Christmas Snow

Christmas Snow

We were just about to head to the car yesterday when they suddenly opened Chair 23. A mad every-man-for-themselves dash later, Al and I flashed through an empty maze and boarded the lift, leaving our kids to fend for themselves.

Call it an early Christmas miracle. I just don't think of Mammoth as a powder resort, so enjoying one sublime untracked run off the top of Dropout was a truly special and unexpected gift (the kids, if you're wondering, were right behind us).

Wherever you are, I hope you and your family are enjoying a white Christmas, or at least have plans to get to snow. Here in the Southland, they say a big (and cold!) storm is imminent, though we are mostly clear at the moment.

Local backcountry areas should be well-covered by the weekend, but do beware of the usual hazards (esp. ice, avalanches, and travel) plus a truly remarkable forest closure order currently affecting virtually the entire Mount Baldy (San Antonio) massif and surrounding peaks—check that: the LA Times says the order has been lifted as of today, Christmas Day.

Conditions along the 395 south of Mammoth looked thin on our drive up a few days ago (that was pre-storm); Mammoth itself was a little thin over the pre-Christmas weekend but skiing nicely, with yesterday's snow wonderfully cold, light, and deep.

Happy Holidays!

— December 25, 2019

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents

Dan Conger December 26, 2019 at 3:06 pm

Headed up to Soda Springs this morning with our 3 year old. He had a blast on a little snowboard, and enjoyed their “Planet Kids” play area, too. So great to get up to the mountains and just enjoy the snow with family!

Bill December 26, 2019 at 4:13 pm

Argh, chomping at the bit. Wife took my 4x4 because it seats 8 to haul kids and presents around L.A. to various relatives. On the upside, we are getting ready to close on a cabin at Green Valley Lake. Can't wait to do mini-BC from the cabin to the abandoned ski area. Good for training our pup for skijoring. Merry Christmas SoCal BC community. You are a rare breed.

Brad Brown December 29, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Under the theory of no pain-no gain I bookend Xmas day with back to back pow days at Summit. Xmas eve was a little warmer but fairly deep and fun with fam joining (son, and daughter plus a Utah based skiing couple in laws) making for an actual crew ripping pow where found. Thursday found 12” of 25 deg with heavy am snow fall adding another 6” by noon. “Ropes” were dropped allowing legal bowl access as the morning progressed making for a stellar solo trip. And yeah that was the day of the I 5/15 closures. The only hope on both days was an “alpine start” to beat the hordes of flatlanders discovering how chains work and flip flops don’t on a big day. The exit strategy was via Lucerne and 18/138. With the I-15 closed and intermittent CHP closures on 330 combined with rain augmented freeway traffic once back in town, this seemed the best route. Still it added 2.5 hours extra due to rare high desert snow actually on the road, significantly affecting driving. Never mind the San Bernardino county portions having no drainage provisions creating a vehicular pond skimming scenario. Snow increased the further west I travelled and did not end until Escondido summit on Highway 14. Sadly I’ve had worse drives, happily they were all worth it.

Andy December 29, 2019 at 6:02 pm

Brad you sure seem to have a gift for getting the pain/gain ratio right. I think I need to study your secrets. It has been hard to get to the snow this year. :)