I needed to pick up my new 2020 Blizzard Bonafide skis, which i had shipped to Garry while on the road. On my way I thought why not check out Baldy and pick up my season pass?
I was aware that skiing might be marginal. The late January storms had opened all lifts, but chair 1 and 4 terrain had bare minimum snowpack even then and both closed to skiing a week ago. It also didn't help that it rained to the top for 2 hours Feb. 1, so ungroomed skiing has been tough since then.
I took my time and arrived after 10AM. The parking lot was occupied barely to the second level but there was a line of people waiting to redeem their reservations at the ticket window.
The mountain was on wind hold and chair 1 began loading shortly after I got to the ticket line at 10:21. One of the owners Ole looked at my season pass receipt and said I had to get in that line but that he would see what he could do. 15 minutes later he came back with a wristband and said I could get in the chair 1 line. I loaded chair 1 at 10:49 and here's what's left of Bentley's.
After a break at the Notch I loaded Thunder at 11:19, just 5 minutes after it had opened, so my timing was actually right on.
Skier/boarder traffic was very low. Nearly everyone there was sightseeing or snow tubing. So even though there were just 3 good groomed runs, they remained good the entire 3 1/2 hours I was there. Fire Road/Bonanza were in corn mode right away and Shortcut/Robin's not much later. Bonanza is the partially shaded dogleg gully at center:
Core of Thunder from Robin's through Skyline:
Bottom of Robin's:
Bottom of Emile's and Skyline:
The lower third of Skyline was bulletproof and never softened. But the cutoff to Tortilla Flats and lower Emile's was decently groomed and skied very well after 1PM.
Meanwhile not much is left on Chair 4.
The tubing park is in the lower right corner.
Upper Liftline and Emile's have adequate cover, but were icy and not smooth and I saw no one venture in here.
Note coverage in the above most sheltered sector of Baldy was deeper last April 22:
There was thin overcast and occasional wind. Temps were supposed to be mid-30's but it felt much colder than the sunny day at Squaw Valley Wednesday. I wore glasses and a standard issue paper mask and it worked OK.
There was enough sun for the ocean reflection highlighting the ships between L.A./Long Beach harbors and Catalina.
The day ended with a not surprising Baldy anecdote. I skied 15,300 vertical and downloaded chair 1 at 2:45. I figured I could then walk right into the ticket office and get my pass. They were open, but no passes available, as the printer was out of ink and had been for at least two days. They said come back later in the week. I'll be back on the road by the end of the week so I said maybe in late March.