Ahhh, winter looks great when it looks like winter. Last night the wind howled, the rain fell in sheets, temps were in the 40s and we were held in suspense, wondering when we would finally start to see the snow fall. Unofficial Mammoth Conditions Report | 2 Month Dry Spell Ends With Pow! | January 21 2012 | Unofficial Networks

Unofficial Mammoth Conditions Report | 2 Month Dry Spell Ends With Pow! | January 21 2012

new snow at Mammoth Mountain

Unofficial Mammoth Conditions Report | 2 Month Dry Spell Ends With Pow! | January 21 2012

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Unofficial Mammoth Conditions Report | 2 Month Dry Spell Ends With Pow! | January 21 2012

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Ahhh, winter looks great when it looks like winter. Last night the wind howled, the rain fell in sheets, temps were in the 40s and we were held in suspense, wondering when we would finally start to see the snow fall. Yes, the upper half of Mammoth saw snowfall all day Friday, yet as day turned to night temps were beginning to creep up, allowing doubts to creep into our minds as to whether this storm would in fact deliver. Fortunately not only did we awake to 5+ inches of white today at town elevation but you could here a familiar, unfamiliar sound: Ski Patrol was setting charges, doing Avi control work for the first time in a long time.

This morning, as daylight approached, the snow level dropped and the snow began to stack up, even at the Mountain’s lowest base area, Juniper Springs. Strong winds persisted today which ultimately limited chairlift operation to those around Canyon Lodge (iced up lift cables was surely a factor too). For nearly all of the morning the only lifts in operation on the entire mountain were Chairs 7 and 8: the lift line at 8 got to be as big as ever. Eventually lifts 4, 10, 11, 16, and 17 were in operation as well, helping to dissipate crowds and present more fresh turn opportunities.

The conditions? Man, after months of man-made only, making turns on some of Mother-Nature’s own was heavenly. How much did it actually snow on the mountain? That’s hard to say… If it wasn’t already obvious, yes, the storm came in hot and wet. The benefit: the base gets reset – some places just get a base, period. As temps finally dropped this morning a drier snow began to fall, delivering a fresh 12” (give or take) of powder for the runs in the Canyon area. And with mostly low-angle runs as an option the amount of new snow was just right.

Powder skiing and snowboarding in California

Canyon Lodge, the hub of activity for Saturday.

THE CONDITIONS

The PROS:

  • 1-2’ of Mother-Nature’s good stuff fell in the past 24hrs– the Mountain is looking SO much better now.
  • Snow continued to fall for most of the day.
  • Due to high winds and iced-up lift cables, much of the Mountain remained untouched – “kids” are  gonna be chomping at the bit tomorrow.
  • Stick to the previously established runs and no need to worry about rocks.
  • Temps dropped all day long (currently in the low 20s) which means everything should be holding fresh for now.
  • The Mountain’s new powder day Green, Red, Blue, Yellow flag system is a plus. I would say it helps to take a good bit of guess work out of making lift decisions/choices; as you roll up on a chair you instantly have a ball-park idea as to when it will open, if at all.
Fresh powder for great skiing and snowboarding in California.

Chair 8 - Now this is much more like what January should look like.

The CONS:

  • Wind was blasting for much of the day. This isn’t really a problem if you come prepared w/ some the storm day basics, i.e. balaclava, warm mittens/gloves, warm layers, etc.
  • Lift lines could be a bother. Not much you can do about that though: the Mountain will open all lifts it can within it’s capacity (thankfully safety takes precendent).
  • Going off-piste is still far from recommended. Most runs are seeing snow for the first time in 2012; wait ‘til these have a base before you destroy your equipment and/or yourself.
Chair lift line at Mammoth Mountain.

I got in 5 great runs off of Chair 4 before "Liftzilla" decided to make an appearance.

Great skiing and snowboarding in the Eastern Sierra.

Redwing - one of the first runs to open this winter without man-made assistance.

PARK REPORT:

  • Don’t worry about riding park today, there’s powder!
  • But, if you must know, due to wind and new snow, the parks are still buried.
Snow fall at Mammoth Lakes.

Saturday morning at the Village. Has Winter officially arrived?

The STATS:

  • New Snow: The Mountain is reporting 17”. On average, I’d say that sounds about right.
  • Base: 2′-3′
  • Weather: Winds look to persist for another 36 hours, temps should stay cool (mid-30s and lower) and hopefully we’ll see another nice little hit tomorrow (Sunday) evening.
  • Conditions: Powder, packed powder.
  • Lifts: 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 16, 17, Village Gondi.
  • Runs:  Sesame Street, East and West | Easy Rider | Rollercoaster | Swell | Downhill | Cloverleaf | Chickadee | South Park | Avalanche | Little Bird | Round About | Solitude | Spook | Hully Gully | Red Wing | Red Tail | Spring Canyon

Bottom line: Week-end warrior? I can see how some of the lift lines may have chapped your hide. Resident pass-holder? Nothing could keep me (you) from enjoying the best turns we’ve seen all season; looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings.

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