Sierra Stackage Stomps Mt. Shredly

The Jaded Local's running log of a rather sizable storm event in Mammoth, Calif.

By Hans Ludwig

MAMMOTH, Calif.—March 24. Getting deep here. Too deep if anything. I started writing this update on the 21st, after the first five to eight feet fell in three days. And then it kept snowing. Two days days later, there’s another three to four on the ground and more coming. As I look out the window right now… it’s dumping. In fact, I’m going to take a couple of runs on Chair 22 real quick.

(Wooooooooooooooohoooooooooooooooo! Aaaaaarghglegargle! Hahahha!)

Huge crowds at Chair 22 for the Biggest Storm Ever. Photo: Hans Ludwig

Huge crowds at Chair 22 for the Biggest Storm Ever. Photo: Hans Ludwig

(Gurgle). Photo: Hans Ludwig

(Gurgle). Photo: Hans Ludwig

A rare sighting of the Jaded Local in the wild, mid-storm, on Avy 2. Photo: Hans Ludwig

A rare sighting of the Jaded Local in the wild, mid-storm, on Avy 2. Photo: Hans Ludwig


March 26
Things have gotten to the point where we don’t even have time to ski up the freshies before it all gets buried under feet of new snow. I mean, there’s a few tracks on the hill, but there are whole huge untouched pillows stuffed down there, deep in the strata of a snowpack that’s going geologic under the pressure of its own mass. And other things are getting buried too—the terrain is disappearing, twenty-foot cliffs, trees, chutes, the first floor of every house in town.

It’s easy to get jaded when you live in the snowiest town in the country. You stop keeping track of the numbers, just dig the truck out again and carry on. But it’s starting to get to that point where there’s nowhere to throw the damn snow anymore. And the first part of this little storm cycle was no joke—a hundred inches in 72 hours on the ski hill. Given that maritime snow comes in about double the density of the stuff they get in the Rockies, that’s about half an average season’s snowpack for Vail. Over the weekend.

Hard to find ye olde ski condo when the street signs are buried... and so in the condo. Photo: Hans Ludwig

Hard to find ye olde ski condo when the street signs are buried... and so is the condo. Photo: Hans Ludwig

I'm guessing these folks were a little bummed when it snowed another six feet after this shot was taken. Photo: Hans Ludwig

I'm guessing these folks were a little bummed when it snowed another six feet after this shot was taken. Photo: Hans Ludwig


March 27
…and followed up by that much again over the next few days. The grand tally was somewhere well north of 200 inches on the upper mountain in less than a week, and the marketing department has been making noise about some kind of season snowfall record.

But the town of Mammoth just carries on, business as usual. The cat drivers, lift maintenance dudes, and patrollers work their asses off out of sight, and the the tourists don’t even notice that it’s anything special. They’re from SoCal, and as far as they know, all ski towns have buried street signs and lift towers. But if you brought in someone from say, Telluride, they’d have a heart attack. And then they’d pack up their action sandals and move out here to Babylon, never to ski low-tide moguls again.

But you don’t care about that do you, you dirty little powder slut? No, you want to know about the skiing, getting all shacked in the gurgly-deep blower. About the constant refills on 22, how the wind wave on Grizzly is built up into a five-hundred foot long quarterpipe, the roar of slough all around you as you nuke through the choke in Avy 2.5 in a cloud of spin-drift… You want to know about dropping mysto old-growth tree lines on the Sherwins mid-storm, hucking mindlessly off everything in sight, how the nearby peaks are frickin’ fluted like AK and the treewells are bottomless portals to the next plane of existence. But I can’t tell you about it. That’s top secret locals-only stuff.

However, if you help me dig out the snowmobiles and buy me a beer, I bet I could find you an untracked line or two. And since the resort is going to be open until at least the Fourth of July, you’ve still got three months to see for yourself.

The Paranoids after avalanche-control blasting and ski-cutting by Patrol. Note complete lack of results after twelve feet of fresh in three days. Hells to the yes, maritime snow. Photo: Hans Ludwig

The Paranoids after avalanche-control blasting and ski-cutting by Patrol. Note complete lack of results after twelve feet of fresh in three days. Hells to the yes, maritime snow. Photo: Hans Ludwig

This guy's only concession to the weather was knickers and a scarf. Photo: Hans Ludwig

This guy's only concession to the weather was knickers and a scarf. Photo: Hans Ludwig

Posted In: Mantle, Opinion, Stories

Add a comment

  • Chris Pensiero

    Damn you!

  • http://monicaprelle.com monica

    nice one hans–love it!

  • Mel

    Last photo of the guy with the bike = my husband
    Crazy German!
    But he is quicker than the bus system and healthier too.
    Email me if you to talk to him for a good story
    Mel

  • EscapeLA

    18 years in Wisconsin, 5 as a weekend warrior out of LA… first year living in Mammoth. I would say this was a good decision.
    >>Do you think Mammoth would stay open past July 4th if the base holds? I can’t imagine cruising groomers in August… then hiking chair 12 line in November!

  • welcome_to_mamrock

    Get. Some.

  • Cristina

    We are the folks at that burried house… and my husband was not too bummed after the additional 6 feet, since he got some great pow days out of it. Not too stoked to have to shovel out the windows on the second floor and break off a cornice in our driveway, but you gotta take the bad with the good. The good news is that it’s now 60 degrees and melting fast. We hope to find our front door by July!

    Cristina

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