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2004-2005 Reports
  from Mike Fry, Ski Section Chair

06/05/0505/09/0505/03/0504/27/0504/20/0504/12/05
03/27/0503/23/0503/15/0503/07/0503/02/0502/24/0502/12/05
02/08/0501/26/0501/20/0501/19/0501/12/0501/10/0501/08/05
01/07/0501/06/0501/05/0512/28/0412/19/0412/05/0411/30/04
11/29/0411/14/0411/08/0411/03/0410/28/0410/04/0407/20/04

June 5, 2005

Hi Skiers, Before I put my skis and boots away for the season, I want to take a last look at snow and avalanche debris in the South Fork drainage in the San Gorgonio Wilderness.

I expect to see slopes cleared of trees, ice caves carved by streams through avalanche debris, and even a few skiable slopes.

With any luck, there will be about 2 miles of hiking, and 2 miles of skiing each way, and about 3000' of elevation gain.

The skiing should not be difficult, and within the abilities of a strong intermediate skier. You can always walk down the slopes above Christmas Tree Hill, as many have done (including me, but not lately). This is not a trip for narrow skis and leather boots, unless you intend to walk down the whole way.

My plans are to drive up Saturday evening, June 11, car camp at East Flats, and start hiking early Sunday morning. We will return Sunday evening. Send me an email reply if you want to come.

Our meeting room in Clairemont is once again on the chopping block. We saved it from budget cuts last year, but I understand the situation is much more grim this year. If you know anyone in city government, you might ask them if there is anything we can do. Otherwise, we will have to find a new meeting room.

We had a great ski season, and it was my pleasure to share it with you, all 31 days (so far). I look forward to many more to come.

May 9, 2005

Hi Skiers, I'm planning to ski the San Gorgonio Bowls this Sunday. It may be my last ski trip this season, even though the snow will last for weeks to come.

I expect the hike to be about 2.5 miles, with about 1300 feet of elevation gain. It is all trail miles, until the snow is reached. We usually climb another 2000 feet on skis. The amount of skiable snow is about 10 square miles, but only about 3 square miles can be reached from the South Fork Trail. There really is a lot of snow up there!

You only need strong intermediate ski skills to reach the bowls. Then you can watch the really good skiers go higher. I ski the low angle slopes on my tele skis. If the ski back to the trail is too difficult, many a skier has simply walked down on firm snow. The Christmas Tree Hill route has been done on backcountry touring skis with a grip pattern, but climbing skins are strongly advised.

If you are looking for a good all day workout, and the most beautiful mountain scenery in southern California, send me an email.

I prefer to leave San Diego Saturday evening, camp by the car, and get an early start Sunday morning. The more common alternative is to leave before 5 AM Sunday morning. Let me know which plan you can do.

May 3, 2005

Hi Skiers, Three of us skied at Mt. Baldy Sunday, and several more were at Baldy Bowl nearby.

I was drawn to the Mt. Baldy ski resort because they did receive a very large amount of snow this season, and I had never skied there before. Also, I had not bought a lift ticket this season, and I needed to practice my tele turns. Lastly, my parents honeymooned near the resort 65 years ago, and I enjoy seeing the old timey stuff.

Baldy had been advertising 3 to 7 feet of snow, but we found much less than that. They had been pushing their snow around to keep a few runs open, but there were still bare patches. There seemed to be a lot of snow below chair 3, but that was mostly black diamond runs.

I ran into a problem immediately. You have to ride chair one from the parking lot. There was no snow there, so Ken Graebber and I stood there on the dirt at the loading spot and waited for the chair. We sat down when the chair came from behind, but our combined weight caused the chair to sink, and my boot was trapped under the chair. The chair pulled us forward, but my boot dug into the dirt. I finally pulled it free, but I injured my calf muscle on my right leg. I didn't notice the injury until later that day, and it is still quite sore 4 days later.

I'm going to give it a rest this weekend, only trail work, no skiing.

Other than that, the skiing was fun. There was a little bit of crust in the morning, but it corned up nicely by 10. The chair lifts are at least 50 years old, and operate just fine if you pay attention and move quickly. They are all double chairs, but some have the pole in the middle, and some have the poles on either side. You have to watch what is coming and turn to grab the pipe on the side it is actually on. Remember to keep your feet in front when loading on chair one.

Alvin and some others went to the SMS hut at Baldy Bowl. I haven't heard a report, but I could see the bowl from the resort, and they had lots of snow.

There is still a huge amount of snow on San Gorgonio. Some snow-boarders posted great photos on the SGWA website. It still looks like mid-winter there! They triggered a small soft snow avalanche of the new snow that fell last week. No one was caught.

I suspect that June skiing will still be good. I'll plan for a May 15 visit. Let me know if you want to go this weekend or next, and I will try to facilitate some trips.

R. J. Secor is still in the hospital with multiple fractures of his skull. He took a long slide into the rocks in the Baldy Bowl last month. A more detailed report is also on the SGWA website.

April 27, 2005

Hi Skiers, I had a big day Sunday with Alvin and Craig. Craig led us up the ridge just east of the east fork of Barton Creek, about a 3500' climb. It was too steep for me to return, so I headed south for Dollar Lake Saddle and an easier descent. Craig and Alvin headed west to Shields Peak.

The snow was hard packed with a couple inches of new snow from the night before. We were mostly in the sunshine, but the clouds were boiling up around us. I continued to carry my skis along the ridge, not wanting to risk an injury so far into the mountains all by myself.

I hiked down into the clouds, and after many map consultations and a few false starts, I hiked down into the Dollar Lake bowl. The skiing there would have been wonderful, but it was my first visit, and I didn't know how much further I could continue to ski, so I kept on hiking.

I hiked all the way down to South Fork Meadow, and put my skis on. I was only able to ski about a half a mile before there were too many bare spots. I put the skis back on my pack, and hiked the two miles back to Craig's car. My feet really took a pounding in my big tele boots. I may lose my big toe toenail on my right foot.

I want to return to ski the Dollar Lake Bowl, but I need to give my feet a break. Does anyone want to go to Mt. Baldy ski resort Sunday? They have 4 to 7 feet of snow, all lifts running, and claim no crowds. The full day pass is $40. I think they are the last operating ski resort in southern California.

David Skyer wants to go to the Baldy Bowl this weekend. The trail to the ski hut and the bowl is just below the ski resort parking lot. Let me know if you are interested in either trip. Neither trip is an official Sierra Club trip at this time.

You may have heard that R J Secor was seriously injured in a climbing accident in the Baldy Bowl Sunday before last. He wrote the book "The High Sierra-Peaks, Passes, and Trails", which I use for every Sierra trip. He had begun a sitting glissade (sliding down a steep slope on your but), when he struck a rock under the snow, and lost control. He slid about 1300' down, into more rocks. He was taken by life flight to a hospital. He has broken bones and a head injury. He sometimes skis with the Angeles Chapter Ski Mountaineering Section, but this was not a ski trip.

April 20, 2005

Hi Skiers, Jackie Gray picked up some serving spoons at the ski meeting last Thursday. She asked me to send you all a message. Send me an email reply if they belong to you.

Jackie said, "I picked up several serving spoons thinking they might belong to someone from our group. I'll take them back to the Commumnity room if no one claims them."

There is still wonderful snow in the San Gorgonio Wilderness. I didn't make it last Sunday, but Craig, Alvin, and Chris did. The pictures posted on the SGWA bulletin board looked great.

If anyone wants to go this Sunday, send me an email. I would like to drive up Saturday evening, and carcamp at Eastflat. It is probably a 2 mile hike to skiable snow. There will probably be good ski conditions through the month of May.

April 12, 2005

Hi Skiers, There is still a lot of snow in the mountains, and one more ski meeting this Thursday. There is a good map and description on our webpage.

The meeting is our end of season party, potluck dinner, and planning meeting for next season. Please bring food, drink, and ski trip pictures. I will be there after 5:30, but most folks will arrive after 6:30. Bring prints, a CD-R, or your laptop. We won't have a formal slide show, but there will be lots of pictures to see.

We really do need your help to plan next season. Only a few of our trips are on the calendar for 2005-2006. We have made reservations for Yosemite on President's weekend in February. Bear Valley for New Years is still a good choice . Mammoth at Thanksgiving is hard to beat.

Our trip to Tioga Pass Resort in January was very nice, and is now a better bargain than Rock Creek. I enjoy them both. We have been going to Montecito-Sequoia every other year, so its turn has come again.

If you would like to voice your opinion, please come to the meeting or send me an email. We only want to plan trips that you want to go on. We also need volunteer coordinators for each trip.

I hope to ski the San Gorgonio Wilderness this Sunday, but I have been battling a tough case of bronchitus. Let me know if you want to go. Someone else can lead if I can't. I prefer to drive up Saturday evening, car camp at Eastflat, and get an early start Sunday morning. The hike to the snow should only take an hour or so. Most of the 12 feet of snow I saw last month is still there.

Eleven of us had a very good trip to Clair Tappaan Lodge last weekend. Mark Eckel was an outstanding coordinator. There was abundant snow, and very few skiers. We had mostly good weather, and explored many new trails. We experienced the legendary traffic problems on I-80, but we made it to the lodge late, but OK. We had to buy chains for our rented van, and left them at the Lodge for them to sell for a donation. The new management team is running the lodge well, and we could see improvements from our last visit two years ago. There is a really early Easter in 2008, March 23. That would be good time to visit again.

The lodge having a financial crises and is trying to raise $100,000 by October. The Sierra Club lodge committee has threatened to sell the lodge if the money is not raised. You can read more about the lodge and the fundraising efforts on the Club's website.

March 27, 2005

Hi Skiers, I got back from the Rock Creek Lodge trip last night. We had one great day of skiing, and three snowy days. The snow was excellent, but I am looking forward to blue skies and sunshine.

The cabins were cozy, the food outstanding, the staff was helpful and friendly, and the other guests were a pleasure to get to know.

There were 9 of us, in three cabins. Only 3 stayed in the rustic dorm cabin, the other 6 paid extra for winterized plumbing in their cabins. Everyone except me had the snowmobiles take their luggage to the cabins. I skied in with a light pack and only my ski clothes to wear.

By the time we returned to our cars Tuesday morning (yesterday), about three feet of snow had buried them. It took about 2 hours to dig them out with our new avalanche rescue shovels, put on tire chains, and drive down to Tom's place. It rained, heavily at times, all the way home last night.

Don't miss this trip next year!

WSI
I will lead a trip to San Gorgonio this Saturday, Mar 26, if anyone wants to go. I would prefer driving up Friday night, camping by the car, and skiing all day Saturday. I need to drive home that night. Another option is to drive up early Saturday morning, hike and ski that day, and drive home Saturday night.

The level of skiing is intermediate, but that includes skiing through trees. The physical effort is very strenuous, but the rewards of seeing the mountains in record setting snow levels should be great.

Drop me an email and let me know which departure time you prefer.

Clair Tappaan Lodge trip, Apr 8-11, only one day of missed work.
We have had some cancellations, and they are covered by our waiting list. This will exhaust our waiting list, so if you are interested, call or email Mark.

March 23, 2005

Hi Skiers, Only Scott Redlin and myself drove up and skied San Gorgonio Saturday. We met Craig Denson and Chris Guelich up there. They had snowcamped Friday night.

We carried our skis (Scott's were actually a split snowboard) about a mile before we put them on. On our return, we used a different route and skied and boarded to within 1/4 mile of Scott's car. That low-elevation snow, about 7200', will be the first to melt, so expect longer hikes in the weeks to come.

Most of the South Fork trail had good coverage, but a few tree wells were melted out. The avalanche chute at 8000' is a grim reminder of the power and danger of sliding snow. The avalanche was at least 50' wide, twice as wide as the 1995 slide in the same place. When I first heard of this season's avalanches in January, I waited until now, late March, to venture back.

The many small streams in South Fork Meadows were almost completely covered, so it was easy to cross them and proceed to Christmas Tree(less) Hill. The many small trees that give the hill it's name were either snapped off or completely covered. There was avalanche debris everywhere. Massive slides had come down from the slope below Dollar Lake, and the Charlton Chutes. We may not find out what remains on Christmas Tree Hill (CTH) until summer. In 1995, large ice tunnels were formed in the avy debris by streams.

Above CTH, there are orange triangle markers 12' up in the trees. They mark the way to a race course unused for decades. They now show the snow depth, only 1 to 3 feet below the markers. Some markers would be even with the snow if it hadn't settled around the trees. This is a little deeper than I remember from 1995. I missed the 1969 and 1982 El Ninos, which might have been deeper.

We finally reached the magnificent bowls below San Gorgonio and Mt. Jepson. We didn't trust their stability, the day was getting late, and we were good and tired. We just had time to dig a pit, isolate a column, and perform the compression and shovel shear test. I didn't have the energy or courage to climb high enough to find a 35 degree slope for my pit. Our 25 degree slope and 4 foot column did show good stability except for an 8 inch surface slab. That slab could be released by a skier and make trouble for anyone below. If more snow piles on top of that layer, bigger avalanches could be triggered. I will be watching the SGWA bulletin board for better reports. I did push my avalanche probe all the way down in the bottom of the pit. I could not find the bottom 13.5' below the surface.

We filled in the pit and prepared to ski home. Scott fastened his snowboard back together, and I packed up my stuff and tightened my boots. The wind-packed snow of Little Draw was a challenge for my Rainier skis and T3 boots. Scott carved wide perfect turns and waited for my traverses and kick turns to catch up. I did better in the trees along the orange triangle route, but CTH was icing up when we finally reached it. I was able to make very wide, shaky, telemark turns. We met Craig and Chris skiing out with full packs, making much better turns on wider tele skis with bigger boots.

The South Fork trail had softer snow in the trees, and I had more fun. Scott had to push his snowboard with one foot on the level parts of the trail and carry it when the trail went uphill. On the steep hillside before we reached Scott's car, I made perfect tight little tele turns through the trees in soft snow. Too bad Craig and Chris weren't there to see them.

It was another wonderful and exhausting day on San Gorgonio. I won't have a chance to go back until after the Clair Tappaan trip, about April 17. If any of our leaders are game, a sooner WSI may be possible.

March 15, 2005

Hi Skiers, Chuck Hansen sent me this link to photographer R. Todd King's website. The pictures of this year's ice carving in Harbin, China are amazing. Harbin is in northwest China, and must be very cold.

We still have spaces in the dorm cabin at Rock Creek Lodge this weekend. The snow was wonderful at the WBC snowcamp in Mammoth last weekend. I expect Rock Creek will be as good. Email me if you are interested.

March 7, 2005

Hi Skiers, We had a wonderful ski trip to San Jacinto Sunday. 8 of us on backcountry, telemark, and randonee skis enjoyed near perfect snow conditions. The tram claim of 6' of snow in Long Valley was a little exaggerated, but there was more than 6' on the east face of Jean Peak where we dug a pit and analyzed the snow. We had waited at Welman's Divide for a view of San Diego County, but the clouds were still swirling around the mountain.

I practiced the shovel compression and shear test I learned at the avalanche safety course last month. We only dug a 5' pit and cut a column free of the 27 degree east facing slope. That's low angle for avalanches, 40 degree is more likely to slide, but that was the slope we intended to ski. The column did not fail even with 30 taps, pounds and blows. The shear test did cause the column to slide on a thin weak layer about 2.5' down. That was cause for concern, but single skiers were unlikely to release it. We then skied down to the trees, one at a time, all watching the skier, and with our beacons on transmit.

The next hour was tree and trail skiing back to the tram. The top few inches of snow was packed powder and graupel that made turning a pleasure.

Ski Meeting
This Thursday is our last regular ski meeting of the season. The Hi Sierran mistakenly shows a different night. We will feature ski videos from Kent Reed's collection. Meetings are conducted at Clairemont Community Room, Clairemont Town Square Shopping Center, 4731 Clairemont Dr (at Lakehurst Ave one block north of Clairemont Mesa Blvd on the northwest edge of the mall), Thomas Brothers 1248 E1. Look for the City of San Diego Community Office on the south side of the driveway between Von's and Big Lots.

The final beginner class will be at 6 PM, Outing descriptions at 7 PM, and the program is at 7:15.

Our April meeting will be a post season pot luck party and planning meeting for the 2005-2006 season.

Rock Creek
There is still room on the March 19-22 trip to Rock Creek Lodge. Ten of us are going, and we can take more in the dorm cabin and other rustic cabins. This means the plumbing is turned off for the winter, and we will use the shower and restroom building nearby. The cost is $240 for lodging and meals at the lodge. Carpool and Friday's motel cost are not included. This is a very reasonably priced trip to a great location and an exceptional snow year. Rob Baum had to cancel, and I am taking his place as coordinator and leader. Send me a reply if you want to go.

March 2, 2005

Hi Skiers, There is lots of snow in the mountains to the north, and some of it is safe. There is a small weather system coming through Saturday, but Sunday should be fine.

Snow Report
San Jacinto via the tram is still the best bet. They still report six feet of snow in Long Valley, and one of our skiers that went there last weekend reported "almost perfect" conditions. Beginners can enjoy Long Valley near the mountain tram station, but it is a small area. If you ski west toward Round Valley, the difficulty increases rapidly. It really is a telemark mountain, but intermediate skiers can have fun too.

The XC areas of Rim Nordic and Green Valley Lake will be open this weekend. Rim Nordic has about 4 feet of snow, and Green Valley Lake reports 6 feet. They are near Running Springs in the San Bernardino Mtns. You can find more information at http://www.rimnordic.com/.

WSI
If anyone wants to ski San Jacinto this Sunday, let's meet at the Sabre Springs Marketplace Park and Ride at 6 AM. It is just east of I-15 at Poway Rd and Sabre Springs Parkway. Turn left on Sabre Springs Pkwy, and left again into the shopping area behind the ARCO. The park and ride is the large parking lot on your right. We can carpool to the tram.

You will need all your ski gear, lunch, etc, but you won't need chains or 4WD. The tram cost is $21 for adults, $19 for 60+ seniors like me. I will need a ride too. My van just showed the "check engine" light last night. Send me an email if you are coming.

Trip report
Alvin had a great trip to Sequoia when I was in Yosemite. Reiner Stenzel broke a ski deep in the backcountry and came up with an amazing repair. You can read the story and see the pictures on the SMS website.

February 24, 2005

Hi Skiers, There is more snow in southern California than we have seen in about 10 years. I have heard reports of 12 to 15 feet of snow at the Baldy ski resort in the San Gabriel Mtns. They are having big avalanches there, so better to wait. The ski resorts should be safe, as they have active and aggressive avalanche control programs.

I have heard of big avalanches in the San Bernardino Mtns, and big traffic problems on the roads. The two XC ski areas, Rim Nordic and Green Valley Lake XC Center have 4 to 6 feet of snow. Rim Nordic should be open, Green Valley may not be open this weekend. The San Gorgonio Wilderness probably has 10 feet of snow, but continues to have massive avalanches. I don't plan to go there soon.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway will take you to 6 feet of snow at Long Valley. That would be my choice if my granddaughters were not in town. They came here from Syracuse to escape the snow. I have heard reports of heavy wet and soft snow from this last storm (4.2 inches in my rain guage, 22.5" for the season!). There is probably avy danger on San Jac, so stay off big steep slopes with few trees. Check with the rangers in the Long Valley. Unfortunately, they have little experience with avalanches, so probably won't be able to help you much.

I ordered 10 sets of avalanche rescue gear: 6 for our skiers, and 4 for the ski section to loan out on our trips. Let me know if you are interested in another group purchase. I need 10 people to get the $315 package. You can order a set yourself anytime for $340.

There is still room on the Rock Creek Lodge trip, March 19-22. Rob Baum has had to drop out, so I will take over as coordinator. There may still be room in the dorm cabin if the Lodge hasn't filled the other beds. There are only four of us so far as I know. If you booked a deluxe cabin yourself, let me know if you intend to ski with us. Rob only has records of the those that booked through him.

The Sierra is much safer than our local mountains. They received heavy snow too, but not the wild extremes of temperature and rain we have. Monday's report from Bishop did have Considerable danger on slopes steeper than 35 degrees, but the danger dropped to Low in the trees. Their snow pack should stabilize much sooner than ours.

That's all for now. Ski safe.

February 12, 2005

Hi Skiers, I have been working on a group purchase of avalanche rescue equipment for the Ski Section to buy, and I found a very good deal on the internet. This is a good opportunity to get your own rescue gear.

As you know, I took an avalanche course last weekend, and I learned the importance of using probe poles as well as the avalanche transceivers (beacons). Even with practice, the beacon only gets you close to the victim. The probe saves you a lot of time and digging, and that is very important.

Our Ski Section group gear was never complete, with only one shovel and 4 outdated (Pieps) beacons. Last year, we bought one new beacon (Tracker DTS) and a probe. We need to buy more sets of beacon, shovel, and probes for our trip to British Columbia (which starts at the end of this month).

The best deal we have found is from AvalancheTools.com. They have several packages for $340 that would sell for over $400 at REI, and tax would add another $30. They will sell them to us for $315, no tax, and free shipping if we can order 10 sets at once. The packages include the Tracker beacon, a shovel and a probe. One set also has a saw inside a telescoping shovel handle, and the other has the probe inside a fixed length shovel handle. You can check it out yourself at their website.

If you have an older beacon, we will buy it from you for $100 if you buy a modern one. That way you can upgrade, and we get one for our loaner kit. If you buy a new shovel with stowable probes, we will buy your old shovel for $20 for the kit. If you have both an old beacon and an old shovel, the upgrade will cost only $195.

If you only need part of the package, let me know and I will negotiate a discount.

We are fortunate to live in California where the avalanche danger is much less than it is in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. We have a maritime climate that gives warmer winters and a heavier snow pack. Our snow settles quickly and avalanches occur mostly during storms. The cold continental climate in the interior states keeps the snowpack from consolidating and the avalanche danger stays high all winter.

We are not avalanche free. This year in the San Bernardino Mountains, they are having large avalanches that haven't been seen since the last big El Nino winter of 1995. The warm storm this weekend will only make the situation worse.

Owning good avy rescue gear is not enough. You need to practice the rescue techniques, and you need to avoid risky conditions. We can help you buy the gear, and we can practice on the ski trips. If you intend to organize your own backcountry ski trips, you should take a level 1 course.

February 8, 2005

Hi Skiers, The February meeting of the Ski Section is this Thursday. Dan Anderson will give his slide show of his trip to the 10th Mtn Huts in Colorado last year. Here are the directions to the meeting room.

SKI SECTION MEETING, Feb10
Clairemont Community Room, Clairemont Town Square Shopping Center, 4731 Clairemont Dr (on Lakehurst Ave), Thomas Brothers 1248E1. Look for the City of San Diego Community Office on the south side of the driveway between Von's and Big Lots.
6 PM, Introductory class on cross country skiing, clothing and equipment. March meeting only
7 PM, Description of our coming trips and slides of last season's trips.
7:30 PM, Program: 10th Mtn Ski Huts, Dan Anderson.

I spent the weekend in Bishop and Mammoth at a Level I avalanche safety training course. I was one of 35 students from the skier, boarder, snowshoer, climber community. The course was engaging and productive. We practiced beacon (avalanche transceiver) searches and snow stability analysis. The grand finale was a multiple burial event with 4 beacons in duffel sacks and a backpack of a victim with no beacon. My half of the group found everything in 11 minutes!

We learned that beacons by themselves are not enough. We had to use probe poles for the final victim location. The beacons are too confusing when you get real close. I will look for a group purchase of probe poles.

Three of us carpooled from Poway in a Toyota Corolla from Enterprise Car Rental. The weekend internet special was $15/day with unlimited milage in California. We had to rent for three days, and that came to $48 with tax. We got 35 miles per gallon with the skis inside the car, so the 866 miles came to $98, or 11.5 cents per mile. That was about half of what it would of cost had we used the old gas guzzler vans or SUV we owned, so it was a successful experiment.

To save money on lodging, we stayed in the Big Pine Motel rather than in Bishop. For $50/night, we had three double beds in a huge room. We opened the Country Kitchen across the street each morningt at 6, and had fast service for a little less than in Bishop.

The Yosemite Bus Trip is a week from Thursday. Check with Monique to see if there are any cancellations.

The Rock Creek Trip has had some cancellations, and we have three dorm spaces. Rob can sign you up.

I will be checking on local snow conditions. There is a storm forecast for this weekend. Did any of you ski last weekend? Send me a report. The SGWA website had reports of icy conditions at San Jacinto. I am still waiting for the avalanche report from San Gorgonio that says that everything is stable.

January 26, 2005

Hi Skiers, Craig Denson has offered to take a group of beginner skiers to the San Gorgonio Wilderness this Sunday. He plans to start at the South Fork trailhead in Barton Flats (off Jenks Lake Rd and Hwy 38). There should be some gentle skiing a mile or two up the trail.

He intends to carpool from the Sabre Springs Marketplace Park and Ride (which is the same on we use for our bus trips) at 6 AM. The Park and Ride is just north of Poway Rd, and just west of Sabre Springs Parkway, in the little shopping center with the Arco station. Turn off I-15 to eastbound Poway Rd, turn left at the first street (Sabre Springs Parkway), and left again into the little mall. The Park and Ride is on the right side.

January 20, 2005

Hi Skiers, I received an interesting report from Steve Popper about Baldy Bowl. There is a Sierra Club hut west of the Mt. Baldy Ski Resort in the San Gabriel Mtns. The hut is just below the bowl. As I recall, the trail is about 3 miles and 2500' of gain. Steve was able to put his skis on not far from the road.

Mike--
After I opted out of Cedric's Sunday trip to San G due to a late Saturday night, I headed up to Baldy's south bowl on Monday. I was somewhat limited by a leak in my camelback, (no water) but I got some great turns on some quality corn below the center chutes. I had put on my skins about 100 vertical feet above the San Antonio falls.
Many avalanches: around a half dozen or so, but I didn't get an exact count as all exclusively seemed to be wet slides on west/northwest-facing chutes in the trees that I judged to have taken place during the Pineapple Express's final warming and rain dump. Debris fields were quite large - most more than 10 feet high, 100 yds long; none wider than 30 yds. Some VERY large broken trees were amongst the wreckage. Apparently the snowpack didn't know that it was supposed to be anchored by those 100 year-old pine trees.
The upshot was that the snowpack itself had since then thoroughly consolidated; hence the excellent corn snow. Get it while it's hot.
Cheers, Steve

I got another report from Geoffrey Smith about San Jacinto. He was not as successful as Craig Denson in finding skiable snow. "Camille and I slid around in Long Valley on San Jac' on Monday. It was like ice-skating."

Please keep the snow reports coming. I will try to keep us all informed.

January 19, 2005

Hi Skiers, we had a great trip to Tioga Pass Winter Resort, and carefully avoided avalanches in the area. When I looked on the SGWA website this morning, I saw that massive avalanches recently occurred in southern California.

Here are links to Cedrics latest report. He saw 5 large avalanches in the South Fork trail area, in our favorite ski destination. http://members.boardhost.com/sgva/msg/22689.html

Another hiker (snow shoes) took photos of the first slide, and posted them on this website. http://www.outdoorsclub.org/Pasttrip/PastTripDetail.asp?id=7195&leadername=Ken+Murray&area=1 If your email service splits this into two lines, you can go to the SGWA site and use the link from there. http://members.boardhost.com/sgva/msg/22664.html

Craig Denson went to San Jacinto via the tram, didn't see any avalanches, and found some good snow on south facing slopes. http://members.boardhost.com/sgva/msg/22643.html

Alvin's tele class is this weekend. Email him if you want to improve your turning ability on XC skis.

That's all for now. Be careful out there.

January 12, 2005

Hi Skiers, I am all packed for the Tioga trip, and everything is set for the ski section meeting tomorrow night. Craig Denson and Jackie Gray will host the meeting and show the videos that Dan Anderson provided. He will present his 10th mtn hut trip next month.

The videos are "Revenge of the Telemarkers", an instructional and adventure tape produced by the North American Telemark Organization (NATO). Dan also has some rare footage of the first skiers in the San Bernardino Mountains in the 1930s.

Thanks to the four of you that filled the dorm cabin in Rock Creek. Let Rob know if you want to go, we may be able to get another rustic cabin at the dorm rate if they are still available.

January 10, 2005

Hi Skiers, The ski meeting has been saved for this Thursday. I am going to show some outstanding XC ski videos for the program. I'll let you know soon what videos I am able to borrow. Here is the meeting location and time.

SKI SECTION MEETING, Jan 13
Clairemont Community Room, Clairemont Town Square Shopping Center, 4731 Clairemont Dr (on Lakehurst Ave), Thomas Brothers 1248E1. Look for the City of San Diego Community Office on the south side of the driveway between Von's and Big Lots. Lakehurst Ave connects the shopping center with Clairemont Dr, one block north of Clairemont Mesa Blvd.

  • 6 PM, Introductory class on cross country skiing, clothing and equipment.
  • 7 PM, Description of our coming trips and slides of last season's trips.
  • 7:30 PM, XC Ski videos, you won't be disappointed.
  • Our Rock Creek Lodge trip Mar 18-22 has a deadline this Wednesday. We have reserved the dorm cabin that sleeps 6, but only Rob Baum and myself have signed up. 6 more of our skiers are staying in the modern cabins at extra cost for indoor plumbing. Rob and I will use the shower and restroom behind the dining hall. Wednesday, we will tell the RCL staff that they can rent the other 4 bunks in the dorm cabin unless you contact Rob first. The bunks maybe available for some time, but those dates are the start of Easter Week, and may prove popular. If you have vacation then, don't let this trip slip by.

    Mar 19-22, ROCK CREEK LODGE
    Advanced beginner to expert
    Rob Baum, 619-460-0551
    Snowed-in lodge at 9500' in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. Wonderful backcountry touring in and around the Little Lakes Valley, surrounded by 13,000' peaks. Excellent meals. Rustic dorm accomodations are about $240 for 3 nights, including breakfasts, and dinners. Carpool and first night motel not included. Cabins with bath may be available; book directly with the Lodge. Deadline for signup is 1/12/05.

    Bear Valley Telemark Festival
    Armando Valencia has booked a room next month, and is looking for a roommate. This may be the closest place you can demo new skis and boots. Here is his request.

    Mike, I have reserved a room with double beds at the Bear Valley Lodge from 02/06 to 02/12. The cost is $69 per night and includes four days of lift tickets. The festival starts 2/11. I am driving to Bishop for the avalanche course on 2/04 and heading to Bear Valley on Sunday afternoon. Can you ask around to see if somebody may be interested in going with me? Also, I purchased new tele boots so I am selling my semi-new Garmont Veloce, size 10, for $150. See you at Bishop. Armando

    January 8, 2005

    Hi Skiers, We came very close to having a WSI ski trip tomorrow, but Mother Nature has other ideas. If any of our leaders are available next weekend (I will be on the Tioga ski trip), please let me know and we can try again.

    There was skiable snow in the Laguna Mtns yesterday, but today's warm storm rained it away. The Laguna Mtn Visitor's Center said that only patchy snow remained.

    There is a ton of snow on Mt. San Jacinto (5 feet at the tram station), but blizzard conditions are forecast for tomorrow. Here is the winter storm warning from the NWS. The same warning applies to the San Bernardino Mountains.

    RIVERSIDE COUNTY MOUNTAINS- 400 PM PST SAT JAN 8 2005
    ...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT ABOVE 6500 FEET THROUGH 6PM PST SUNDAY..
    OCCASIONAL SNOW WILL CONTINUE TODAY AND INCREASE TONIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY. THE SNOW LEVEL WILL BE AROUND 6500 FT. SNOW ACCUMULATIONS CLOSE TO ONE FOOT WILL BE POSSIBLE EACH DAY THROUGH SUNDAY ABOVE 7000 FEET. STRONG SOUTH TO SOUTHWEST WINDS OF 20 TO 40 MPH WITH LOCAL GUSTS TO 50 MPH ARE LIKELY TO ACCOMPANY THE SNOW RESULTING IN NEAR BLIZZARD CONDITIONS AT TIMES. SNOW...BLOWING SNOW AND DENSE FOG WILL CAUSE LOCAL VISIBILITY NEAR ZERO AT TIMES.
    TRAVELERS THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS THIS WEEKEND SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS. MOTORISTS ARE URGED TO CHECK THE LATEST ROAD REPORTS BEFORE DEPARTING. ALWAYS CARRY CHAINS AND TAKE EXTRA FOOD AND CLOTHING IF YOU MUST TRAVEL INTO THE MOUNTAINS.

    I have made arrangements for a late carpool Thursday (thanks Fred and Dave!). I still need a program. Do any of you have any instructional ski videos? We have a VCR and TV at the meeting room.

    January 7, 2005

    Hi Skiers, I think the weather will not be favorable for a ski trip this weekend. The temperature of this new storm is warm (Pineapple Express), and it will probably finish off the local snow with rain.

    San Jacinto may be high enough to be snowed upon, but I will check that out Saturday afternoon and send out another email. They have been receiving high winds, so it will not be a beginner trip this time. It may be a good time to stay home and back up your computer.

    The ski meeting this coming Thursday is in serious difficulty. The HiSierran did not publish our meeting notice, so the general membership will not be coming. Our speaker, Dan Anderson, will not be available due to a conflict with the Tioga ski trip. I have the same conflict, and was not able to persuade any of the participants to carpool after the meeting.

    If any of our experienced skiers would like to host the meeting, please reply to this email. If any of you have a program for the meeting, the meeting can still be saved. Stay tuned for more announcements.

    January 6, 2005

    Hi Skiers, There are reports of 12 inches of snow at Mt. Laguna and Palomar Mtn. As usual, the ski report is different. Here is John McCormick's report from Laguna Meadows this morning.

    Mike,
    Went skiing up at Laguna this morning. You can see the snow from Highway 8 and there is good coverage at the first meadow. By the information kiosk (or where it used to be before it was blown down), there is continuous coverage at 7 to 9 inches deep. Out in the meadows, there is about the same amount of fairly consolodated snow. The top is crystaline and a good workout but still sqeaky. In the meadows the glide was still there although up in the trees there are some sticky places. It will be a shame if the next storm brings rain to erase this nice base.
    John

    I like to use 12 inches as my minimum because the actual snow depth is probably less.

    Unfortunately, the weather report for this weekend is for rain, and for the higher mountains, wind gusts above 50 miles per hour. The forecast changes each day, so standby for another update.

    January 5, 2005

    Hi Skiers, There is snow in the mountains, and I am still researching the best closest place to go to ski this Sunday. San Jacinto has 2 to 4 feet in Long Valley where you get off the tram. I suspect that will be the best place. This is an early warning that we will go Sunday for the day. I will take beginners if another leader volunteers to take the intermediate skiers. COLs, please let me know ASAP.

    If anyone has good snow reports from Palomar Mtn, Cuyamaca State Park, or Mt. Laguna, please let me know. All I know so far is nobody is answering their telephones.

    Our next ski meeting is Jan. 13, and I will have more to say about that later.

    The Bear Valley ski trip was wonderful. We will be posting photos and a trip report on our webpage soon. We had stormy weather like everywhere that weekend, but the sun did come out a couple times, and there was certainly enough snow.

    December 28, 2004

    Hi Skiers, There may be a foot of snow falling tomorrow above 6500'. That rules out the Laguna Mtns unless the snow level falls to about 4000'. The last time it snowed there, the CHP closed Sunrise Highway for about 2 days. If you want to get up there, take your Sierra Club card and tell them you are going to the Sierra Club Lodge. Don't tell them that we aren't supposed to drive in to the lodge if the road is covered by snow. You may have to shovel your own parking place for your car. You may need chains, even on all 4 wheels of an SUV.

    It is easier to drive to Palm Springs and ride the tram to 8500'. Call 888-515-8726 X 5 for a snow report. If there is more than a foot, it should be ok.

    The San Bernardino Mountains will get maybe two feet of snow, but the roads will be a mess for days. Check Caltrans for HWY 38 conditions. Onyx Summit may be a good spot.

    I will be on the Bear Valley New Years trip, so this will be my last email of 2004. If you find good snow, send me an email, and I will send out a report when I return.

    Jim Foxworthy at Norpine is setting up a snow report on his website http://www.norpine.com/. He calls it So Cal Ski Community. Let me know if it helps you find the snow.

    December 19, 2004

    Hi Skiers, Our New Years trip to Bear Valley is 10 days from now (Sunday), and we still have room for 4 more skiers. We can drop the small condo on Wednesday, Dec 22, and save some money, but there is a $300 cancellation charge.

    Bear Valley is midway between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, not near Big Bear Lake. They have abundant snow, and both the downhill resort and the cross country groomed track system are in full operation.

    You can check out the conditions for yourself at their two websites: http://www.bearvalleyxc.com/ & http://www.bearvalley.com/.

    Our lodging is in the village of Bear Valley, at the ski resorts.  You can ski out the condo door, but we usually walk across the roads and parking lots.

    Dec 29-Jan 2, NEW YEARS BEAR VALLEY CROSS-COUNTRY SKI BUS TRIP
    All levels, instruction is included. <snip>
    Come join us to bring in the new year at Bear Valley where we will be staying in condos at the ski area and enjoying 3 full days of both cross-country and downhill ski options. Bear Valley is located in the Sierras between Yosemite and Tahoe in Alpine County. The area has an extensive cross-country track system, a downhill resort, miles of backcountry skiing, and telemark opportunities. We will bring in the New Year with a progressive dinner which has been a success in previous years. Beginners are welcome. Cost is $360, which includes transportation, lodging and instruction. To reserve a place on the trip, contact Alice right away. <snip> Chapter fundraiser.

    As you can tell by the warm weather we are having, the local snow is melting fast. I have been watching the SGWA bulletin board, and ice axe and crampons are required above 9000 feet. When we do get snow, there will probably be avalanche danger from the ice layer. When the storms return, the lower elevations will be fine. Be careful about the highers slopes. If you want to ski this holiday season, you had better make plans to go to the Sierra.

    December 5, 2004

    Hi Skiers, There is almost 0.5 inches of rain in my rain gauge, but according to the NWS, not much snow in our mountains. This storm was cold, and very active in our coastal areas, but it didn't extend as far east and north as most winter storms do.

    The SGWA bulletin board has another good snow stability posting by Cedric, and Kathy has a snowshoe report on Mt. San Jacinto. She used crampons to hike to the summit, and she posted a link to photos of her Saturday's trip. San Jacinto didn't look skiable to me. San Gorgonio is still good, but still has a lot of hiking.

    This Thursday is our second ski meeting of the season. Alvin has another outstanding trip to share, with lots of good pictures.

    SKI SECTION MEETING, Dec 9

    Clairemont Community Room, Clairemont Town Square Shopping Center, 4731 Clairemont Dr (on Lakehurst Ave), Thomas Brothers 1248 E1. Look for the City of San Diego Community Office on the south side of the driveway between Von's and Big Lots.

    6 PM, Introductory class on cross country skiing, clothing and equipment.

    7 PM, Description of our coming trips and slides of last season's trips. Many of our trip coordinators will be there to take your signup.

    7:30 PM, Program: Skiing the Washington Volcanoes (Baker, Shuksan, Rainier, Adams) Alvin Walter and Fred Gabbard joined the Angeles Chapter's Ski Mountaineering Section in June of this year for a week of high adventure.

    Dan Anderson responded to my last email and volunteered to give a program about skiing to the 10th Mountain Huts in Colorado for our January meeting.

    I still need programs for February and March. Please let me know if you have something to share.

    November 30, 2004 (#1 of 2)

    Hi Skiers, I snooped on the internet, and I have one report to share.

    The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway reported 10 inches of snow at the tram station, and it is turning icy. Has anyone skied higher up?

    The San Gorgonio Wilderness Association website had postings similar to Steve's. About 4 inches at the trailhead, and 18 inches at Southfork Meadow. I'm sure there is 6 feet of snow above 9000'. There could be as much as two miles of hiking and carrying skis each way.

    The weather is forecast at 20 to 30% chance of precipitation this weekend, so I'm going to vote no.

    If any of our leaders want to take a group anyway, please send me an email. If any of our skiers want to go, let me know, and I will collect your names should a group form.

    Here is Steve Henderson's report:

    Hi, Mike.
    Last Tuesday I had an excellent day skiing in the San Gorgonio area. Went up South Fork trail, over Poopout Hill, and up the valley towards Dry Lake. The slope faces north. If I remember rightly, the trail starts at 6-7 thousand feet, and ends at about 8-9 thousand. There was just enough snow to ski from the trailhead, with plenty (a couple of feet) higher up. The sun was beating down when I was there (a fantastic day), and the snow was melting fast. My guess, as someone who knows almost nothing about the local conditions, is that there wouldn't be enough snow to ski from the trailhead now, but still lots higher up.
    Cheers, Steve Henderson

    Thanks, Steve.

    November 30, 2004 (#2 of 2)

    Hi Skiers, I just received this email from Ken Murray of tha Angeles Chapter. He has organized two avalanche courses that are truly inexpensive. For comparison, here is a link to another list of courses. The Bardini foundation is also a bargin.

    A number of our ski leaders have taken avalanche safety courses. I have been very impressed with the knowledge they have. I hope to take the February course, as I was not planning to go to Ostrander this year.

    Here is Ken's email:

    Mike, my name is Ken Murray, and I'm an outings chair in the Angeles Chapter. I've put together a couple of certified Avalanche Clinics, put on by Kurt Wedberg, the professional guide in Bishop. For convenience, I've listed it on the Outdoors Club website, but have invited SC members to participate at the same discounted rate (about $100 off). I thought you might like to list it for your folks in your newsletter.

    Certified Avi I (Feb 5,6) and Avi II (Mar 11,12,13)

    Professional guide Kurt Wedberg is offering his popular courses to Sierra Club members at a discount. Normally $230 (level I) and $345 (level II), they are offered at $130 and $280, respectively. For convenience, I've listed them on the Outdoors Club web site. Go to the respective dates on the calendar to sign up for the trip you want. Membership in ODC is free.

    November 29, 2004

    Hi Skiers, Since I have been out of town, I do not yet know the local conditions. If you sampled the nearby snow, please let me know what you found.

    We need more programs for our monthly meetings. December 9 is our last planned program, and we have no others yet. If you have some photos and a story to share, please let me know so I can put it in the Jan/Feb HiSierran. If you can recommend a video, we can do that too.

    We have nearly filled both the New Year's and Yosemite bus trips. There are 5 vacancies on the Yosemite trip, so we kept all the rooms. Thanks for your early signups. We have a few more spaces for the New Year's trip, and they will fill quickly. You still can come if you sign up quickly. http://sandiego.sierraclub.org/ski

    We had an excellent ski trip to Mammoth. The food was wonderful, the snow abundant, and the fellowship superb!

    Barbara worked her magic in the kitchen and she found ways for all of us to help. We ate fantastic leftovers for the rest of the weekend, and brought some home as well.

    15 of us (one no show) stayed in two adjoining condos, so there was both privacy and companionship for all. It is too bad you all can't come on this trip. We had three condos last year, but it was too many skiers and eaters. Make sure you sign up early next year.

    We had both easy and challenging ski tours. The first two days had very good weather, but Saturday was stormy. It was windy and cold, and at least 18 inches of new snow fell (sometimes sideways). After the workout you will read about shortly, we were happy to have an easy day.

    The storm was ending as we left for home Sunday morning, but we still had to use chains for about 20 miles until we started down the Sherwin Grade to Bishop. The traffic was light until we joined the crowds on I-15, but we did fine on I-215 the rest of the way home.

    The following letter I emailed to Owen Maloy, a Ski Mountaineering Section leader who lives in Mammoth. He has helped us greatly on our last two Mammoth trips. I had been hoping to ski around Mammoth Mtn for two years now, and this trip looked like it would have enough snow.

    Owen, We skied around Mammoth Mtn twice! On Thanksgiving Day, most of our group skied the easy slopes around the west side of Woolly Peak, and came over the south shoulder to the storage building. It was an easy ski down to Red's Lake and the snack bar at chair 14. All but three of us returned to the main lodge via lower Roadrunner. The ski patrol didn't seem to mind.

    Three of us then had a late start (1:30 PM) up Hemlock Ridge and down the gully just east of it. The south facing gully had corn snow in the late afternoon sun. When the gully steepened, we headed southwest for the notch 0.5 mi north of McCloud Lake. We couldn't find it, and wasted some time going all the way to McCloud Lake. It was almost dark when we reached the end of the Lake Mary Rd, and we heaved into Tamarack Lodge by moonlight (about 5:20 PM).

    The next day, 8 of us drove up to Tamarack with the goal of doing the reverse traverse. I thought it would be straightforward to avoid the errors of the day before, but it turned out to be the perverse traverse.

    We started up the creek in the campground on the east side of Twin Lakes that you told me about, but the snow did not yet cover the small trees in the bottom. I then saw a trail climbing south, and we followed it to the row of cabins.

    We skied through the cabins, found groomed track to the borrow pit by Horseshoe Lake, and climbed toward the notch. The stream course led me too far to the north, and I missed the notch again. We continued northwest, but gained elevation too soon.

    We ran into Red's Creek where it is a steep sided canyon, so we tried to climb above it. That put us on a steep crusty slope that was too difficult for one of our skiers with leather boots. I had to stomp footsteps for her and we both carried our skis around to the flats above Santiago Bowl. That was a fine spot for lunch, and the view of the Ritter Range was a new one for most of us.

    We skied down outside of the ski area boundary to the base of Hemlock Ridge and booted up to its summit. The ski descent of the north ridge was excellent. I was surprised to see it written up in the December Mammoth Monthly as a seldom skied powder stash. We wish we had time to do it again after Saturday's fresh snow.

    The late afternoon shadows had just reached the deck at chair 14, so we made a short stop and skied Roadrunner one more time. We took the red line shuttle bus back to our condo.

    It was truly an epic adventure, and one I hope to keep doing until I get it right.

    November 14, 2004

    Hi Skiers, 8 of us enjoyed skiing on the sand dunes in the North Algodones Wilderness. I signed up 16, as many as I have boots for, but 8 cancelled. The ski meeting Thursday night was attended by 30 people. Alvin's old 8mm movies are outstanding.

    Tomorrow is our deadline for Yosemite signups. We have to submit a room list to the concessionaire, and release the unfilled rooms. Please sign up tonight if you want to go. Here is the writeup from our webpage. We are including snowshoe trips for the first time this season. Call or email Monique tonight!

    Feb 17-21, 21ST ANNUAL YOSEMITE BUS TRIP
    SIGN UP SOON - THE DEADLINE IS NOV. 15!!
    Monique Alkemade, 858-509-9203.
    This trip is fun for families and beginners. You don't even have to ski to enjoy Yosemite! Cost: $450 (two/room), $370(3/room), or $355 (4/room), two beds per room. Includes all bus transportation, 1st night motel, 3 nights at Yosemite Lodge, and instruction. All prices are per-person (based on the 2003 rates). Meals are not included. Ski and snowshoe rentals available. Reserve a space by mailing your $40 non-refundable deposit by to Nov. 15 to: Monique Alkemade, 11309 Carmel Creek Road, San Diego, CA, 92130. Please include your full address, email and phone number on the check or in a note! Chapter fundraiser.

    November 8, 2004

    Hi Skiers, We had a great ski trip yesterday, but only two of us went.

    The storm stalled and only rained on us as we drove home. We hiked with our skis strapped to our backpacks about two miles and 1500' above the trailhead. We then put on our skis and climbing skins and skied another two miles and 1500', reaching the upper part of Little Draw, one of three glacial cirques on San Gorgonio.

    We saw no other skiers, snowshoers or hikers, but there were lots of footprints on the Southfork Trail. Above 8500' there was about 4 feet of snow from the late October storms. The north facing slopes were still soft and wonderful for telemark turns. Southfacing slopes were developing a crust, and more difficult to ski.

    Even though we left the car at 7 AM, and started back just after 1 PM, it was dark when we returned to the car at 6 PM. A visit to the ski bowls of San Gorgonio is always an epic adventure.

    Our first two trips (sand skiing and Mammoth) are full. This years snow pack is way ahead of normal. Go to our webpage for details on our other trips.

    The November 15 deadline to sign up for the Yosemite trip is approaching. At that time, we must cancel the rooms we have not filled. If you are thinking of going on this trip, come to the ski meeting Thursday and see slides of last years trip. We can take your check if we win you over. This is one of our best trips for beginners, so bring a friend and we will teach them how to ski.

    Bear Valley already has 3 to 4 feet of snow, and is ready for our New Years trip. We still have room on this trip. Come to the meeting and see what Bear Valley looks like with 8 feet of new snow!

    Our first meeting of the season is this Thursday. Here is the notice from the HiSierran.

    SKI SECTION MEETING, Nov 11

    Clairemont Community Room, Clairemont Town Square Shopping Center, 4731 Clairemont Dr (on Lakehurst Ave), Thomas Brothers 1248 E1. Look for the City of San Diego Community Office on the south side of the driveway between Von's and Big Lots.

    6 PM, Introductory class on cross country skiing, clothing and equipment, or have dinner at the food court near the movie theater.

    7 PM, Description of our coming trips and slides of last season's trips.

    7:30 PM, Program: Cross Country Ski Section Historical. Slides and a super 8 movie of what we were doing 25+ years ago. Alvin Walter and Mike Fry

    November 3, 2004

    Hi Skiers, I am planning a one day trip to San Gorgonio this Sunday. We will carcamp at Eastflat Saturday night, and get an early start Sunday morning. If another leader wants to drive up Sunday morning, that could be a second trip. It is too difficult to rendezvous up there before sunrise. Likewise, there is probably still skiable snow at San Jacinto if another leader wants to go there.

    Let me know what you want to do, and I'll try to match everybody up.

    San Jacinto is the easist to get to, and would probably only require a modest hike before skiable snow is reached. S. J. is a very hilly place. Beginners and Intermediate skiers have a real hard time there. When there is plenty of snow around the Tram station, the first half mile of skiing is easy, even for beginners. When you have to hike further in to ski, it is much more difficult. I have not seen a recent posting on the actual ski conditions.

    San Gorgonio has lots of snow becuase it is 11,500' high, and can accumulate snow all season. That increases the effort, but it is worth it if you have the strength, skills, skis, and stamina. I toughed it out for decades with lightweight backcountry skis and leather boots. I enjoyed myself, but only on perfect days was my skiing any good. Now that I use actual telemark skis and plastic boots, the perfect days are far more numerous.

    This weekend will not be perfect. Cedric reported on the SGWA BB that the snow was icy in the trees, and snow stuck to their climbing skins out in the open. He dug a test pit and found a dangerously weak layer about three feet down. I am hoping that the snow will have consolidated in the last week, but we will also dig a pit, and may turn around right there.

    Here is his posting:

    Re: San G Bowls
    Posted by Cedric on November 1, 2004, 10:28:29, in reply to "San G. bowls"

    We went up Saturday and broke trail through deep powder all the way from Horse Meadow to Little Draw at 10,200'. Sticky powder in the open, and crusty in the trees. What's good for skinning was bad for skiing, and vice versa. Both Big and Little Draw are heavily wind loaded, with huge (car to bus-sized) cornices on the lee-side of the ridge. Measured snow depth at the bowls range from 2' at a wind scoured rib at 9800' between the two bowls to 6+' at a moderately wind loaded spot near the bottom of Little Draw at 10,000'. Would not be surprised to find 8-10' of base at upper center bowl. At the 6+' spot we dug a snow pit but it's so deep we never got to the bottom! Basically 3' came from the first series of storms and another 3' came from last week's, and the top 5" probably came from a convective post-frontal shower. A tap test was conducted and the top 5" sheared at 23 and the top 3' sheared at 5 after that. Overall the snow appears to be very homogeneous, deep, well-bonded, and generally stable. There were no signs of any avalanche activities whatsoever, aside from some minor pinwheel activities on the E-NE aspect of Little Draw. If you plan to go further up the bowl to the most severely wind-loaded spot another pit test would be a wise idea.

    FYI: Tap test is conducted by first isolating a small rectangular column with the top area of the shovel and as deep as desired. A series of taps from the fingers (1-10), wrist (11-20), and elbow (21-30) are then directed to the block until a shear occurs. Personally, I won't ski anything below 10, would proceed cautiously with 11-20, and would feel safe above 20, with some reservation that where I dig the pit may have more stable snow than where I actually ski.

    Another epic day at San G.

    If you have good telemark gear, and think you are in good shape, send me an email.

    October 28, 2004

    Hi Skiers, There is skiable snow now, and some of it is not too far away. Big Bear Mtn opens Friday, October 29, and Snow Summit opens Saturday, October 30. This the earliest opening in many years. Their lift pass is $49. Their normal webpage isn't ready yet, but you can use this one for now.

    There is a couple of feet of new snow in the San Gorgonio Wilderness, but I only have sketchy reports. The San Gorgonio Wilderness Association has a Back Country Bulletin Board with reports posted by recent visitors. They tend to be snowshoers rather than skiers, but it is the best info I know.

    The best I can make of the SGWA postings indicates that the storm of Oct 16 left several feet above 8500 feet elevation, and yesterday's storm added 2 feet at the Jenks Lake Rd. The snow will be thin at the trailheads, and not cover rocks well, but it should be good above Christmas Tree Hill. Watch the SGWA BB for more information.

    The tram at Palm Springs doesn't post snow information on their website. You can call them toll free at 888-515-8726; #4 is their weather report. They just told me that the high today was 30 degrees F, and there is 12 inches of snow. The tram fare is $21 for adults, less 10% for AAA members. We used to have discount cards, but we ran out. I'll try to get some more. My own standard for local skiing is 12 inches minimum, so San Jacinto just qualifies. The tram station is 8500 feet elevation.

    The best local snow information is the Laguna Mountain Lodge 619-445-2342. They just told me that the small amount that fell this morning is melted.

    If you know of any more snow reports, let me know, and I'll include it in another email.

    Norpine should be open next week. There was no posting on the website. It is the only XC ski shop south of Mammoth. Jim Foxworthy sells my favorite backcountry outfit: Atomic "Rainier" skis and Garmont "Excursion" boots. I bought them for my brother, so you know I'm not kidding. Jim's prices will be going up next month, so you can still get a discount. Call or email him. He has been available all summer. His regular store hours will start soon.

    Don't forget to sign up for our trips. Most will be filling fast now that winter is here. Everything you need to know is on our webpage.

    Our first meeting is November 11. Alvin Walter and I will show you how we skied many years ago.

    October 4, 2004

    Hi Skiers, I hope you are getting ready for winter, snow has fallen several times in the Sierra, and the forecast looks good. One long range forecast I read from SIO (Scripps Institute of Oceanography) said an El Nino was developing that resembles the 1968/69 season. That was the winter that nearly buried Mammoth Lakes. Check out these pictures: http://www.mammothgallery.com/hgall13.html and http://www.mammothgallery.com/hgall12.html.

    Our ski trips are filling up, but there is still room on most of the trips. The trip details are still the same, and you can see them on our webpage.

    Nov 13 Sand Skiing, 6 signups, room for 6 more.

    Nov 25-28, Mammoth, 7 signups, room for 9 more.

    Dec 29-Jan 2, Bear Valley New Years Bus Trip, 17 signups, room for 30 more.

    Jan 14-18, Tioga Pass, 6 signups, room for 6 more.

    Feb 4-7, Ostrander Ski Hut, no signups yet. YOU MUST SIGN UP BY OCTOBER 10!

    Feb 17-21, Yosemite, 19 signups, room for 28 more. If you are interested in this trip, and it is one or our best trips, we really need you to SIGN UP BEFORE Nov 15. We have to send them a room list then, or we will have to cancel rooms.

    Feb 27-Mar 6, British Columbia, 12 signups, room for 4 more (one couple and two singles).

    Mar 19-22, Rock Creek Lodge, 2 signups, room for 4 more.

    Mar 28-Apr 10, Norway Hut to Hut, 2 signups, room for 4 more.

    Apr 8-11, Clair Tappaan Lodge, 2 signups, room for 10 more.

    July 20, 2004

    Hi Skiers, Here is a rough schedule for next season. Jackie asked me to send another notice of her BC trip, and I realized that this hot weather means it's time to get the schedule together.

    First some news. The San Diego City Council voted to save one Community Service Center in each Councilmembers district, so Donna Frye saved our Community Room. Send her a thank you note if you live in her district.

    Fred Gabbard and Alvin Walter joined Reiner Stenzel for a terrific ski trip last month. Reiner put together an excellent show on the SMS website. This will help you beat the heat. http://angeleschapter.org/skimt/trips/volcanoes04/volcanoes04.htm

    The schedule. Several of these trips need coordinators. Please forgive me if you volunteered to coordinate, and I have missplaced your name. Now would be a good time to work out the costs for these trips.

    Nov 13-14, Sand Dune Skiing, Mike Fry.
    Nov 25-28, Mammoth Thanksgiving, Barbara Domurad.
    Dec 29-Jan 2, Bear Valley New Year, Alice Fichandler
    Jan 15-18, Tioga Pass Winter Resort, MLK, Coordinator needed.
    Feb 17-21, Yosemite President's Weekend, Monique Alkemade. This trip needs early signups.
    Feb 27-Mar 6, British Columbia, Jackie Gray.
    Mar 18-20, WBC Snowcamp, Starla Rivers. These dates may change.
    Mar 20-Apr 3, Norway Hut-to-Hut, Fred Gabbard. Cost about $1400.
    Mar 25-28, Rock Creek Easter, Coordinator needed. This trip may switch with Snowcamp.
    Apr 8-11, Clair Tappaan Lodge, Coordinator needed.

    Not shown are ski mountaineering trips by Jim Crouch, Craig Denson, and Alvin Walter. Fred Gabbard intends to enter the Ostrander Ski Hut lottery. We will squeeze instructional trips and WSI trips where we can.

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