Date: 05/31/98
Days: 1
Resort: Mt. Baldy
Hours: Day
Equipment: Alpine
Rating: 7
Primary-Surface: Slush
Secondary-Surfaces: Granular
Gender: Male
Age: 45
Ability: Expert
Loved: Backside tour
Hated: Afternoon snow is pretty sticky
Closed: Ch.1&4, Herb's&Andy's, traverse back from South Bowl
Liftline-Waits: None
Moguls: Good, at the right time of day, DEEP in upper Emile's

Ample snow cover remained on Thunder Mt. on May 31, 1998.

Mt. Baldy ski area had about 350 inches snow in that big El Nino year. The last 2 feet fell May 12-13, bringing the season to about a tie with 1982-83 as the snowiest on record. I couldn't resist taking off work for Baldy powder on May 14, a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Snow had set up on upper Thunder runs: Skyline and upper Bonanza were very good in early morning. Grooming and maintenance were quite good: snow had been farmed to maintain the beginner run and fire road and they somehow groomed Goldridge.

At 11AM they sent 21 people up chair 4 for the backside tour (it was an extra $20). I hiked 5 minutes part way up Mt. Harwood to get at a NW facing chute for the best corn snow: outstanding for 1000 vertical, still decent for another 1000 to the Lytle Creek pickup point.
There is a lot of awesome terrain over there, about half glades and half open with chutes. Let's hope they get that Forest Service approval for lifts we've been hearing about for the last decade. The Lytle Creek gravel road in the background would be paved and then access new base facilities.

Here's the Stockton Flats terrain as viewed from below.

When we got back to the Notch, several of us hiked up a knoll behind Mullin's for another 800 vertical backside run and shuttle pickup.

By the time I got back to Thunder it was 1:30 and snow was pretty soft. Moguls on Emile's and Liftline were still OK. I thought South Bowl might be like the backside, but the surface was not as smooth and you have to walk most of the traverse back to chair 3. I would expect the core area around Skyline and Emile's to still be well covered next week. The key will be cool nights to set up the snow.