It’s official. Mammoth Mountain had its snowiest season ever
As another major storm brings more rain and snow to California, Mammoth Mountain has broken its all-time snowfall record – by far.
“With 28-30 (inches) of snow since yesterday afternoon, we just broke our all-season snowfall record of 668” inches, Mammoth Mountain said in an Instagram post.
“We have received 695 (inches) of snowfall to date at Main Lodge, making the 22/23 season the biggest in our history!”
Snowfall in the Southern Sierra is already at record highs, with the state record within reach.
The resort, which averages more than a million skiers each winter, has announced it will extend its ski season in what Mammoth spokeswoman Lauren Burke said “will likely be the best spring skiing ever.” and the best glide the eastern Sierra has ever seen.”
The typical season at Mammoth Mountain begins around the Thanksgiving holiday and ends on Memorial Day.
Indeed, the station’s Instagram post on Wednesday ended with optimism: “We will be open every day at least until July!”
Mammoth gets its heavy snow due to the elevation and topography that surrounds it. Most years, Pacific storms hit the western slopes of the Sierra and rise in a thinner atmosphere against the ridges. Relative cloud humidity rises, ice particles congeal, and snow falls—mostly in the uppermost uninhabited interior—wrung from the 12,000 to 14,000 foot peaks.
But at the resort, storms roll through the deep gorge of the San Joaquin River’s Middle Fork, rising rapidly to a wide break between the high peaks, known as Mammoth Pass, at just 9,300 feet above sea level.
Clouds roll across the pass and dump snow with a vengeance, especially on volcanic Mammoth Mountain, which rises to 11,059 feet.
Ski enthusiast Barbara Kelman got excited about Mammoth’s announcement in a Facebook post: “I’m ready to start skiing when it stops draining!”
Although snowfall is good news for skiers, it causes problems for those who live on the mountain. A Times photographer captured photos of residents trying to dig out “snow walls” in early March.
Snowmelt will also be a concern as the weather warms. In the worst-case scenario, massive snowmelt over the next few weeks could flood towns along US Highway 395, which winds along the base of snow-capped Sierra peaks that reach up to 14,000 feet.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power officials fear record runoff in Mono and Inyo counties could overwhelm the city’s water system.
Times writers Louis Sahagún, Joe Mozingo and Christopher Reynolds contributed to this report.
Los Angeles Times