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High WINDS/Fog Mammoth vs. Tahoe???

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hola again!

During 12/29-1/11, is the High Wind and Fog a major problem at these resorts?

Is any one worse than the other?

post #2 of 12

Some thoughts

The top of Mammoth is exposed. The bottom of Mammoth is flatter, to generalize. Hence in bad conditions skiing at Mammoth is more limited. In Tahoe at least you've got a choice. If it's foggy or windy (or snowy) you want to ski tree lined runs. Typically on poor weather days folks head to Northstar or Homewood. And if it's really bad weather there are more options for things to do in the Tahoe Area, upto and including trying to escape to Reno if the roads are open. Good luck.
post #3 of 12
We skied Mammoth 3 days in Feb. One day the wind was so stong that several skiers and borders were either blown back onto the lift(which wouldn't stop) or just plain blown off their feet. On a last run of the day trying to get back to canyon lodge from the main lodge,it was blowing so hard that we couldn't see any trail signs or runs. You could ski a few feet and then the gusts would blow so that I had to crouch to stay upright. I know I'm a wimp but it wasn't just me about 6 borders and several skiers were huddled and we decided to stay close and lead one another down. Actually one of my most enjoyable experiences of the year.: WE MADE IT afterall and it was both fun and challenging.Never did get to Canyon lodge tho. Ended up at Eagle and had to drink till the ride made it over , tuff luck.: On the other hand one day at Kirkwood on top my wife was blown off her feet(skis). That was kinda fun too cause we were skiing off some really steep bowls but the wind was holding us up. Which is best? Probably depends on the day, and how much you like the wind!!!!
post #4 of 12
June Mt. is the trees-to-the-top, lifts-rarely-closed alternative to Mammoth, somewhat comparable to Northstar and Homewood. Squaw and Alpine have exactly the same weather issues as Mammoth. But Tahoe has many more bad weather/tree skiing options: Sierra-at-Tahoe, Mt. Rose, sometimes the Nevada side of Heavenly.
post #5 of 12
June is a great place to escape high winds at Mammoth, also a great place to escape nutty Saturday crowds too. June has some great stashes of powder and the 'face' offers some great skiing at lower elevations for experts.

I have skied at June when it was snowing and most lifts were shut at Mammoth and was one of three non-ski patrollers skiing. The ticket seller tried to talk me out of buying a ticket, but being from the East 'if there's snow we go' prevailed and I had a fabulous provate power day. The ski patrol was able to coach me on where to find good tree runs.

North-Star-at-Tahoe as others have pointed out is a good place to hide on low visibility days. The 'backside' trees are fabulous and sometimes a friendly local will show you some suprises. I have never skied Homewood so can't comment.
post #6 of 12
Originally Posted by Gpaul
Hola again!

During 12/29-1/11, is the High Wind and Fog a major problem at these resorts?

Is any one worse than the other?

I'll tell you on 12/28 if it is.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Tks all! ('cept Dunn...)

Is June a good Groomed Intermediate mountain? Good for 2 days?
post #8 of 12
No, most likely not, particularly the two-day part. (But depends on the skier, right?) Certainly worth checking for one day to decide for yourself. Most of the blue you see in the map is pretty flattish, by the way.

post #9 of 12
The groomed blues are very flat. June is one of the best beginner mountains anywhere. Better than Northstar because it's never crowded. The steep face runs are generally skiable only in big snow years like this one.

June is worth the trip to avoid a bad weather day at Mammoth. 20 years ago I would have said go there to avoid big crowd days at Mammoth, but Mammoth's lift capacity is so high now that you can always find several lifts with short or no lines if everything is open. Mammoth's lift lines are worst on the storm shutdown days when everyone is forced on to just a few of them. Another reason to choose June then. My rule-of-thumb: If mid-mountain exposed lifts 1, 3, 5, 22 are closed, consider going to June.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Tks ryan and Tony, good rule of thumb btw. Is Mammoth really manageable on crowded, nice days?

Besides the unavoidable dump at Mammoth, are sunny days more frequent there than Heavenly/Squaw, in very early January?
post #11 of 12
Mammoth had such huge crowds in the 1970's that Dave McCoy upped lift capacity in the 1980's to relieve them, and then season skier counts dropped in the 1990's. The skier counts are going back up now, but I think the weekend concentration is less than historically. I don't think I've skied less than 25K on on a full operation nice weather weekend day in the past several years. Mammoth's lift lines are noticeably shorter than Squaw, Heavenly, Vail, Whistler or Alta/Snowbird.

Sierra weather is highly correlated. The areas tend to get the same storms (very violent with lots of wind at Squaw, Alpine Meadows, Mammoth), and tend to be sunny otherwise. The chronic fog/overcast flat light mostly affects areas north of California/Utah/Colorado.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Tks Tony, great info. as usual.

I've actually never experienced bad fog in the US, just Canada and the Pyrenees (unskiable at times!).

All the best.
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