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Reader Comment: Sierra Snowpack, Mammoth Mountain Skiing through August 6

Brent K writes about the Mammoth Mountain ski area:

There is a heck of a lot of snow on the mountain . . . Mammoth has announced that their closing day will be August 6 - AUGUST! sheesh.

Being Memorial Day weekend, crowds at Mammoth would be an understatement. The other ‘lodges’ on the mountain had closed long before (April) so the Main Lodge was the only primary entry point to get on the mountain. Knowing that it was going to be crowded, the mountain had lots of parking shuttles and even opened up the Canyon Lodge parking lot for overflow parking and ran chair 17 for access to the west (open) side of the resort. I heard from multiple sources that parking at the Main lodge extended down the road all the way to the San Andreas fault (no lie - the fault does run near Mammoth resort). On Sunday, the cars were not parked as far down the road; only to Wooley’s tube park (with people parking in the tube park lot since it was closed - oh and still overflow parking at Canyon). Monday was not very busy at all - i was kind of surprised.

Did i mention there’s a whole lot of snow on the mountain? I can’t think of a time (ok, maybe 1995) when you could ski Varmints or MJB at the end of May. You still have to climb UP 10 to 15 feet to DROP in to Dropout 1 & 2. They even had the backside (chairs 12, 13 & 14) open - though i didn’t go there - as well as the Cloud 9 chair (chair 9). There is still 20+ feet of snow at the top. I don’t think it’s getting cold enough at night to freeze completely, but the resort grooms and salts some of the main runs and first thing in the am, they are pretty firm - icy even. But, by 9:30 things are softened up enough to make nice turns without feeling like you’re sliding around. I would say the the prime time currently is somewhere between 9 and 11:30 - before that it can be really firm and after it can get pretty mushy, especially in the lower elevations. They are running on the spring hours - from 7:30 am until 2pm - so there’s plenty of time to ski in the morning and then bike, hike, fish . . . whatever in the afternoon. Probably go up again in mid June and planning on skiing on the 4th of July!

DIGLLOYD: I hope to get up Lee Vining Canyon again soon, but fully prepared (clothing, sunblock, hat, food, shoes, etc) and go hiking to show the awesome snowpack with creeks cutting through 10/20/30 foot deep snowpack.

See the bikes in the picture below.

End of plowed section of Hwy 120, 2017-05-29
f8 @ 1/1000 sec, ISO 100; 2017-05-29 11:54:40
Sony A7R II + Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO-Sonnar

[low-res image for bot]
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