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belated TR : mammoth june 4-7

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
well, this trip marked a few firsts for me:
first skiing out west
first skiing in june
first TR here

the original plan was to ski with friends at A-Basin for memorial day weekend, but early in may Pali, and then east face closed...the general consensus from maggots in the know was that there wouldn't be much else there to get excited about. my first priority for this trip was to find the kind of steep and scary terrain that's hard to come by in the east. partaking in the party scene at A-basin's beach would have to wait. so after a bit of agonizing, i decided i'd have to disappoint the friends, and book a solo trip to mammoth for a week later.
By memorial day, A-basin was down to about 10 blue runs (i would have been totally bummed); meanwhile mammoth was reporting a 10-13' base, had received fresh snow the weekend before...and the forecast called for blue skies for my days out. My call was the right one. A very hellish workweek later i was off - completely burnt out but ready to rejuvenate...
I made the final leg from Reno to Mammoth lakes by night, so only got to take in the stunning scenery around mammoth in the am on my way to mountain. 5 weeks and a couple of nasty heat waves after the chairs stopped running in VT and i was seeing more snow from a single vantage point than i may have seen all winter...so much sun and snow and so little time!

bumps, steeps, sun and snow...oh my!

I got a bit of a late start first day out...by the time i got to the summit (9:45 or so) the sun was blazing, the corn was getting deep & slushy, and i found myself getting a little lightheaded, dragging my skis to the cornice. blaming it on the jetlag and the previous day's diet of airplane+highway snacks, i'd totally forgotten i was now at 11K ft. free buzz.
As steep as the drops into climax, and then hangman's and MJB's looked, the snow was so soft and forgiving - and there was so much open terrain. the only places i'd skiied back home that presented that kind of pitch involved ice waterfalls, hidden stumps and rocks, and thick woods.

looking down hangman's hollow...

...and looking back up


the first day flew by, and being a sunday would be the first and last day on the gondola. after snapping a few more pics, i managed to catch one last run up the face lift. this time, instead of hitting the bumps, i took rooster tail, and experienced a bit of vertigo skiing toward down while the face of climax loomed ahead and above. one of the coolest little runs on the hill!needed a wider lens!


day 2-4 would be spent on chair 23. funny: the one chair where a fall would result in a body-shattering landing on jagged rocks - lacked safety bars! a nod to the hard-core, i figured, much like the unpadded lift towers at MAD. in this day of hyper-liability, we're trusted to be safe. good vibe.


3 more days of gorgeous weather, soft snow. i spent most of those days in the dropout and wipeout chutes, keeping an eye out for folks in the chutes beyond paranoid (that 'nervous helmet cam' video on TGR (http://www.adventurefilmworks.com/Videos/May10.mov) had me very intrigued) but i saw none and figured the cover was too thin. note to self: come back a few weeks earlier next year...) hit the salted groomers a few times each day - possibly the fastest and smoothest surface i'd ever skiied. some of the most scary/fast fun i'd ever had on groomed snow.

the final day i was joined the last few hours by a ripping tele skier named brian who was up for the short hike up to hangman's - where we found the best snow of the day. quick burn at the lot (first of the trip for me) a few more runs through hangman's, a first and only drop into paranoid (wow, the view of the minarets is even better from here!) - and before i knew it, patrol was ready for final sweep and we were getting chased down the hill.

last run: one more day out and i might have straightlined it! (easy to say from the computer keyboard)


brian dropping into paranoid



my four days were up and it was time to call it a season. it was the first day my legs were feeling jellylike by last runs...the following days would have been where the real report would have begun. next year, i'll have to plan for at least 7 ski days. in the lot i saw many of the same folks who'd been there the previous 3. one was on consecutive day 16...others planning to be out every day til closing. so much sun and snow and so little time!

the following morning i headed out for reno before 6am, and got to take in the scenery i'd missed on the way down. so many snowfields and chutes to my left as i headed up 395...



i had the sense that the spring trip to mammoth would become a yearly thing ...and that i'd have to start looking for a touring rig and plan to start exploring some of those beautiful lines i could see from the road.

Meanwhile, back home i see TR's continue to come in from northern CA in late june. with no snow-capped mountains anywhere in sight, or at least within a few hours' drive, it feels more and more like i'm living on the wrong coast. Meanwhile, thinking snow...and imagining a better winter that the last!
post #2 of 16
Thanks for that
post #3 of 16
great little trip, spring/summer skiing is great at mammoth, glad you enjoyed yourself.
post #4 of 16
Dude

Ovation is way steeper than that. That trail is wicked steep
post #5 of 16
Buckethead, what's this talk about moving west? You can't abandon us here. My theory is that living where the snow is good all the time is like being married. Sure, you can get some whenever you want, but pretty soon you're going to strip clubs, chatting up women in the supermarket, posting nude pictures of yourself on the Internet...okay, I'm not really sure of the point of this analogy and maybe I've revealed too much, but, still, come on, the East Coast rocks, dude!!!
post #6 of 16
PS Great trip report!
post #7 of 16

Thanks for Sharing

Yes the East slope of the Sierra's have been very good to us again this year. I will be at Mammoth to SKI!! on the 4th of July:

BTW you should submit this photo for the Epic Photo Arcive.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Dude
Ovation is way steeper than that. That trail is wicked steep
dude...steeper than what?

yes, ovation is steep, but is generally ice...unless it doesn't ever open (like last season)
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Buckethead, what's this talk about moving west? You can't abandon us here. My theory is that living where the snow is good all the time is like being married. Sure, you can get some whenever you want, but pretty soon you're going to strip clubs, chatting up women in the supermarket, posting nude pictures of yourself on the Internet...okay, I'm not really sure of the point of this analogy and maybe I've revealed too much, but, still, come on, the East Coast rocks, dude!!!
please, go on! zees ees very interrestink...

the concern is truly touching, though:

1. i would have to analogize it more as having a different hot girlfriend every day...exhausting yes, but impossible to turn down

2. i've been talking about moving for many years...it's not gonna happen too soon...and likely not before a first move north - which i've been talking about for a few years as well. and worry not, wherever i head, you'll have a place to crash and hang your skiis.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Thanks for that
glad to share...thanks

Quote:
great little trip, spring/summer skiing is great at mammoth, glad you enjoyed yourself.
thanks.

Quote:
Yes the East slope of the Sierra's have been very good to us again this year. I will be at Mammoth to SKI!! on the 4th of July
lucky you! ...and i'll submit the pic, thanks
post #11 of 16
By all means do submit that pic!

We enjoyed, actually LOVED Mammoth Jan. 4-10/06, and will do everything possible to return, next time in early May.

Thanks for the memories!
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfonse
Dude

Ovation is way steeper than that. That trail is wicked steep
I have been here and to Killington. Ovation is not steeper than this trust me, the first couple turns are like freefalling.

post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by moguljunkie
Buckethead, what's this talk about moving west? You can't abandon us here. My theory is that living where the snow is good all the time is like being married. Sure, you can get some whenever you want, but pretty soon you're going to strip clubs, chatting up women in the supermarket, posting nude pictures of yourself on the Internet...okay, I'm not really sure of the point of this analogy and maybe I've revealed too much, but, still, come on, the East Coast rocks, dude!!!

funny post I just dont see the sarcasms winky anywhere.

Also the snow isnt all ways good out there its just better more often, I have had my iciest days skiing at snowbird in early May, not back east.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
funny post I just dont see the sarcasms winky anywhere.
oh...you thought he was kidding, did you???

yea, i could imagine the big & steep hills being a tad bit challenging under icy conditions...but i'd expect any bad days are also offset by the longer season...and the abundant BC goods to explore after the chairs stop running.

all that said, i think mammoth would be fun if it was just a little firm and icy. you can take the skier out of the EC but you can't take the EC out of the skier...or something like that...
post #15 of 16
Ovation is very steep, sufficiently so that you will slide all the way down if you fall. (Yes, speaking from experience) It is probably my favorite trail at Killington for this reason, when it isn't bumped up anyway. Double Dipper is a close second for my favorite trail nomination.

Ovation stands out as being one of the very few trails that makes me think twice or thrice about whether or not it is a good idea to do it every time I take a run on it. I think it's the steepest I've skied, but who knows.
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by doublediamond223
Ovation is very steep, sufficiently so that you will slide all the way down if you fall. (Yes, speaking from experience) It is probably my favorite trail at Killington for this reason, when it isn't bumped up anyway. Double Dipper is a close second for my favorite trail nomination.

Ovation stands out as being one of the very few trails that makes me think twice or thrice about whether or not it is a good idea to do it every time I take a run on it. I think it's the steepest I've skied, but who knows.

Are you guys kidding? Yes Ovation is steep, but it's nothing to brag about. Sure it's steep in comparison to MOST east coast mountains, but come on now don't kid urself.

nice pictures by the way, I'm so jelous.
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