Mt Pinos XC Jan. 30 2017
My friend and I hadnt been xc skiing since 2011, judging by the old lift ticket clipped to my jacket I had to remove. It was hot in LA when we went up. At Frazier Park it was 55°. But, there was snow everywhere! But no surface water! Where was the duck pond? At the ranger station where we got our Adventure Pass they told us the town had to stop pumping water a while ago for it.
Driving up to Lake of the Woods
Ascending Mount Pinos. Looking east.
Lots of snow at 7000 ft.
Big snow at the parking lot.
Ready to ski. Purple gaiter fashion statement.
We began our ski up. It was hot. I was in tshirt and thermals, no gloves. Did I say it was hot? The snow was nice and soft and in very good condition. We were surprised with the heat it wasnt in bad Spring condition yet.
In fact, where were the snow bombs we usually dodged as we passed under trees? There was no snow on the trees at all. It was very dry. Nothing really melting like we were used to. Also there was no wind crust. In fact there was no wind at all which was really unusual.
First meadow. We had started late so we were hungry and looking for a lunch spot with a view.
View from lunch looking NW to Cerro Noroeste. You can see the SJ Valley. We could see the snow covered southern Sierra Nevada but I couldnt find a clear view without trees for a pic.
I did see Ben Goldberg.
From these snow dogs?
Looking up to the summit at 8848 ft.
Nice soft snow, no crust from the winds.
It was getting late past 3:30 so we skied to the end of the meadow before it begins climbing and turned around. And now, the smiles turn to frowns.
Because we waited so long, and were deceived by the really hot weather, we werent expecting the snow to firm up so quickly in the shade. In years past it was still pretty slushy with temps like we had during the day. We discovered why the snow was preserved so well. In addition, snowshoers and snowboarders had carved a nice luge run down the middle of the path which was so firm by this time I was able to walk without sinking. Because for the first time in over 20 years, I had to abandon ship and walk down. I am shamed. I blame my dodgy ankle which is still recovering from 2 bad sprains.
However being the seasoned vets we are we made it back and were treated to a beautiful sunset looking south to Ojai.
In conclusion. We were both shocked with all that snow that it was still bone dry up there. There was nothing in any stream beds, there was virtually no melt runoff in the parking lot, and we never saw anything resembling what we were used to seeing. Even the roadway was mostly dry. So it seems to me the drought is still alive in Ventura County.