2014-15 California Detail

Updated May 19, 2015

Mammoth had 12 inches Nov. 1-2, but the next week was record warm and melted most snow below 10,000 feet. Broadway opened on schedule Nov. 13, and by early December 4 other Main Lodge runs opened on snowmaking, plus Saddle Bowl and Stump Alley to open chairs 2 and 3. First half of December storms totalled 26 inches, and opened chairs 4, 10 and the top by mid-December. The next storm dropped 12.5 inches and opened chair 5 and 14. followed shortly by Canyon and Eagle on snowmaking. The Christmas storm dropped about 5 inches. For the holidays the Main Lodge area, plus much of the top and 14 have a decent natural base up to 4 feet. The Canyon and Eagle areas have a manmade base that is hardpacked with skier traffic, but is maintained with snowmaking in the cold weather. Chairs 9 and 22 need another 2-3 foot dump before they can open. On Dec 30 a severe upslope wind stripped snow off the entrances to many of the chair 23 runs. There were only 2 inches of snow in January. The February 7-9 storm had high snow levels, with some rain as high as 10,500 feet, second highest winter rain/snow line since I have skied Mammoth since 1978. Coverage and surfaces up top were restored by 2 feet of snow to similar quality as in late December. Main Lodge got a foot of snow along with the rain while Canyon/Eagle got mostly rain. There was 6-12 inches of snow the third weekend of February and a similar storm in late February/early March. The upper mountain has improved while the Canyon/Eagle side has been marginal since the President's Week warm spell. With minimal March snow Eagle closed March 17 and Canyon hung by a thread until Easter April 5. There were 21 inches of snow during the second week of April, but the thin snowpack declined the rest of the month with only 8 inches more snow. Mammoth scheduled a May 10 close, but 1.5 feet of May snow extended its season to Memorial Day. 2014-15 remains second worst on record to 1976-77, the only other time the entire mountain was never open at any time during the ski season.

Southern California's 2014-15 season can be compared to the past 38 years in History of Southern California Snow Conditions. 2014-15 was not quite as bad as 2013-14, but Southern California skiing is currently suffering through its worst 2, 3 and 4 year stretches on record. For the past 3 years there has been almost no skiing on natural snow dependent terrain all season.
November: had a warm November with snowmaking starting not long before Thanksgiving. Mt. High opened a beginner run 11/25 but soon closed. Snow Summit opened Summit run 11/26.
December: The Dec. 1-4 storm was all rain and closed all areas for a week. The mid-December storms totalled 18 inches. The Dec. 30 cold storm averaged about 8 inches of snow. Snowmaking after that storm brought the Big Bear areas up to about 80% open.
January: There was some rain on January 12 and January 30 with a couple inches of snow at upper elevations during the latter small storm. Open terrain declined outside of Big Bear.
February: A warm first half of February closed more terrain. Up to a foot of snow the third weekend of February reopened some of it.
March: A few inches of snow in early March did not offset ongoing warm weather. Skiing wound down through March and all areas were closed by March 29,
April: It snowed about 4 inches in April and 3 inches in May, but no areas were open.

I consider the local areas worth visiting according to the following criteria (2014-15 summary):

Snow Summit: The Wall, Log Chute, Chair 10 and lower Westridge open. Miracle Mile and upper Summit Run reopened Dec. 6. Chairs 3, 7 and 9 opened by mid-December. Log Chute and Westridge opened Christmas Week. Chair 10 and the Wall opened at New Year's. The mid-February warm spell closed chair 10. 60% open mid-March, closed March 29.

Bear Mt: Silver Mt. and/or Bear Peak open. The Bear Express and some park features are open. Silver opened Christmas Week. Bear Peak opened at New Year's. 65% open mid-March, closed March 29. with a few thin areas.

Snow Valley: Slide Peak open. About 40% open over the holidays, down to 10% after Presidnet's weekend, 30% in early March, closed March 22.

Mountain High: East as well as West open. West claimed up to 80% terrain open over Christmas week, but that steadily declined to closing after President's weekend. West was about 1/4 open after the third weekend of February storm but closed again March 6. East has never opened.

Mt. Baldy and Mt. Waterman: A natural snow base of at least 4 feet. Baldy's beginner lift and a couple of runs on Thunder opened the weekend before Christmas. Baldy closed mid-January, reopened similar limited terrain after the third weekend of February storm, and closed again by mid-March. Waterman never opened for the 4th consecutive year.

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