Garry had warned me how much snow had melted, but it was still a shock to see the Notch area completely melted out.
I only had to walk a little bit to my left to put my skis on and ski a strip into the beginner gulch and down to Thunder. But there's only a patch to unload chair 2 (far right of pic above) and you have to walk from there to download chair 1 when you're done skiing.
The pic above shows the core area of Thunder, but I zoomed a couple to show changes since last week. Here are Emile's and Skyline.
Lower Skyline is history, so you divert along the red line into Tortilla Flats to lower Emile's. This run skied well the entire time I was there (5x in all) despite the narrow section where the arrow is pointing. That section reminded me of the time I skied Goat at Stowe.
Here are Bonanza at left and Goldridge at right.
Bonanza is the only low intermediate run on Thunder, skied well to 11AM or so, and there were some kids learning there that I didn't see last week. I did venture down Goldridge and the steep section at the bottom needed to be skied precisely.
Here's the lower part of Robin's.
This area can lose snow fast, so it's evident that management put some effort in to keep it this wide.
And finally here's the bottom of Emile's and Skyline, where I touted the excellent cover a week ago.
So no surprise Garry was right and May 3 will be Mt. Baldy's last day.
However the weather forecasts were right and the heat moderated Friday vs. the scorching temperatures of April 23-28. The San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire were under a thick marine layer most of the morning.
Mt. Baldy village temperatures on the way down the hill were 11F cooler than last Friday. And when I made the error of venturing into Emile's on my fourth run about 10:15, some of it was shaded and quite crunchy. Despite that misstep the overall skiing Friday was qualitatively better than a week ago because the snow was more supportable. This was true even when I ventured into infrequently skied Robin's trees.
There was less variety because Liftline had some of the best skiing last week and here's what was left of it a week later.
The Shortcut upper part of Robin's was another place that was well maintained.
The Fire Road strip leading to Bonanza/Goldridge is visible above, and also Baldy's snowmaking reservoir at far upper left. There was a thin section of Robins just past the left turn below, but it was easy to traverse around that high to skier's left.
This was a typical lift line at Thunder.
I think the tent selling drinks and box lunches started last weekend.
Here's upper Emile's at its midday prime.
Emile's direct entry was burned off. Most people got there via a sketchy traverse looker's right from a break in the Skyline fence. I thought the traverse from the other direction by the lift was a bit cleaner after doing both twice.
View down Emile's after one of those traverses.
Skyline/Tortilla Flats and Emile's had good spring snow and not excessive slush even on my last runs around 1:30PM. I skied 17,300 vertical from 9:20-1:45.
This was my 40th and probably last ski day of the season. I managed to get in a May ski day and so have skied 6 or more months in every ski season since my 2004 divorce. My slow pace on very accessible backcountry days April 11 and 21 tell me that I'm not up to more arduous objectives like Mt. Baden-Powell and San Gorgonio. Ben and Adam did not get all the way up Mt. Baden-Powell last Saturday but the road was still gated and they had to ride bikes 3 miles to the trailhead before climbing.
I'll certainly drive a considerable distance if anywhere else opens, but odds of that aren't great. From Al's Blog A-Basin is prepared to open if permitted.
SoCal skiers must be amused to hear Colorado skiers hold up Mt. Baldy as a model. A liftie at Baldy heard that Wolf Creek was considering opening. https://unofficialnetworks.com/2020/04/ ... ning-plan/
But yesterday Colorado Governor Polis extended the state's blanket ski area shutdown to May 23.