April 7th, 2006, 04:03 AM
and 52 feet for the year (632 inches)! check these pics of Mammoth Mountain, CA out. They are from yesterday after another massive storm dumped 79 inches in 3 days, this on top of the 110 inches previous to that in March and a new season record of 632 and still counting. But thats nothing compared to Kirkwood by Lake Tahoe with a season total of 757, short of last years 807, but will match it by next week with some new storms coming in. Gotta love the Sierra Nevadas. Pics courtesy of Mammoth Mountain.
Is this A., a birthday cake, or B., a house buried in snow?
This deck is 20 feet in the air as a third story deck, showing how much snow there is.
The previous all-time record was set in 1992/93, with 617 inches. This year Mammoth residents have shoveled 632 inches off their cars, balconies and sidewalks as of April 5.
Skiing until July 4th: a distinct possibility.
We measure in feet, not inches.
April 7th, 2006, 04:36 AM
love it!!! :)
heard that Kauai got 8' of rain in march...
2' per week...
over 3" daily!!
see you all in Mammoth over the 4th~~ :)
April 7th, 2006, 10:20 PM
sad news. 3 ski patrol died and 7 were hurt fencing off a volcanic vent on the mountain that was covered with the snow. thats 8 deaths at mammoth this year, up from the typical 2 or 3 a year.
Mammoth Lakes Mourns the Deaths of 3 Ski Patrol Members
Two men fall into a volcanic vent while fencing it off. A rescuer also is killed and seven are hurt. Resort's death toll this year hits eight.
By Steve Hymon and Amanda Covarrubias, Times Staff Writers
11:48 AM PDT, April 7, 2006
Two miles high in the Eastern Sierra, a volcanic hotspot swallowed the record 21-foot snowpack, claimed two of California's most experienced ski experts who fell into its maw, and then took the life of a colleague who tried to save them.
The deaths came despite a series of heroic rescue efforts on Mammoth Mountain, one of the state's premier winter resorts, authorities said today.
The tragedy unfolded in a fumarole, a crevasse that emits gases from deep within the mountain, set in a huge volcanically active basin.
Two ski patrol members had taken off their skis and were shoveling out the record snows that had obscured the 4-foot-high safety fence around the known hazard when the snow, apparently heated from below, gave way.
James Juarez, 35, a five-year veteran of the Mammoth Mountain ski patrol originally from Granada Hills, and John "Scott" McAndrews, 37, a Mammoth Mountain ski patroller from Bishop, fell to the bottom of the pit. They were engulfed in fumes, which elsewhere on the mountain emit a sickening sulfurous odor.
Initially, they were conscious and called for help.
"They were silent within a minute or two," said Rusty Gregory, chief executive officer of Mammoth Mountain ski area, in a press conference this morning.
Seeing his colleagues in danger, Charles Rosenthal, 58, of Sunny Slopes, Calif., a veteran of the ski patrol since 1972, went into the pit. He carried oxygen tanks for each of his friends, but wore none himself.
"He too was overcome," said Gregory.
Gregory said Rosenthal moved into the area "without regard for his own life…it was truly a poignant human tragedy."
At that point, a fourth ski patroller, Jeff Bridges, 51, went into the hole, using an oxygen tank. He too was quickly overcome.
Finally, an unidentified patroller, attached to a rope, went in without oxygen and pulled Bridges to safety.
A succession of ski patrol members tried to help throughout the ordeal. Seven were hospitalized as a result.
Rosenthal, Juarez and McAndrews were taken to a hospital.
"By the time they arrived, there was nothing really that could be done… they were essentially dead on arrival," said Dr. Stephen Swisher, the emergency room physician who treated them.
"The cause of death has not yet been determined by the Mono County Sheriff's Department but is possibly due to oxygen deprivation and/or being overcome by toxic gases," according to a statement issued today Mammoth Mountain ski area.
Mammoth Mountain stands on the southwest rim of the Long Valley Caldera, part of a volcanic chain that extends to Mono Lake. High concentrations of carbon dioxide have been seeping to the surface since a 1989 earthquake and have killed more than 100 acres of trees on Mammoth Mountain.
Gregory identified the fumarole as one on Christmas Bowl run, east of Chair 3.
The deaths bring the total this year to eight at the popular Eastern Sierra ski resort, which broke its all-time snowfall record Tuesday. This winter season has been a deadly one for California, with at least 13 skiers dying.
Mammoth, which rises to 11,053 feet in an active volcanic area, has several such vents, also called fumaroles.
Mammoth Mountain officials, skiers and ski patrollers were still trying to absorb the latest tragedy to hit the community about 300 miles north of Los Angeles, a snow sports destination that draws 1 million visitors a year, many from Southern California.
Earlier this year, five people died at Mammoth and a member of the Mammoth ski patrol was killed in an avalanche nearby. In a normal season, three people die in accidents or from natural causes at the resort. Last season, only two people died.
"Whenever you have something like this in a small town, it touches everyone," said Craig Stadtmueller, pastor at Grace Community Church of Mammoth Lakes. "Even though I'm new here, I can't help but be affected by this because everyone I know is affected."
Ski patrol members, who are trained in rescue and first aid, respond to accidents, trigger avalanches to release built-up snow and erect barriers to hazards.
Michael Fanelli, the National Ski Patrol's director at the Northstar ski area in Lake Tahoe, said fatal ski patrol accidents are extremely rare. Before the death of the off-duty Mammoth ski patroller this season, Fanelli said he knew of fatal accidents only in the Rocky Mountains.
"In the last 10 years, I have not heard of any patrollers killed in California," he said.
Jeff "Jake" Smith, 27, who patrolled at Alpine Meadows, was killed in 1982 as he tried to warn skiers to flee a danger zone. An avalanche smothered him and five other skiers. In 1985, a 9,000-foot peak above Lake Tahoe was named Jake's Peak in his honor.
At Mammoth on Thursday morning, the ski patrollers were moving the fencing around the vent near the Christmas Bowl on the upper mountain when the accident occurred at 11:29 a.m. The area where the accident occurred had been closed because of heavy snowfall. As of Wednesday, Mammoth Mountain had recorded 632 inches, or 52 feet of snow since October. The previous record of 617 inches was set in 1992-93.
David P. Hill, the scientist in charge of the U.S. Geological Survey's Long Valley Observatory in the Mammoth area, said the accident occurred at a well-known geologic feature called the Mammoth Mountain fumarole, a vent that releases water vapor and carbon dioxide from deep within the earth. There are a couple of other, smaller fumaroles on the mountain.
The vents, which emit a slight rotten-egg smell, are relatively harmless in summer when the gas dissipates into the atmosphere. "The problem comes in the winter when the snow builds up and covers this thing," Hill said. Hill said the heated gas can melt a cavity below the surface snow.
The area had already been cordoned off so that skiers would not inadvertently cross over it. "They were trying to move the fence farther back from the fumarole to protect skiers because they knew it was dangerous," said Hill, who talked to Mammoth Mountain officials. "They were doing the right thing. They were just unlucky."
Volcanic gas emissions are believed to have caused at least two California skiing deaths. In 1998, a 58-year-old cross-country skier from Torrance in good physical condition died in nearby Horseshoe Lake. He was found face down, and he was believed to have died from "carbon dioxide toxicity," according to the Mono County coroner. In 1995, a cross-country skier fell into a fumarole in Lassen Volcanic National Park and survived a week before succumbing to the effects of inhaling toxic fumes.
The deaths were another blow to the well-regarded ski patrol, which lost Sara Johanna Carlsson, 31, a native of Sweden, in January when she was killed in an avalanche skiing off-duty near Bridgeport with two other Mammoth ski patrol members.
"When you have folks doing what they are paid to do and falling into a vent, it's close, it's personal and it ripples throughout the community," said Mammoth Lakes Mayor Rick Wood. "There's a collective feeling of devastation you cannot measure. These are the unheralded heroes who make the mountain work. They're the guys who make it an enjoyable, safe place to ski."
Friday morning dawned with brilliant blue skies. Both major parking lots near lifts at the base of the mountain were filled by 8:30 a.m., as skiers sought to take advantage of a rare heavy late winter storm that broke Thursday.
Gregory said he met for an hour Thursday night with the ski patrol.
He said he gave them the option of taking time off, and offered to close the entire mountain if they didn't feel it was appropriate.
"They all showed up for work this morning," Gregory said.
April 8th, 2006, 02:16 AM
whats up with the photoshop snow in those pictures? looks quite cheesy
April 8th, 2006, 04:21 AM
whats up with the photoshop snow in those pictures? looks quite cheesy
That's not real snow? I didn't know. :x
April 8th, 2006, 04:26 AM
Uh that is real snow.
April 8th, 2006, 07:54 AM
Thats real snow.
April 11th, 2006, 09:21 AM
Lets get a BUMP in before this dies and goes to City Photo heaven.