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Best time for Mammoth?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi all.

Typically, what is the best time to hit Mammoth?
post #2 of 18
After Chistmas Vacation is over... But October 20th 2004 was just a good as Jan Feb or March.
post #3 of 18
Originally Posted by eblackwelder View Post
Hi all.

Typically, what is the best time to hit Mammoth?
When there is enough snow on the ground to keep you off the rocks or dirt and when the wind is less than a gale!:
post #4 of 18
Springtime is the right time!!!

Right after most other areas shut in mid-April Mammoth goes off!

California sunshine, and tons of snow!!!

post #5 of 18
I went in April 2005. Sunny drive up from LA, on the climb to Mammoth after Bishop it began to cloud over, at Mammoth it started snowing (late afternoon). Woke up the next day (a Monday) to 15 inches of fresh snow, a bluebird day and some very quiet slopes. We had a blast. The sun stayed out until Thursday when it snowed a bit more and then we had the weekend, when it was a bit busier but nothing to get over excited about. I had no complaints in April. I cant remember what the snowbase was then but it was something ridiculously large. The snow banks on the road side were maybe 10 to 12 feet high.
post #6 of 18
I would think that you would want to hit it right after a snowfall because then your fist wouldn't get too black and blue from socking the hard ground.
post #7 of 18
May is awsome at Mammoth! Most of L.A. is there during the winter.
post #8 of 18
I have a large volume of data on this subject. Relative to other ski areas Mammoth does stand out in April and May. The entire mountain will be open until the last or next-to-last weekend in April, then 50-60% of terrain including all of the upper mountain steeps (but not chair 22) until Memorial Day. Past that depends on snowpack but they make it to July 4 in about 30% of seasons.

I have 43 lifetime ski days at Mammoth between March 31 and April 13:
At least 80% of terrain is powder/packed powder 44% of the time
50-70% of terrain is powder/packed powder 26% of the time
10-40% of terrain is powder/packed powder 19% of the time
The entire mountain has spring conditions 11% of the time
This is why Mammoth is a premier spring break destination and this is generally my favorite time of year to ski there.

I have another 13 days between April 16 and April 26 and 16 days between April 30 and May 15. Combining and smoothing some, I make the following estimates:
At least 50% of terrain is powder/packed powder about 10% of the time (basically the chance of hitting a storm)
10-40% of terrain is powder/packed powder about 2/3 of the time in the second half of April but only 1/4 of the time in early May.
The entire mountain has spring conditions about 1/4 of the time in the second half of April and 2/3 of the time in early May.

The terrain that stays dry into late April (with assistance from Mammoth's chronic wind IMHO) is the upper mountain steeps. Midwinter I've seen this terrain go an entire month with no new snow and still have packed powder conditions. Spring conditions at Mammoth are superior to most areas because of intense grooming (and salting in May and later) of the intermedate runs and regular freeze/melt/corn cycles up above in spring.

Mammoth's main issue is wind/visibility/avalanche control closure of the upper mountain. This occurs roughly 1/4 of days before mid-April.

With snowfall volatility coverage of advanced terrain is inadequate at New Year's about 1/4 of seasons and at first of February about 1/10 of seasons. There are 430 acres (out of 3500) with snowmaking which can be reliably covered by early December at Mammoth's altitude.
post #9 of 18
What Tony said. But also this: as great as Mammoth is in the spring, getting there while chair 22 is running ans has good snow is really worth it if you like steep bumps and steep trees and a pretty much infinate variety of lines.
post #10 of 18
I love number's but, for real men and woman, chair 22 runs are almost always open!!! lol
post #11 of 18
Chair 22 is usually the answer to those top shutdown days. If the weather is nasty enough to shut down 3, 5 and 22 consider going to June Mt.
post #12 of 18
What Tony said (in post 8, not post 11).

IMHO, spring is the best time to ski the Sierra. The base is at its peak. If there's precipitation, it's usually snow; and if not, it's usually bluebird, and you only need a shell. The crowds diminish starting in early March, and virtually disappear by late March or early April, as the non-obsessed turn to springtime pursuits like baseball.

December is worth skiing only in comparison to not skiing.
post #13 of 18
December skiing at Mammoth before Christmas can be amazing. Like my 72K vertical in one weekend Dec. 18-19, 2004. But that's advice for us within drive distance, not necessarily for those who must book ahead before snow is (or is not) on the ground.

Mammoth's spring skiing virtues are well enough known that late March and April are not as empty as at many destination resorts. But lift capacity is huge to handle weekend-concentrated business. Midweek lines are minimal. It takes combination of weekend crowds plus lift shutdowns for weather to generate significant lines. If everything is open you can always find an uncrowded part of the mountain.
post #14 of 18
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
Chair 22 is usually the answer to those top shutdown days. If the weather is nasty enough to shut down 3, 5 and 22 consider going to June Mt.
Although one of the best days I had at Mammoth last year had Chair 1 shut down for wind by lunchtime! Which meant laps in the trees behind 8, in 6 inches of fresh . . .
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks for all the replies. Sounds like it has some great spring conditions. Unfortunately, I have time of the year restrictions due to the group I go out west with. This means probably going out before late March.

So, more specifically, between January and mid-March, is there typically a better time for more coverage, better pow, less wind issues, etc.., or is it a crapshoot?
post #16 of 18
Snow coverage is usually not an isssue at Mammoth, the weather is. Large storms often close the top of the mountain, sometimes for long periods. Early Jan. or March are your best bet, but still a crapshoot. Just avoid weekends and holidays.
post #17 of 18
Frankly, I think Heavenly has the worse lines of any California resort...and maybe Northstar after that. (10-15+ min on core lifts)

Squaw and Mammoth are not that bad.

Reality and what is spewed on this board are different.

Mammoth sucks during heavy winds or big blizzards for lift closures, but you cannot predict that.
post #18 of 18
When I started skiing in the late 1970's Mammoth had a well deserved reputation for severe liftlines. But that's ancient history now. Mammoth's lines are below average for a major destination resort.

The risk is for the severe weather shutdowns, and that is a crapshoot.
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