If you've ever "lost" a mountain, while driving in its direction, you can thank a heavy blanket of fog, or some intense rain, or some other meteorological condition.
Good news, though: Even if the weather is a wicked wallop, the mountain is still there (mountains, as a rule, are pretty darn immovable).
But if you drive up the mountain, and you can't quite see various landmarks you expect, like road signs and even buildings, due to copious amounts of white flaky stuff, well, the signs and structures haven't gone away, either. But you can bet you're probably seeing some major, mondo, break-out-the-extra-huge yardsticks snowfall.
All of that is true at Mammoth Mountain as of the third week of January 2017. In fact, drumroll please (best break out a pair of icicles for your drumsticks, too): January 2017 is now the "snowiest month ever on record at Mammoth Mountain" at the Sierra Nevada ski resort.
So how much snow has fallen at the Main Lodge, which is not even as high as the summit? Wait for it: 241 inches. Or over 20 feet, if you want to get into feet, which is why some of the most astounding photos coming out of the wintertime play spot are merely showing the rooflines of buildings and not actual front doors.
The Main Lodge, by the by, is where measuring records for the resort are taken.
And, again, wait for it (part two): Those 241 inches fell in January, and just January, and, as of this typing, it is only Jan. 23, with a chunk of month still to go.
What to do, where to go and what to see
What's the total for the season, you might ask? Some 344 inches of beautiful, chilly, ski-ready flakeage.
Is the resort open? Yes, with a half dozen lifts in operation. A Mammoth representative reports that crews are at work to "safely open more terrain."
Upshot? You can go up the mountain to schuss down, if you're ready for some never-before-seen snow. But here are two major, mondo, break-out-the-precautions things to keep in mind.
One? Have chains ready. Of course.
Two? Check road conditions. Yep.
Mountains don't disappear, but, every now and then, large items located on a mountain will go bye-bye, briefly, under heaps of snow, should the snowiest month on record come along.