2013-14 California Detail

Updated June 16, 2014

Mammoth had 10 inches October 29-30 but not much of that snow remained after 3 dry weeks. There was another 10 inches a week before Thanksgiving. Early December snow totalled 21 inches with 4 inches before Christmas. The Main Lodge area opened Nov. 7, chair 2 Nov. 24 and Cornice at Thanksgiving. Chairs 4, 5, 10 and 12 opened Dec. 8 and Canyon/Eagle opened on snowmaking Dec. 18. Natural snowfall and runs open for the holidays were slightly better than 2 years ago, 25% vs. 15% then with chair 12 being the principal extra terrain this year. Conditions after the holiday crowds were mediocre at best with chair 12 closed and the dry spell continuing. The late January storm dropped 13 inches and the second weekend of February storm another 31, opening about 75% of terrain, with cover still sketchy in the Chair 9/25 area. The end of Feb/early March storm dumped 40.5 inches, finally yielding normal winter coverage. The late March/early April storms dropped another 34 inches. Depite 2 feet of snow in late April and a few inches in May this season was Mammoth's second lowest on record. The Memorial Day closing was similar to 2 years ago with less snowfall but a cooler spring.

Southern California's 2013-14 season can be compared to the past 37 years in History of Southern California Snow Conditions. 2013-14 ranks second to 1983-84 as the worst SoCal ski season in both snowfall (29 inches average!) and qualitatively because these are the only 2 seasons with no weekends ranked as high as B. As in 1983-84 there was no skiing on natural snow dependent terrain all season.
November: Southern California caught the beginning of the Southwest storm a week before Thanksgiving. Mt. High got a foot and opened Nov. 24. Other areas got less than half a foot with only Bear Mt. opening Nov. 27.
December: Snow Summit opened Dec. 5 and snowmaking was excellent for a week after that. After a mid-December warmup there were about 4 inches before Christmas and some more snowmaking. Snow Summit, Bear Mt. and Mt. High West were about 50% open by New Year's.
January: January was exceptionally warm (L.A. high temps were higher than an average May!) with no snow so no new terrain was opened at any time after New Year's in 2013-14. Nightime January snowmaking had to be used to maintain existing trails.
February: February skiing was the most restricted since 1984, with Big Bear only half open and Mt. High closing completely after President's weekend. Skiers' hopes rose with a big storm predicted at the end of February.
March: The end of Feb/early March storm was mostly a bust for SoCal skiing, with 4 inches of rain during the peak of the storm and just 8-11 inches snow at the end. This was not enough to open any new terrain, and the areas closed prematurely.
April: It snowed about 4 inches in early April, but no areas were open.

I consider the local areas worth visiting according to the following criteria (2013-14 summary):

Snow Summit: The Wall, Log Chute, Chair 10 and lower Westridge open. Chairs 1, 2 and 3 opened by December 8. Chair 7, Log Chute and lower Westridge opened by Dec. 14. 50% open including chair 9 before Christmas, into late February. Somewhat less than half open until final day March 16. This is the only season since snowmaking was installed on Wall/Olympic in 1979 that these runs never opened.

Bear Mt: Silver Mt. and/or Bear Peak open. The Bear Express opened Nov. 27. The Access beginner chair was added Dec. 7, and several of the Bear Express runs were added the next week. About 50% open since Christmas. Bear was the last SoCal area to close on March 30.

Snow Valley: Slide Peak open. Open Dec. 13 and about 1/4 open at Christmas. Closed as of March 17.

Mountain High: East as well as West open. West opened Nov. 24 but closed Dec. 1. West reopened Dec. 5 and was 48% open during the holidays. Mt. High slowly lost ground during the warm winter, finally closing in late February. About 1/3 of West opened for the first few days of March, but it did not even make it to the next weekend. Closed since about March 5. East was never open in 2013-14.

Mt. Baldy and Mt. Waterman: A natural snow base of at least 4 feet. Baldy's beginner chair opened Dec. 14 but closed in mid-January. Waterman failed to open at all for the 3rd consecutive season.

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