Storm of the Century

Jan 22-24, 2010

El Nino must be in full effect because Los Angeles got soaked last week. Most parts of Southern California received 5-8 inches of rain over the course of a 6-day storm. On Wednesday, in the middle of the storm, Sarah and I and another couple, Dave and Larke, started planning a trip to drive up for some snowboarding for the 3-day weekend to take advantage of some fresh powder. It was exciting to watch the snowfall totals continue to rise as the weekend neared. The local San Gabriel Mountains ended up with more than 4 feet of new snow in some places, but that was nothing compared to Mammoth. From January 17-22, Mammoth received 8 feet of snow and nearly 30 inches on some days including the Thursday night we piled into Larke's dad's 89 Land Cruiser and headed up to Bishop, CA.

Friday We stayed in Bishop the night before because I was concerned about the road conditions. We left Bishop early enough to get to the mountain a little past 9am. I was excited to finally test my new board out on real snow instead of ice. I was glad that Sarah and I had the warmup session at Mt Baldy a few weeks before so that we could jump right in without losing too much time getting use to snowboarding. There were hardly any crowds in the lift lines and most of the runs were awesome beautiful groomers with just enough powder on them. I was able to do some really aggressive carving (by my standards) to see how well my board could hold. I was figuring out my new board's limits and I was having so much fun that I hardly noticed the snow and the cold temperatures. I even landed my first tiny jump. I felt like I was getting into a nice groove until we ended up on one deep powder run that was nearly impossible to snowboard. The powder was waist deep or higher and it was so much work to get back up on your board if you fell. Every time you pushed yourself up, your arms would just sink through the snow. The run was littered with exhausted and frustrated snowboarders slowly making their way down about 10 feet at a time. It took about 40 minutes before we could get out to more manageable runs. I managed to be the 3rd to last person off the slopes that day.

Saturday Sarah decided she wanted to change it up a little, so she rented a pair of skis. This was her first skiing of the season and she did fine. The Los Angeles crowd had made it up to see what all the fuss was about and the lift lines were really long. We tried to stay midway up the mountain to avoid the crowds, but it didn't work. We did several mellow runs, but not nearly as many as we did the day before. After lunch the crowd seemed to suddenly disappear and the slopes were all ours. We got a couple more nice runs in as we were heading back to Canyon Lodge, but apparently Sarah and I were taking a little too much time getting back and barely missed a lift that we needed to get back. Fortunately a ski patrol guy saw us looking lost and gave Sarah and I a ride on the back of his snowmobile to the top of a hill that would allow us to make it back. Not only did we not have to take the bus, but we got to ride on a snowmobile for the first time. We eventually got back to the condo and the hot tub never felt better. It was a good day, but I wish we had gone to June to avoid the crowd.

Sunday We got a slow start since we had to pack up and check out of the condo. Sarah hadn't really recovered from the previous two days of playing in the snow and wasn't looking forward to getting back out there. However, she toughed it out and we had one of the best days. The lift lines had already died down as people headed home and the conditions were perfect. The top was open for the first time in a week. After a few runs we took the gondola to the summit. There were 30-35 mph winds at the top and the wind chill was -5 degrees F. Sarah took my picture at the top and we decided we would try to snowboard down despite the crazy weather. We had planned to take a long easy path down but the longer we were exposed to the wind we decided to just go down the face. We couldn't see more than about 20 feet below us but once we got out of the ice storm we knew we had made the right decision. We leafed our way down Cornice Bowl and even went through a tree run on our way back to the lodge. Sarah was glad that she had toughed it out and I was proud of her doing some things out of her comfort zone. We really made the most of our last day there.

In summary, for anyone that missed this past weekend it was awesome. I have never seen that much fresh snow. I know it will be a while, but I already can't wait to get back. My number one goal is to work on my toeside goofy turns.

Breaking in the New Board at Mt. Baldy

Dec 30, 2009

Sarah and I got back from Christmas break just before New Years and decided to give Mt. Baldy a shot. I loaded up my new equipment and we headed out. This was my first time snowboarding on anything other than fresh powder. I have to admit I was a little spoiled. My board is a little smaller and more responsive than boards that I have rented, so it will take a little getting used to. Not to mention, we were on groomed and hard packed snow with the occasional icy patch. I think they had a 6-18" base and there were twigs poking up here and there. All in all it was a fun day. I'm glad we got out cheap season passes. We will definitely be going back to practice before going to Mammoth.

Upcoming Mammoth Trip

Nov 19, 2009

Currently there are 13 runs open at Mammoth with 161.6 acres groomed. Three lifts are open and they have a 16-24 inch snow base. Not much, but it is more than we have at the beach today.

There is a chance that Sarah and I might go to Mammoth in just 2 months with a couple of friends. My new board doesn't arrive until December 1st, and I still have to get bindings and boots. I am so stoked for this season to start.

2008 Summary

Placeholder for summary of trips from last year.

© 2009 | contact Chad Woodard