It has been a long Spring, a Spring where I had to cross the desert emotionally and mentally without much of a snowy oasis to get away. Not a typical Spring and one in a life time where skiing wasn’t, couldn’t be the priority. Sure I managed to get out to make some turns, but very little. No Easter skiing.
It was an annual tradition for my daughter to spend one week in Montreal at my mother’s, she asked if I would do that with her this year. As the time went by, Montreal was too close to the Chaos I was trying to get away from. Chaos like the streets of Toronto at the G20 meeting.
So through the desert and chaos, we found a place where we could find Spring Skiing Climax. Sure my credit card was extremely loaded and wondering how I would be able to pay the mountain of bills, however if the Canada’s Auditor General is flying first class, we could make a first class trip yourselves.
After being picked up at the airport from a famous snow statistician who’s made the cover or have been quote in World finest ski publications (man, there is a lot of famous people in LA), we went straight to his casa. There was a Fascination with Palm Trees, there is no Broadway in Hollywood, but many Rock stars. Our first two days was Saddle between Dave’s Home and Tony’s. Hutash’s family prepared an excellent meal that contained no Gravy which is good when someone at the table is vegan.
The following day we drove from the Ocean through the desert to the mountain. This time of the year, the mountain resort we were going to ski had similar characteristics in term of manufactured village, had hosted a World Cup, one gondola and the vertical offered as our last father/daughter outing. The only different was this was June 29th, not March 28th. However this place didn’t have Glades and there is no Cornice’s at Tremblant. This place was our Rainbow. It was funny, going through Bruce Carnall pin’s collection at the Mammoth Ski Museum, I saw an old Tremblant Silver Pin, I have the same one at home. Those pins were won during the Standard races held once a week or month back when Tremblant had singles chairs. So besides skiing, we hiked, went to the Museum, visited stuff, Fireworks and watched Cloudy with a chance of Meat Balls in the Viilage Square. Long days and nights.
This place felt different, it felt Big, a feeling of arriving, at peace with one self. A skiing Christmas, one of the destination of the World like St. Anton or St. Moritz. A Universal feeling. After our first few runs on Day 1 and altitude, Morgane hit the Wall at 10ish. So we took a early break to snack at McCoy’s Station. Pretty quiet place, as we found out later on the week as maggots showed up. After that break and after getting acclimatized, Morgane started to drop East and Center off the steepest lift served lines in late June. Morgane became Steep Momo as many people skiing here had aliases. Everything is big in California, but nothing too big for us. We felt like Giants at some times, on the hill or at Yosemite. Not a giant like Bodie, but giants in the term of controlling our environment and feeling confident with anything on this Mammoth mountain. Frozen surfaces, corn, sun cups, craters, hikes or crazy sticky surfaces, all was good for this team. No need to sign deal with the Devil to ski like this, just get the mileage on all surfaces, ice or snow, it’s all good.
The Climax of this trip was July 4th when the place became a carnival, we saw Captain America and Wonder Woman, but no Gremlins. You know Steep Momo had a good week when Wonder Woman calls her a Rock star on the last run of the year. After that day, the writing was written in stone, it was soon time to leave and head back to the everyday business.
California, what a contrast, land of the fat or the fit where Facelift doesn’t only refer to a Quad on a ski area. Beaches and palm trees, desert and ghost town and skiing in July. Thank you for your hospitality.
Stay tuned…for the visual part of this TR.
June 29-July 4 evolution – more direct version:
Note on the above TR, all trails that we’re skied are writen in the text.
Climax: some rocks started popping out by the end of our stay, but nothing that couldn’t be negotiated.
Cornice: no noticeable change except small bumps being pushed around.
Wipe Out: the bottom melting out during that week. It looked thight at the start, but bottleneck closed up.
Drop Out: Still skiable, bottleneck was pretty thight at the bottom.
Suncups: not much of an issue except belong Dave’s Run and traverse over onto the Face.
St. Anton at the bottom? Gone. Only access was through Broadway, Powder Bowl or Fascination.
Broadway: tons of snow was move around to leave two narrow strips. We didn’t ski onJuly 1st (Yosemite), but the snowpark near Saddlebowl was moaded down (and pushed toward Broadway?).
Fascination: ski it on my last run on July 3rd – totally gone on 200ft the next day. Only the pitch remained. Access to upper part was narrow and had a few chocolate chips in the snow.
Facelift: I believe we skied it only once or twice. Morgane wasn’t a fan on that run. We didn’t make it over to West Bowl. I believe you had to take off your skis to make it over toward the end of the week.
Hikes: Dave’s Run (I was solo for that hike), Drop Out (D1), Gravy Chute and the Wall on numerous times.
What did we ski the most? Climax with Fascination on the bottom part of the mountain.
The weather actually got colder during our week, surfaces like the ridge toward Cornice and everything flat groomed stuff was pretty frozen, sometimes until 10:30-11ish. It wasn’t the case on our first few days. Morgane was even a bit cold on July 3rd and 4th.
G20 meeting and Canada’s Auditor General.
California, what a contrast, land of the fat or the fit where Facelift doesn’t only refer to a Quad on a ski area. Beaches and palm trees, desert and ghost town and skiing in July.
Thank you for your hospitality.
Picture gallery for the entire California trip.
Text version was originally posted on Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:19 pm on firsttracksonline . Pictures were added on July 1, 2011.