6” of new snow made for some rather variable conditions at Mammoth today. If you’ve been following the Unofficial Mammoth Conditions Reports you are aware that I am a proponent of the wind and how it can benefit the conditions. 6” of Variable Fresh | Unofficial Mammoth Conditions Report | February 18, 2012 | Unofficial Networks

6” of Variable Fresh | Unofficial Mammoth Conditions Report | February 18, 2012

ski and snowboard chairlift

6” of Variable Fresh | Unofficial Mammoth Conditions Report | February 18, 2012

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6” of Variable Fresh | Unofficial Mammoth Conditions Report | February 18, 2012

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ski and snowboard chairlift

Chair 23. Look closing and you'll see the green flag, indicating that the lift is open... So where are the people?

6” of new snow made for some rather variable conditions at Mammoth today. If you’ve been following the Unofficial Mammoth Conditions Reports you are aware that I am a proponent of the wind and how it can benefit the conditions. Yet, today we were reminded how the wind may also have an adverse affect on the conditions.

If the wind hits right, from the right direction with the right amount of force, concurrent with snowfall, the snow can become rather “slabby.” Even with temps being considerably low, the wind can cause the snow to become densely packed, giving the snow a rather “hooky” feel, often making skis and boards overly re-active – today was one of those days. As you’d imagine, the exposed, upper mountain is impacted the most by these conditions.

No doubt (and I bet you saw this coming), there are plenty of up-sides to be had from today’s adversely affected snow. Contrary to your typical powder day, the more that this type of snow gets hacked and slashed, the better it gets – today was one of those days. As dozens (100s?) of skiers and snowboarders cut up the snow it actually becomes looser, softer and easier to ride. Imagine that, a powder day where it pays to be late to the hill.

Skiing and snowboarding in the Eastern Sierra.

Inviting? Yes. Slabby? Yes.

THE CONDITIONS

The PROS:

  • 6+” to add to the snowpack; we’ll take every little bit we can get.
  • Today’s cold temps and healthy West wind kept things fresh all day.
  • For all the talk about the wind-affected snow there was still some great blower pow to be had out there. Just stick to the wind protected zones, i.e. the trees, and you were rewarded with the good goods.
  • The next 3 days are calling for cool temps and a West-Southwest wind. This, combined with the fresh snow we just got, is a recipe for some primo wind-buff. I could certainly go for some hero-snow after being humbled by the wind-cake (shall we just call it humble pie?).
Skiing and snowboarding in the trees.

Great pow was to be had - just head for the trees. Know where this is from?

The CONS:

  • Much of the exposed, upper mountain had densely packed snow, presenting a unique challenge to even the most skilled snow-sliders.
  • In some zones 6” of fresh can equate to bliss. For other spots 6” of fresh can be just enough to cover up a rock garden. Take extra caution, especially when venturing into unfamiliar waters.
  • By Mammoth standards today was cold. Factor in wind chill and you’re headed to the lodge quick to revive numb body parts. Not wearing a balaclava/face-mask? You’re not gonna make it very long.
wind and snow at the mountain top

Heading into the abyss... Windy day on the road to Dave's Run.

PARK REPORT:

  • When there’s new snow and high winds the park is not a great place to be.
  • Even with the Grand Prix going down this week the Unbound Park Crew has managed to set-up and re-open the top section of Main Park.
  • The Grand Prix Super Pipe and Slopestyle Course are finished and they look awesome! There’s already a rumor kicking about that after the Grand Prix they are going to open the Grand Prix Slope jump line to the public, indefinitely. That would be sick!
  • Forest Trail and South Park are looking dialed and fresh.
Freeride ski and snowboard competition at Mammoth Unbound Terrain Park.

Park Crew putting the finishing touches on the Grand Prix Slopestyle Course. This 4-pack is sick!

The STATS:

  • New Snow: 6-10”. That’s a broad range, but that’s what happens when you get a healthy dose of wind
  • Base: approx. 4-5’.
  • Weather: Atleast 3 more days of cool temps and West-Southwest winds. More snow is expected for tomorrow and tomorrow night.
  • Conditions: Powder, packed powder, machine groomed and the occasional glacier (they’re small glaciers).
  • Lifts: All lifts, except Chair 20.
  • Runs:  Same as before… The entire mountain is open, with the exception of some of the gnarliest terrain, i.e. Hangman’s Hollow, Top of the World, Huevos Grande and MJB’s. If you ask me, Hangman’s looks like it’s good to go.

Bottom line: A pow day where it pays to sleep in. The more the top got skied today, the better it was.

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