SKIERS, AS A RULE, are rather into numbers. They want to discuss how many runs they made that day, and how many years they've been skiing, and their best time on their favorite slope, and so forth. It's like any athletic pursuit, really; tallies are part of the end-of-the-day chitchat, the round-up done at the lobby bar or local tavern. And skiers 'round the Sierra have plenty of numbers to talk about, in the snowfall department. There has been, in short, many (many many) white flakes this season around Mammoth Mountain, so many that the resort opened a week early. That's pretty darn unexpected, especially since last season will go down on the books as being exceptionally snow-free. More snow, as in "up to four feet are expected," is dropping on the ski-themed wonderland thanks to the second El Niño storm of January 2016, which means that the base at the top of the mountain is growing, growing, growing. So is it time to talk numbers yet? It is.
85-INCH BASE: As of Jan. 5, there were "8 inches on the ground" at the resort, with an 85-inch base at the top. "...this should put us over the century mark!" says a resort representative, in regards to the latest of the early-in-the-year El Niño storms. If you want to look at last season's overall snowfall, that's another number set to consider: 176 inches fell in total. As of Tuesday, Jan. 5, that number for Mammoth stands at 139, and that was just prior to El Niño January visit #2. Several more inches have gone to the ground since that number was released, and several more are sure to fall in the coming months, meaning that Mammoth may hit 176, last season's total, well before this season is done.
JANUARY HAPS: If all of these numbers entice you, then best plan your trip up the mountain (but check road conditions before loading those poles). Woolly's Saturday Parade is still on each Saturday in January, as is Bucky's Bonfire at June Mountain. A little snow -- scratch that, a lot of snow -- doesn't stop the party at Mammoth. If anything, it only stokes that particular bash-lovin' bonfire all the more.