Happy Holidays backcountry skiers and snowboarders,
December has been good to us. Small to medium storms with winds in between is the pattern. The winds of December 21-23 toppled dozens of full grown beetle-killed snags in the June Mountain backcountry and littered the snow surface with an unprecedented amount of detritus on top of sastrugi. Not such fun conditions, after a couple weeks of excellent cold powder skiing. Fortunately, it was a white X-mas and we got another 1’+ on top. Now we are enjoying silky ankle to boot-top powder in the trees in the Mammoth-June area that SMG ski guide Mark Shelp describes as “Butttterrrr.” We actually were very fortunate to host 21 skiers and riders today in these conditions. In the alpine, recent strong winds from various directions have taken a toll. Many high and exposed slopes have been stripped bare. Coverage is still quite marginal in the Eastern High Sierra outside of Mammoth-June and Virginia Lakes. As holiday crowds flood the town of Mammoth and the mountain prepares for 20,000+ people on the slopes this week, consider your options for enjoying sweet hero powder in tranquil pine forests.
Another 2-4″ tomorrow should freshen things up again before it dries out and stays cool for a week. We will hope that the north winds do not blow too hard this time. Then in the first week of the new year it appears that El Niño may decide to visit and open the door to some real Sierra style storms. Looking forward to that!
Heads up on the persistent slab avalanche problem that has developed in the area. Check in with the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center to help you manage your backcountry avalanche risk out there.