We skied Sanctuary and Face of 5. Garry and I skied Avalanche 2 from chair 22.

Snow was excellent and remained so in the scattered trees below.

We then had lunch at Canyon while Liz was exchanging boots. From the top of 16 we saw the gondola had opened so we got over there to ski Climax. Next time up the gondola we skied off the back to 14. 14 was very wind hammered on Dec. 6 but much better this time so we took a second lap. I skied Monument to Main Lodge where Garry and I took a last gondola to Dave’s Run, which had the softest snow of the top runs.

I moved back via 5 to 3 and met Liz. We skied under the lift to Rodger’s Ridge, which also had some of the softest snow of the day. I finished with 28,700 vertical. It was a nice day but cold enough that I didn’t use the camera much.

We are still at Mammoth Wednesday night and will ski one more day. But we're tired so the rest will come later.

The good news is that Liz bought the Lange RX110 low volume Tuesday night, along with a custom footbed and had the liner heat molded. She skied 23K on Wednesday with no boot issues worth taking to Footloose.

Before anyone :brick: about the boot flex, the RX110 has two rivets to soften the boot to 100 or 90. Liz had one removed so she's starting at 100 and can go either way if the flex is not to her liking later.

Re: Mammoth, Dec. 16-19, 2019

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:23 pm
by tseeb
Tony Crocker wrote:Before anyone :brick: about the boot flex, the RX110 has two rivets to soften the boot to 110 or 90. Liz had one removed so she's starting at 100 and can go either way if the flex is not to her liking later.
I don't think you have to worry as you probably have to really irritate the person who threw bricks on Liz's last new boots flex as he has not posted here this year and last posts have been on RV, not skiing.

I bought new boots that so far work at least as well as my old boot that had 395 days. I was concerned that something could break during long road trip to Mustang and I'd be somewhat SOL. My old boots were probably Lange RX 130 with upper rivet removed. The new ones are Lange LX 120 that come with a 102 mm last, which is only 10 mm or so narrower than my feet. I've skied four days on them and probably will have the one on my always troublesome, shorter and wider, right foot punched where (imaginary) 6th toe would be.

Re: Mammoth, Dec. 16-19, 2019

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:10 pm
by Tony Crocker
Tuesday was an unusual weather day for Mammoth. It was uniform high overcast as is common at northern ski areas. However it was warmer than Monday, 20-25F midday with almost no wind. The packed powder snow seemed a bit more forgiving than the colder prior day. Liz had the 110 low volume Lange in the morning and a Dalbello in the afternoon as the mid volume Lange was unavailable.

Most of Tuesday we covered similar terrain as Monday. Without the upslope wind the upper mountain attracted more people. Cornice and Saddle Bowl here:

Liz on Cornice in a quieter moment:

View north to Scotty’s and the Paranoids:

On a calmer day it was worth checking that out. Garry on Paranoid 1:

The other place more comfortable to reach was Dave’s Run, which had the softest snow on the upper mountain. Garry and I skied there first and returned late to nearby Roma’s with Liz.

The Hulk survives into his sixth season near the top of chair 23.

On Dec. 6 the Hulk was buried in snow except for his right shoulder.

New this season there are more action figures on the rocks near Gravy Chute and chair 1.


And Superman is still in place for a second season near chair 22.

I had also not noticed before this memorial plaque high on the rock next to chair 14.

On an overcast day 14 was a good place to be in late afternoon. Departing 14 around 3:15 the light was very flat on Scotty’s. On an overcast December day, it’s probably best to avoid the wide open alpine areas before 9AM or after 3PM. I skied 23,600 on Tuesday.

Re: Mammoth, Dec. 16-19, 2019

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:10 pm
by Tony Crocker
Wednesday had been predicted an unsettled weather day for some time. It did not bring snow but of course it brought wind. Even though temperatures were around 20F, chair rides like 16, 2 and 5 were bone chilling. Chair 3 had little wind in the morning and chairs 1 and 22 only at the very top. 14 would have been brutal with the wind coming from that direction. Snow was similar to Monday and a bit firmer than Tuesday. There were subtle signs that the wind might be smoothing out some of the upper terrain, but that didn’t really have much impact until Thursday.

Surprisingly the top was open all morning so we used the gondola to get up there and ski Cornice, Climax and a traverse into Drop Out 3. I skied Drop Out 1 from 23 before we moved to the east side of the mountain for more comfort, eventually stopping at Eagle for lunch. I got in one run on Chair 22, Grizzly, which had the softest snow of the trip so far.

In the afternoon the wind cranked up harder. All of the upper and mid-level lifts closed around 1:30PM. Here’s the view of the upper mountain from the top of chair 15.

That’s blowing snow, not fog up there.

We crossed to chair 2 to ski Rodger’s Ridge, then skied back to Canyon and called it a day before 3PM.

Thursday lived up to its prediction of calm and clear and was the best day of the trip. The wind smoothed out much of the upper terrain and softened some of it. Garry unfortunately had to get home early and missed it. Liz and I packed and got on the mountain at 10AM, planning to skip lunch and start driving home when we got tired.

We started from Canyon as on the other days, warming up on Wall Street, Broadway and Face of 3 before taking the gondola to the top. After Cornice we skied Drop Out 3, where the improved snow was much in evidence. Climax was improved too, but Dave’s was still best, widespread ego cruising with a considerable dose of windsift.

Liz was exploring some tree areas off chair 1 while I was on Climax and Dave’s. I skied Gold Hill on to chair 15, where I decided to check out FTO on my phone riding that longish lift alone. I was soon at the top, stuffed the phone in a pocket but did not zip it. When I next boarded chair 22 there was no phone in the unzipped pocket! #-o I skied an occasional tight route down the liftline of 22, then cut over to the top of 15 where I thought I had dropped the phone but no luck there. I skied back to 22, where the liftie had the phone, which probably fell out when I was loosening my boots for the prior chair ride.

I called Liz from 22, and she was conveniently riding 25, so we met there and skied the Sunshine Glades near the Grizzly Ridge line which Liz had skied Wednesday.

Next time up 22 we admired the view south to Lake Mary and Crystal Crag.

We skied Grizzly itself, which was just as good as on Wednesday.

Liz took an encore run there while I hiked around some scree to reach the rarely skied Avalanche 3.

We crossed the mountain to chair 2 and our final runs on 23. I skied Wipe Out 3 while Liz skied Drop Out 3. We went back up 23, down to 14 via Red’s Lake Run and Santiago Bowl. We got into Scotty’s/Monument just past 3PM, but with clear skies the visibility was no problem.

We skied down to Main. Liz crossed the lower mountain to Canyon while I took a last gondola for an encore on Dave’s. With the excellent conditions we skied until 3:45, total 26,100 for me.

I skied 102K vertical in the 4 days and Liz skied about 90K. She was skiing in the new boots with better control as well as comfort and needed no tweaks from Footloose before we left town.

Our new Tesla has more of a margin for cold weather driving with its rated range of 360 miles vs. 272 on our 2016 model. We used 335 rated miles driving the 205 miles to Lone Pine Sunday at high speed with some wind. The drive home Thursday was at 35F all the way to a dinner stop in Inyokern and past as far as Palmdale. We had never driven 14/395 at temps much below 50F before.