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mammoth end of May? yay or nay

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Have the opportunity to ski Mammoth the 27 amd 28th of May. What do the locals think it will be like? I've heard they ski later than that at Mammoth, is it worth the 8hr ride that time of year?
post #2 of 13


from Epic's own Tony Crocker:

"Mammoth's suitability for spring skiing is primarily due to exceptional snow preservation. The heavier snow of the Sierra and Cascades accumulates higher base depths than the drier snow in the Rockies. However, the altitude range of 8,000 to 11,000 feet is unique to the Pacific states and is comparable to Aspen, Vail or Snowbird. Nearly all the steep runs drop north from a long ridge at the top of the mountain. Most of the advanced runs will remain packed powder well into April, and only Snowbird would likely offer as much terrain with winter conditions as far into the spring. Most skiers would find Mammoth in full operation in April to be superior to Mt. Bachelor. Mammoth normally opens about half its terrain (That's still 1,500-2,000 acres) in May and closes on Memorial Day. In high snow years (10 out of the past 30) Mammoth will open 500-1,000 acres of skiing until the 4th of July. Despite the volatility of California's snowfall, Mammoth has failed to remain open through Memorial Day only 3 of the past 30 years. Mammoth, like Mt. Bachelor, salts its groomed runs when necessary."


This IS a "high snow year," by the way.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Mammoth, like Mt. Bachelor, salts its groomed runs when necessary."
Ryan, thanks, but what does the salt do? besides a "salty snow cone"
post #4 of 13
I plan to go 1s weekend of June.
post #5 of 13
Rumor I heard was the Mammoth is planning to stay open until July 11th currently. I'll definitly be heading down that way this spring.

Salting the runs creates an ice layer on top of the runs that helps preserve the snow (it melts off in the heat of the day).
post #6 of 13
Originally Posted by mkevenson
Ryan, thanks, but what does the salt do? besides a "salty snow cone"
It makes the snow taste bad so people don't eat it, and thus further reducing the snowpack

Mammoth is always worth it that time of year, warm days, ski in the morning, golf or bike in teh afternoon. Ahhh, I cannot wait for memorial day. Oh yea, since they ahve only 1 base area open, be prepared for a full parking lot too.
post #7 of 13
I always thought that the salt melts the early morning ice. Freezing point depression. They throw it out in the morning and sprinkle it around the gates before race training.
post #8 of 13
I believe the salt absorbs the water as the surface layer is melting. The effect is to prolong the corn phase and delay the onset of sticky/slushy conditions. Mammoth salts most of its groomed runs starting sometime in May.

July 4 is the likely closing date. They do make money on the holiday weekend, and it's hard to imagine the snow not lasting until then considering what's there now. See for yourself from last weekend: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boa...opic.php?t=964

I am up there most Memorial weekends and rarely disappointed. This will probably be the best one since 1995.
post #9 of 13
Go!!! This would be the year, they got snow early and often. As I mentioned in another thread we skied on the 4th of July weekend a few years ago and it was very good. We skied in the am and took a shuttle up in the afternoon and there are a few trails to mtn bike down, awsome time.
post #10 of 13
Well my son has decided he wants to go ski for his birthday - which is May 23. From this thread it sounds like Mammoth is the destination of choice.

The issue is though, he is a weak intermediate skier (first season).

Could anyone speculate on how many beginner and easy blue trails are usually open this time of year?

post #11 of 13
In general flatter runs don't do well at that time of year because the snow is very sticky. It is essential IMHO that you take your son somewhere that does extensive grooming and salting. That means I would consider only Mammoth and Bachelor, and for this season Mammoth is definitely preferred.

What will be open for sure, groomed and salted:
Chair 2, 1000 vertical:
Stump Alley, wide average blue, fairly busy
Mambo, easy blue
Chair 1, 1000 vertical:
Forest Trail, easy blue, also with easier terrain park features
Unbound Terrain Park, the big hits and halfpipes
Broadway, wide average blue, fairly busy
straight off 1, past chair 23 to St. Anton, average blue upper, easier blue lower
Powder Bowl, Fascination, groomed single black, often used for racing early morning, thus excellent corn midday
Chair 3, 900 vertical:
Frontside will have at least one groomed single black
Backside Saddle Bowl is average blue with nice views of the expert runs coming down from the top.
From the back of 3 you can also ski the full ~1,500 vertical of St. Anton
Chair 11, 200 vertical:
2 beginner runs, In May they will still get sticky by late morning

With the deep coverage other sectors could be open, but the criteria will probably be how many people are there. Chairs 4, 10 and 12 give you a whole bunch more blue runs. 4 and 10 were open Memorial weekend 2 years ago and 12 was open Memorial weekend 1998. Midweek I would not count on anything more than what I listed above.
post #12 of 13
Great info!

Thanks Tony
post #13 of 13
Hell yes!!
Good base this year. Locals are nice and relaxed between spring summer. It will be relaxed pace, and it looks like there will be more snow that dirt/ rock this year. If you haven't been by all means give it a ride.

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