The summer skiing sun and warm temperatures at Mammoth Mountain claimed chair #23 today and cemented the closure of Upper Road Runner, Scotty’s the Paranoid Flats and possibly the Wipeout Chutes. Much of the terrain at the top of Chair #23 was getting pretty washed out, at least the stuff to the right of Chair #23 when looking up the mountain. The lift operator explained that the Mammoth Mountain McCoy Gondola would open back up again tomorrow (YAY!) so most of the terrain with good snow cover accessible from Chair #23 would still be reachable without any hiking and the Climax Bowl and potentially other terrain not accessible without hiking (since the gondola was closed) would be open starting tomorrow. Great News!
Other attractions like Devils Postpile and the road up to it opened up and may be the reason for a PACKED parking lot. No rock star parking today. It was more like parking in the neighborhood next to the concert arena. The day started with a loooooooooooong walk to the Broadway Express lift.
Summer has the snow melting very quickly in spots. Mammoth will make it until July 4th as there is plenty of snow to push around, however there will be some thin spots and it’s gonna take some work!
The base of the Broadway Express lift was surrounded by dirty snow but some of the runs coming down from the Broadway Express lift looked to be in nice shape while others were deteriorating quickly. Andy’s Double Gold is all but gone while Broadway, Fascination and most others from the peak of the Broadway Express lift are still in pretty good shape and have snow nearby that may be moved around to extend the lift of these slopes.
When looking up the slopes at Scotty’s, the Paranoid Flats and
other terrain in that area, it looked like everything up there was definitely gone for the season. After yesterday when Upper Road Runner washed out and the top of the Wipeout chutes was no longer skiable it looked pretty certain that that section of the mountain would be finished. It was. From the bottom of the hill, it looked like there may still be a ray of hope and a path through but it would be impossible to ski to it without a lot of hiking and the skiing might be down through rock gardens at this point!
After scoping out the top of the mountain from below, the Face Lift chair was next in line. The runs down from Face Lift were still in good shape, particularly Saddle Bowl which has been well groomed and contains slick, fast glistening white snow every day!
Following a few quick laps on the Face Lift chair, the next and final stop for the day would be Chair #23 to get in some runs on the last day it would be open for the 2010 ski season.
On the way down to to the Face Lift
chair, another section of the slopes had been washed out or maybe sacrificed in an effort to preserve a path down to Chair #23. the groomers moved some snow around and created a blockade of sorts to keep people from zooming down into what would have been a bunch of mud and rocks. Once past this part, the snow was a bit slow the rest of the way down to Chair #23.
Upon loading the first time at Chair #23, the lift operator stated it would be the last day for Chair #23 and the gondola would run the rest of the season to get to the top of the mountain. Maintenance is DONE, skiing Climax Bowl will commence tomorrow, GREAT news!
Who knows what skiing the Climax Bowl will actually be like since it is all cratered up and hasn’t been touched by more than a handful of skiers in the last 3 weeks or so. Since most skier traffic to the “Top of the Sierras” will be concentrated in the Climax Bowl, the first few runs down tomorrow will probably not be so hot but as the days go on and it gets chopped up it should get better and better!
The last few runs of the day were down the Dropout Chutes which are still in pretty good shape though a few surprise rocks hit the skis from time to time. Dropout is still full of HUGE soft bumps. It is rather slushy in there. The snow is slow. At the top of the run it is steep enough to compensate for the slow snow, however lower on the mountain where the pitch is not as great the going gets really slow, particularly within a few hundred feet of the base of Chair #23.
With the closure of Chair #23 and the the opening of the McCoy gondola, the Dropout Chutes will still be accessible. They were the one set of chutes from the top of Chair #23 that still had a good amount of snow in them so the switch to the gondola will still service the best terrain available from Chair #23 before it closed today!
Tomorrow at Mammoth Mountain will be like a whole new summer skiing adventure with a new lift and new terrain to shred, explore and photograph! Only 10 or 11 more days of summer skiing to go at Mammoth Mountain!