Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Skiing in Mammoth

Christmas morning dawned bright, clear and cold as Mary and I headed to the lifts for a fine day of skiing. A quick hitting storm blessed the slopes with about 4" low to perhaps 8" higher up. Where the snow had blown in and settled the skiing was fantastic.

Here's the virgin corduroy before the lifts began to load.

After a few great runs on Chairs 2 & 3, we headed to the top via the Gondola. While we were there they recorded a temperature of 1.9F and winds averaging 55mph gusting to 70mph - for a wind chill somewhere around -30F!!!

We had one fine run, but I ended up with a little frost nip on my cheek - so we took up couple more runs lower down and called it a day.

Friday morning was again very cold and perfectly clear as I toured up into Mammoth Lakes basin above Sky Meadows. It was one of those days when the scenery is so bright and vivid and the snow is so cold and soft that there is a certain electricity in the air!

Oh the views!

The broad drainages in this area are filled in pretty well and provide fun low angle skiing.

Even the sunny slopes were staying cold and light - a rarity in the Sierra.

Saturday I headed back up my skin track to the saddle I reached the day before and took one run down to the Duck Pass trail, then skinned back up to a small knob above Sky Meadow.

The skiing was great in there!

The skiing in the forest lower down was fantastic too.

It's still pretty thin. The skis took a little damage after an ill advised turn in some boulders. The bowls and couloirs in this area are probably a couple of feet of snow shy of being ready, but these tours were mighty fine nonetheless.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Mammoth Lakes Basin Skiing

At last the ski season has begun! After a bout with a respiratory infection which cut my 'cross season short I was itching to get up into the mountains.

Saturday brought light snow, cool temps, and strong winds in exposed areas. Headed up above McCloud Lake and found just enough coverage for some fun skiing. There was a couple of inches of fresh snow over a dense, wet base.

It took a couple of runs to remember how to work them skis!

Love the glades!

Sunday I hooked up with Steve & Nick and skied up above TJ Lake.

Fortunately the strongest winds subsided before we reached treeline.

Up high the snow was variably wind affected, but still provided enjoyable skiing.

The mashed potatoes lower down, below 10,000', were a different story!

Great to be skiing, but we need a good couple of feet more to get the season going. At least the base is dense and well plastered.