Phrase of the Day: Traffic Control. ‘Tis the season… is it not? We basically have one grocery store in Mammoth Lakes (Vons) and when I stopped there last evening for a quick purchase I was instantly presented with an undeniable reality: Unofficial Mammoth Conditions Report | December 20, 2011 | Great Snow and High-Traffic Zones | Unofficial Networks

Unofficial Mammoth Conditions Report | December 20, 2011 | Great Snow and High-Traffic Zones

Corduroy at Mammoth Mountain.

Unofficial Mammoth Conditions Report | December 20, 2011 | Great Snow and High-Traffic Zones

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Unofficial Mammoth Conditions Report | December 20, 2011 | Great Snow and High-Traffic Zones

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Corduroy at Mammoth Mountain.

Some of that primo Cali. Corduroy – get it before it’s gone (which is usually by 9:30-10).

Phrase of the Day: Traffic Control. ‘Tis the season… is it not? We basically have one grocery store in Mammoth Lakes (Vons) and when I stopped there last evening for a quick purchase I was instantly presented with an undeniable reality: the Holidays are here! When every check-out line at Vons is cranking thru $1000s every hour you start to get a pretty good idea for what “traffic” on the Mountain will be like.

The challenge for the Mountain: is there enough terrain open and enough lifts in operation to keep on hill traffic under control? The current, short answer: for the most part, yes. There’s one interchange on the Mountain that is as I’ve never seen it before: Solitude, by the top of Chair 10. The Mountain is working its snowmaking staff well into overtime in an effort to alleviate pressure on this interchange, and others. The current challenge is that if you would like to go between Main Lodge/Stump Alley and the rest of the Mountain, you have to go through Chair 10. I anticipate that Spook will be open soon (perhaps as early as tomorrow) and this will greatly improve this situation.

ski snowboard run in California

Yikes! Ride up Chair 10 and you won't miss this site on Solitude (now that's ironic).

THE CONDITIONS

The PROS:

  • For every hectic/high-traffic zone on the Mountain, there are probably 10 zones w/o traffic (just look around a bit, you’ll find ‘em).
  • Temps are still plenty cold: snowmaking has been operating 24/7.
  • There is a ton of Beginner Terrain open all over the mountain; Chairs 7 & 17 are open but can get a bit congested at times – don’t forget about runs Holiday, Pumpkin and Sleepy Hollow by Chair 15 (very quiet over there today).
  • Snow quality is great: early-birds are rewarded w/ great cords.
  • Towards the end of the day I truly started to believe that heavy traffic zones were resulting in awesome loosened pockets of granular pow (don’t take this as an excuse to frequent them more often).
  • Face of 3 (Center Bowl only) is open (opened 2 days ago) – takes pressure off of Saddle Bowl.
  • Sun is shining.
snowmaking making ski snowboarding possible in California.

Face of 3/Center Bowl is a nice change of pace - free refills by the snow guns.

The CONS:

  • Catching on to the high-traffic zone theme here? Whenever you find yourself in one, use extra caution and control and slow down, PLEASE.
  • Temps are cold: wind has been out of the North which gives the air a wintery bite – be on the ready with warm gear (extra layer, hand warmers, neck gaiter, etc.).
  • With the increased amount of traffic it would appear that a higher volume of loosened rocks, pebbles, etc. are bubbling to the surface (it’s all loose = “damage” is very minimal).
  • Chair 2 was really the only lift to ever have a line today (this is a plus too, depending on how you look at it).
  • No more Cons – just appreciate the fact that you’re out w/ family and friends, enjoying one of the coolest activities ever, in one of the most beautiful places ever.
skiing and snowboarding in the Eastern Sierra.

Ahhhh, what a beautiful place! Warning: you are approaching the Solitude gauntlet.

PARK REPORT:

  • The Super Pipe is still running firm and fast: cold enough that even the sunny wall really isn’t softening.
  • Park Crew is grooming Main, South Park and Forest Trail to perfection every night.
  • Plenty of jumps and jibs to entertainment every level of park rat.
  • I got to lap Main w/ some very talented skiers and snowboarders today: I hope to have an edit out in the next 24hrs covering that.
skiing and snowboarding in California

This jump at Main Park has been a real crowd pleaser.

Skiing and Snowboarding terrain park at Mammoth

Interpretive panels at South Park: learning and playing rolled into one.

Freeskiing and snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain, CA.

Art Park + South Park = Pretty Sweet

The STATS:

  • New Snow: Nope. None forecasted for the near future either.
  • Base: 1′-2’+
  • Weather: Relatively cold (high 30s) and Sunny; light winds.
  • Conditions: Man-made, groomed daily.
  • Lifts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 25. Panorama Gondi (top & bottom) and Village Gondi.
  • Runs: 425 Acres and counting.
  • Sesame Street, East and West | St. Moritz | Broadway | Mambo | Silver Tip | Stump Alley | Powder Bowl | Ralphies | Saddle Bowl | Andy’s Double Gold | Cornice Bowl | Fascination | Wall | Easy Rider | Rollercoaster | Swell | Pumpkin | Bridges | Lower Sleepy Hollow | Downhill | Cloverleaf | Chickadee | Holiday | Festival | South Park | Main Park | Forest Trail Park | Lupin | Avalanche | Ski-School yards at Main, Canyon & Juniper | World Cup | Little Bird | Round About | Solitude | Over Easy | Center Bowl | Patrolman’s

Bottom line: ‘Tis the season to be merry and thankful for the skiing/riding that we have – let’s enjoy it responsibly, together.

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