Where did we leave off? Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years and everything in-between has come and gone and so have the crowds. And apparently nobody brought snow with them on their visit to the Eastern Sierra. That’s okay – Mountain Ops has us (and the Mountain) covered. And even with temps shifting upwards they’ve still managed to expand rideable terrain.
Having departed for much of the holidays, knowing full well that December finished as dry as it had started (2″ total for the month) and with temps on the rise, I was skeptical as to what I might find upon returning to my home mountain. Well, one run into my day and I was as impressed as ever: the snow was excellent. Also, after a quick tour of the mountain I was pleased to find that some thoughtful trail/spur improvements/additions had been made, greatly reducing congestion issues for previous trouble spots. Congratulations is in order for the Mountain – they’ve stepped up to the unique challenge presented thus far by the 2011/2012 season and provided us with some outstanding skiing/riding conditions. Like so many others, I’m a paying pass-holder: while I can’t really expect MMSA to deliver snowfall, I can be appreciative of an all-out effort by the Mountain and its staff to give us some great turns when Mother-Nature gets a little gun-shy.
- It’s Mid-January = the mountain is all yours. A great time to get in a ton of runs; a really great time to pull the kids out of school for a ski get-away.
- Nearly all Beginner Terrain is open.
- Snow quality is great: early-birds are rewarded with great cords.
- Runs like Solitude, Broadway and Rollercoaster have great pockets of loosened granular all day.
- Getting around the mountain is much improved – no need to head to Chair 2 to get to Main from Canyon: the traverse from the top of Chair 5 to the face of 3 is now open.
- Yes, it’s still the man-made stuff. Keep your speed in check and give yourself more of a cushion (around other snow-sliders) than you think necessary because patches of ice will sneak up on you.
- With the same runs being groomed nightly (and shredded daily) it is inevitable that loose rocks will surface – even the extra cautious are bound to get a few nicks and scrapes on their gear.
- Temps have trended up slightly, limiting current snowmaking pursuits a bit.
- 4 parks open: Main, Forest Trail, South Park, Wonderland (mini-shred close to Canyon Lodge).
- The Super Pipe is awesome: my dull edges weren’t holding well on the shaded wall; sunny wall grip was perfect. Having been cut many times over now, the pipe’s walls are starting to get a little under-vert.
- Main has received a bit of a make-over – new jibs and “show-time” (marquee 50’+ booter at the bottom) is back.
- New Snow: None. My gut is talking to me… it says, “something’s not that far off.”
- Base: 1′-3′
- Weather: Little warmer this week (highs reaching into the 50s); looks to cool off a touch by the week-end though.
- Conditions: Man-made, groomed daily.
- Lifts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 25 and Panorama Gondi (top & bottom), Village Gondi.
- Runs: 447 Acres now open.
- 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: new snow is not that far out (says my gut, or is that just many helpings of Holiday fare)… get here and get in some great riding before the “surge” arrives (surge of people, that is).