2001-02 California Detail

Updated May 12, 2002

Mammoth opened Broadway on November 8 with less snowmaking coverage than normal. 63 inches of late November snow brought Mammoth to full operation by the first week of December. With 121 inches of December snow plus 18 inches in early January Mammoth had its best early season conditions (which I observed personally Jan. 4-5) since 1994-95. After a dry 3 weeks Mammoth then received 14 inches new snow to restore a packed powder surface to the entire mountain. Though there was only 21 inches of new snow in February, the 52 inches of March snow restored packed powder conditions. The next 3 weeks were very warm, resulting in spring conditions all the way to the top (as I observed April 6-7), rare for this early in the spring. 2 feet of snow in late April have stabilized the base at 5-6 feet, so Mammoth will still make its usual Memorial Day closing.

Southern California's 2000-02 season can be compared to the past 25 years in History of Southern California Snow Conditions. This was the 2nd driest season since I began skiing in 1976 with only 39 inches natural snow, exceeding only the dismal 12 inches of 1983-84. Skiing was much better than 1983-84 due to the great increase in snowmaking capacity since then.
November: This month was warm and dry, so no one opened until the last week, and then just a few runs.
December: A 2-week continuous snowmaking run came to an end at Christmas with Snow Summit 90% open, Bear Mt. in 80+% operation and Mountain High about 60%. There were a few small storms of 3-6 inches.
January: After a dry month, a late January storm dropped about 9 inches in the San Gabriel Mts. and 3 inches at Big Bear. Snow Summit reached full operation in mid-January and other areas maintained the snowmaking coverage from December.
February February was drier than January, and the late month heat wave of several days didn't help. A few previously open runs closed during this last week.
March: Surface conditions continued to deteriorate until a 9-inch storm March 17-18 and coverage at Big Bear was still good through the end of the month.
April: The Big Bear areas hung on until April 14.

I consider the local areas worth visiting according to the following criteria (2001-02 summary):
Snow Summit: The Wall, Log Chute and the full length of the Westridge Terrain Park open. Snow Summit first opened Nov. 27. Chairs 7 and 9 and the full Westridge Park opened by Dec. 8. By Dec. 16 chairs 6 (the Wall) and 10 and the Ego Trip Super Park were open. Most of the other runs were covered during the mid-January stretch of snowmaking.
Bear Mt: Silver Mt. and/or Bear Peak open. Goldmine Peak opened late November, Silver by Dec. 15 and Bear peak Dec. 22. Bear Peak closed in early April with the rest of the area closing April 14.
Snow Valley: Slide Peak open. 2-4 chairs on the lower mountain were open from mid-December until the area closed March 31.
Mountain High: East as well as West open. West first opened Nov. 26, and a maximum of 60% of West was open from Christmas to mid-February. 2 runs on East opened by Dec. 16, and the upper mountain beginner lift opened for the holidays. A few runs closed in February and East closed completely March 10. West closed April 2.
Mt. Baldy and Mt. Waterman: A natural snow base of at least 4 feet. Baldy opened its beginner area for the holidays with snowmaking assistance, and one run on Thunder in late January. These all closed in February. Waterman never opened this season.

Return to 2001-02 Ski Season Analysis for North America.