Monday, December 4, 2006

First Turns

Last Wednesday morning it was 12 degrees when we woke up, the coldest morning we have experienced yet. The cold wave that eventually moved east and wrecked havoc in the Midwest states was giving us a chill. We had made plans to go over to Mammoth Mountain and ski, and we weren’t going to let temperatures in the teens stop us.

The day was brilliant sunshine. The Eastern Sierra has not received a substantial snowfall yet. The roads are clear and only a sugar coating of snow can be seen at the highest elevations. But Mammoth has the facilities to manufacture their own snowpack, and these cold, dry conditions are ideal for making snow. The ski area had only a few major runs open, but with surprisingly good coverage. They were open for Thanksgiving weekend, one of the potentially big cash-generating weekends. The lack of snow surely dampened the crowds. The merchants in town are nervous – could this be another drought year? – anxiously waiting for the big storm that will make it a white (and green) Christmas.

So we bundled up with multiple layers of clothing and found enough to ski for a couple of hours. It was cold, and by noon a slight breeze persuaded us to call it a day. The electronic sign at the parking lot said it was a mere 22 degrees at high noon.

The snow guns were working full time while we were there. The photo of the day shows the Cornice Bowl, just below the summit. It was nearly barren rock on the day we were there, but they were trying to get it covered for the weekend. The wind was not cooperating, however, and the snow was getting blown right up the slope and over the ridge. We did return over the weekend, and after only a couple of days they managed to get it to stick enough for us to be able to ski down a couple of runs. Impressive, but we are still doing our snow dance for the natural stuff!

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All original text and photos are copyrighted Doris Reilly © 2006-2018. No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
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