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Mammoth, Nov. 11-12, 2015

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Garry Klassen and I had a couple of days that could give anachronism at Wolf Creek a run for his money.  On Nov. 11 only Chairs 1, 3 and the gondola were open, but if you ranged farther afield and were willing put in a little work, there were impressive rewards.  Like these off the backside.

From here, you could take the long Roadunner trail around to the front.  But were too tempted to continue to this.

This put us at the bottom of Chair 14, where we had a 15 minute walk up a plowed road to ski back to Main Lodge.

 

We next arrived up top to the opening of Dave's Run.

 

But the best was yet to come.  We continued down through Chair 5 terrain, even though it required taking a bus shuttle back from the base of not yet open Chair 2.   I put the second track into Sliver, and here's Garry adding the third track.

 

 

I'll take this day over Wolf Creek's start.  The next day, not so much.  The Sierra snow sets up after we have hit the powder, and it's much tougher skiing than in the Rockies until it's gets packed out by wind or skier traffic.

 

As for opening some bony terrain, here's the opening of Climax today.

We were beat from Wednesday's skiing and took a pass on this.

 

Chair 2 opened today Thursday, adding several more groomed runs.

 

Detail report with more pics: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11909

 

While it’s warm during the day, the sun is low and the snow is not melt/freezing. It’s still 20F at night, so snowmaking is ongoing on the lower mountain. The second storm snowed 20 inches over the mountain as far as Canyon Lodge, but at lower elevation there is not the solid base from the first storm with heavier snow. I was informed that Chairs 4 and 5 are likely to be open by the weekend of Nov. 21-22.

 

I would expect a trail or two to Canyon Lodge by Thanksgiving based upon my observations during recent past lean seasons that didn’t have the natural snow start that we have now. The next storm early next week is projected to be a modest 8 inches, but the cold air with it will help snowmaking get more runs open for Thanksgiving.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 11/13/15 at 12:43am
post #2 of 17
Nice! Was it as uncrowded as it looks, or was that a result of getting into hike-out terrain? You guys have another healthy storm inbound, no? Will Mammoth open terrain when it has enough snow to ski, or will they wait for Thanksgiving to really open things up?

Last year at Wolf, high temps baked the mountain nearly every moment it wasn't snowing. Even when storms stopped that morning, the snow would start to melt in and mank up by the afternoon and rarely stayed powder after a day or two. It is refreshing that our snowpack is currently soft all the way down and I've come to treasure that a lot more this year instead of merely expecting it as a matter of course.
post #3 of 17

O hell ya Tony!!!  Great photos and 2nd and third run down Sliver is awesome.  Wish I didn't have so much on my plate this week so I could of snuck up there.  Maybe next week.

post #4 of 17

Excellent trip report! I'd love to be there right now.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

Nice! Was it as uncrowded as it looks, or was that a result of getting into hike-out terrain? You guys have another healthy storm inbound, no? Will Mammoth open terrain when it has enough snow to ski, or will they wait for Thanksgiving to really open things up?
   

Mostly being in hike out terrain except when you get lucky with timing an opening.  I have skied Mammoth 322 days since 1978 and Garry has been skiing there since 1963.  That probably raises our odds in the powder competition a little. :D  Next storm Sunday is supposed to be about 8 inches, much smaller than the previous two, but should still keep progress going toward Thanksgiving, especially with cold air for snowmaking behind it.

 

In the discussions about crowds vs. terrain vs. lift capacity Mammoth is one of those places with huge lift capacity to keep things flowing smoothly for its weekend concentrated customers.  This makes it essentially liftline proof midweek under any kind of normal circumstances.

 

One of the consequences is that terrain gets tracked out very fast on powder days even though Mammoth is vast. That calculation in another thread about each skier tracking out X acres a day certainly resonated with my Mammoth experience.

 

Mammoth's worst lift lines occur when lift operation is limited.  On Wednesday the road was parked solid for 1 1/2 miles below Main Lodge.  I expected the lines to get very bad but they peaked at 10 minutes on our third gondola at 10:15AM and declined after that.  I really have no idea where all those people were as the slopes were not congested.  But powder tracking is different, as it only takes a few hundred people to do that.

 

I think Mammoth manages its terrain opening very well.  As you can see they are on the liberal side vs. most areas (though not Wolf) for the expert natural terrain.  On the first big opening after a storm they let us get after it pretty well.  The second day, after it's been chewed up, they groom quite intensively.  In this case they got an extra chair and 3 more groomed runs. Some of the steeper places they normally groom, like face of 3 and Cornice, they had to leave alone because it's still a bit too low tide and would be counterproductive until there is more snow.

 

2004, when Mammoth had 82 inches in October, was the benchmark for

Quote:
will they wait for Thanksgiving to really open things up?

Mammoth can run 2000+ acres of terrain on 5-6 chairs + the gondola and that's what they did in late October/November 2004. This is what can be done with permanent staff and what we see routinely in May of good years.  Now they probably have 800-1,000 acres open.

 

Seasonal staff is there to potentially run everything from Thanksgiving to late April. This means 3,500 acres, the major facility at Canyon Lodge and 25+ lifts.  This is why I get annoyed reading about horrendous lines at Snowbird on late April/May powder days.  I call :bs: on areas not willing to use permanent staff to keep the lines manageable. Mammoth projects expected visits in the short term and varies lift operations in the shoulder seasons (mainly weekend vs. midweek but I've seen powder day additions also) accordingly.

 

The lower mountain toward Canyon got the second low density storm but mostly rain from first high density storm.  Thus packing and snowmaking will be needed to expand in that direction.  The groomed exit from the Chair 5 area to the bottom of 2 still had a few brown spots, and I'm sure they want snowmaking coverage on that before opening to general skier traffic.  As noted before, I expect that (opening chairs 4 and 5) within a week and a trail or two to get Canyon open by Thanksgiving.

 

Quote:
high temps baked the mountain..

High temp was 46 yesterday but at this time of year that won't melt north facing terrain at 9,000+.  I'm sure this is true at Wolf also.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 11/13/15 at 7:08pm
post #6 of 17

Great shot's.

post #7 of 17

Tony, nice report, looks very good for this early.

post #8 of 17

Mr. Crocker, looks like you have made a deal with Thor, of Mjolnir fame to wield his hammer and unleash the flakes wherever you are. Nice to be the chosen one! Very lucky dude.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

Garry Klassen and I had a couple of days that could give anachronism at Wolf Creek a run for his money.  On Nov. 11 only Chairs 1, 3 and the gondola were open, but if you ranged farther afield and were willing put in a little work, there were impressive rewards.  Like these off the backside.

From here, you could take the long Roadunner trail around to the front.  But were too tempted to continue to this.

This put us at the bottom of Chair 14, where we had a 15 minute walk up a plowed road to ski back to Main Lodge.

 

We next arrived up top to the opening of Dave's Run.

 

But the best was yet to come.  We continued down through Chair 5 terrain, even though it required taking a bus shuttle back from the base of not yet open Chair 2.   I put the second track into Sliver, and here's Garry adding the third track.

 

 

I'll take this day over Wolf Creek's start.  The next day, not so much.  The Sierra snow sets up after we have hit the powder, and it's much tougher skiing than in the Rockies until it's gets packed out by wind or skier traffic.

 

As for opening some bony terrain, here's the opening of Climax today.

We were beat from Wednesday's skiing and took a pass on this.

 

Chair 2 opened today Thursday, adding several more groomed runs.

 

Detail report with more pics: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11909

 

While it’s warm during the day, the sun is low and the snow is not melt/freezing. It’s still 20F at night, so snowmaking is ongoing on the lower mountain. The second storm snowed 20 inches over the mountain as far as Canyon Lodge, but at lower elevation there is not the solid base from the first storm with heavier snow. I was informed that Chairs 4 and 5 are likely to be open by the weekend of Nov. 21-22.

 

I would expect a trail or two to Canyon Lodge by Thanksgiving based upon my observations during recent past lean seasons that didn’t have the natural snow start that we have now. The next storm early next week is projected to be a modest 8 inches, but the cold air with it will help snowmaking get more runs open for Thanksgiving.

post #9 of 17

What's most impressive is that you stopped and took the few seconds to take a few pictures ....

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwcski1 View Post
 

What's most impressive is that you stopped and took the few seconds to take a few pictures ....

We did not stop at all on the first run off the backside.  Getting photographic evidence was one of the reasons we went back for an encore.  When I skied Sliver and looked back I knew I might get some of my best ski pics. Fortunately Garry was not hot on my trail so I had time to be ready for him.

 

I'm really glad I did this because we're back at Mammoth now and unfortunately the ungroomed snow is wind-hammered and a lot of work.

 

Quote = Dustyfog:
Nice to be the chosen one! Very lucky dude.

With my record keeping I can answer this question.  My track record for powder overall is OK but in Utah it's unbelievably bad.   In 100+ days of advance scheduled Utah trips I've averaged 48% of expected snowfall. But trips like this one aren't random. I decided to go 2 days ahead and hit the first day the top of Mammoth opened after a 20-inch storm.  I tried to repeat the exercise this week after 8-12 inches but the fresh snow was not so good this time.

 

For powder chasing there is no substitute for living close  to an area with good powder potential. Mt. Baldy, one hour from my house but with notoriously erratic snowfall, is the site of 3 of my top 10 lift served powder days.  Alas, those were in 1991, 1998 and 2001. With the big El Nino I hope to add to that Baldy list this season.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 11/17/15 at 5:56pm
post #11 of 17

Is there anything worth skiing off the top?  I'm going next week Mon-Tues and was looking forward to some laps off the Gondola.

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by river-z View Post
 

Is there anything worth skiing off the top?  I'm going next week Mon-Tues and was looking forward to some laps off the Gondola.

Dave's is the best off the top. Anything else is a lot of work now.  When 14 opens this weekend that should be a promising area to ski.

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Nice to be the chosen one! Very lucky dude.
With my record keeping I can answer this question.  My track record for powder overall is OK but in Utah it's unbelievably bad.   In 100+ days of advance scheduled Utah trips I've averaged 48% of expected snowfall. But trips like this one aren't random. I decided to go 2 days ahead and hit the first day the top of Mammoth opened after a 20-inch storm.  I tried to repeat the exercise this week after 8-12 inches but the fresh snow was not so good this time.

For powder chasing there is no substitute for living close  to an area with good powder potential. Mt. Baldy, one hour from my house but with notoriously erratic snowfall, is the site of 3 of my top 10 lift served powder days.  Alas, those were in 1991, 1998 and 2001. With the big El Nino I hope to add to that Baldy list this season.
[/quote]

Tony, since you mentioned Mt Baldy, any thoughts on Mt Waterman? I haven't been there yet.
Sorry to hear about your luck in Utah.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

Mt. Waterman has maybe 1/4 the acreage of Baldy. More if you ski off-piste and hitch back up the road to the ski area.

 

Due to the financial issues and near death experiences over the past decade, Mt. Waterman is close to being a forgotten area. Consequently it has low competition on powder days vs. Baldy.  The powder skiing is all in the trees, but you can easily get fresh tracks all day on the first day after a storm, as I did on Saturday of President's weekend in 2009.  http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=7689

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

Mt. Waterman has maybe 1/4 the acreage of Baldy. More if you ski off-piste and hitch back up the road to the ski area.

 

Due to the financial issues and near death experiences over the past decade, Mt. Waterman is close to being a forgotten area. Consequently it has low competition on powder days vs. Baldy.  The powder skiing is all in the trees, but you can easily get fresh tracks all day on the first day after a storm, as I did on Saturday of President's weekend in 2009.  http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=7689

 

Hmm.... if I quote your post, Tony, it shows up like this ^^^ 

 

But what I see prior to quoting is "The post above is mine.I have no clue why it's shown under Rainbow Jenny,s ID. I have not admin privileges on Epic.".

 

Looks like something is wonky with the quote or multi-quoting in this thread.

 

EDIT : Everything looks fine now... I may have just been crossing edits with Tony as his post changed or something... hmm.

post #16 of 17

I was cutting and pasting the relevant lines on a smartphone in my reply,  must have edited out some formatting commands by mistake since portion of what Tony posted is now attributed to me.:dunno

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainbow Jenny View Post
 

I was cutting and pasting the relevant lines on a smartphone in my reply,  must have edited out some formatting commands by mistake since portion of what Tony posted is now attributed to me.:dunno


Yeah, that's been happening more often recently as more and more people type and edit on mobile devices.

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