Mt. Waterman TR (Opening Day 1-28-17)
The day got off to a rocky start when Caltrans had the road closed just past the Santa Clara Divide, saying it "might open sometime today." Only Waterman staff were allowed through. I ended up midway back in a 1/2 mile line of cars:
They finally opened the road at 10 am, 3 hours behind schedule, with R1 chain controls despite most of the road being snow-free. Waterman's main lot filled immediately, and I managed to squeeze into one of the last spots in the lower overflow lot. The line of traffic turned into a line at the ticket window, which turned into a line for Chair 1.
But the face was looking good:
Unfortunately, 60-70 mph winds had stripped many areas to an icy crust from when snow levels rose to ~8000' on Sunday, so conditions in the morning varied from a firm crust to thick wind-affected snow. Unlike last year, though, the crust was thin enough to break through on a hard turn, and there was enough new snow that the ice was patchy, rather than covering the entire face.
1st run down Bros Alley:
I moved to Chair 2 to avoid the line at 1, which was growing up the fire road, hoping that conditions on the face would improve with more skier traffic. Chair 3, which they dug out by noon, had similar conditions to 2, but with no groomed runs. Both were mostly the ice layer, with a few lines of windblown snow if you looked in the right places:
Top of chair 2:
Ram's Revenge on Chair 3:
I stopped in for lunch, where the double cheeseburger was on point, as usual:
By this time, the face had been transformed. There was enough traffic to mix the ice with new snow, making the entire face rideable. Coverage was excellent, turning all but the largest rocks into terrain features. Event the waterfall at the bottom of 1 was skiable. Even better, the new snow never saw a melt-freeze cycle, and temperatures barely reached 40 degrees, maintaining winter packed powder conditions almost everywhere.
Chair 1 Liftline:
They have a solid 3-4 foot base and mostly skier-packed powder conditions, which should hold up well on the face. Over all, this was probably the best day of packed-powder riding I've had in SoCal.