Mammoth Mountain Snow and Road Conditions Nov. 24, 2010

The roads were surprisingly clear this morning considering all the recent snow storms. The skies were blue at dawn, and the chain requirements began at the top of the Sherwin Grade. You gotta love Mammoth Lakes weather! Hwy. 395 was pretty good all the way to the turnoff to Mammoth Lakes. It was there that you really did need 4WD or chains.

Because Mammoth Mountain Ski Area opened both Eagle and Canyon Lodges today, the Thanksgiving/powder day crowd was pretty spread out. I parked at the bottom of chair 2 with no problem. The winds were light in comparison to the last 3-4 days. They began loading at 8:20, and I was on it. I took some photos of the avalanche control and coverage on the top of the mountain. Unfortunately the snowfall was light snow that did not bond well to the mountain, and most all of the top slid when it was bombed:(

The Wall is now blown down to the dirt and rocks on the extreme skiers right, but if you traversed carefully to the middle, there was a strip that was really fun. Then I skied both sides of the Glades, and they were as good as they have been so far this year . A week ago there were bushes showing. Two days ago the tops of some small trees were showing. Today alot of the tree-tops were gone, and the snow was pillowy and light.

I skied all the runs off chair 1 and 2, then went on chair 10 to see what new terrain was open today. I saw chair 5 had just opened, but I went over the ridge to a long tree run that can be fun. It was pretty choppy with ridges all the way there, and you had to pick your way down because there would be a nice stretch, then a ridge dropping onto dirt and rocks every so often. So I kept my speed down, and picked my way through, enjoying the sweet spots.

I had hoped to load chair 15 and go back to my tree run now that I knew what to expect, but 15 was closed. I had to go all the way down to Eagle Express. Then I saw chair 22 going and that would get me back to my tree powder stash. But the rope was still up, and they were not loading 22. So I went down to 16 and over to 5 to give that a try. The top of the face of 5 was still really rocky and closed. The middle was sweet with nice, soft, forgiving bumps.

They finally opened chair 3, and I went to West Bowl. Everyone had already skied it up, but again there was soft, forgiving bumps that were really fun to ski. I love skiing that stuff now that I know to keep my shoulders level. I skied chair 1 a few more times. Skied Fascination, Broadway, the Wall and the Glades. All of them were very nice for this early in the ski season.

After noon I skied another hour, and then headed home. Today was the most fun ski day so far this year for me. I had a blast!

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