Mammoth receives about 9 feet of snow as ‘superstorm’ wallops Sierra

California
A storm dropped several feet of snow on Mammoth Mountain on Jan. 27, 2021. (Peter Morning / MMSA)

A storm dropped several feet of snow on Mammoth Mountain on Jan. 27, 2021. (Peter Morning / MMSA)

Mammoth Mountain has received 8 to 9 feet of snow during a powerful storm that brought dangerous blizzard conditions to the Sierra Nevada this week.

Between 94 and 107 inches of snow fell on the mountain between Tuesday and Friday morning, according to the latest figures from the National Weather Service.

The amount was by far the most recorded by the weather service’s Reno station, which monitors much of the Sierra range in addition to parts of the Central Sierra, northeastern California and western Nevada.

“This superstorm hasn’t quit since snow began flying Tuesday night,” the Mammoth resort’s website stated Friday. “In the past 24 hours we received another 30 inches of New Snow … with snow still continuing to fall.”

The mountain recorded 94 inches of new snow at its base and 107 inches at the summit in the past 72 hours, bringing the season totals at both locations to 160 inches and 192 inches respectively.

But while the recent snowfall total may be impressive, resort officials are warning skiers and snowboarders of potentially dangerous conditions over the next few days.

“Please be aware that lifts and facilities will be significantly delayed in the coming days. Snow Immersion Suffocation (SIS) danger will remain a threat through the weekend – ski and ride with a buddy and keep your buddy in sight at all times,” a post on the resort’s Facebook read.

Mammoth’s warning came after the death of a skier who was found upside down and unconscious where two trails intersect near Chair 8 off Canyon Lodge around noon Thursday. A cause of death was not released.

On Friday, 12 lifts — almost half of the mountain’s total — were operating, with just 31 of the approximately 150 trails open.

Still, with the bulk of storm having passed through the region already, Mammoth expects it to be a busy weekend and passes for Saturday are already sold out.

Travel to the area may remain somewhat difficult, however, as some sections of Highway 395 remain closed. Caltrans announced Friday afternoon that 395 is open to Bridgeport, meaning Mammoth — which is about 250 miles north of Los Angeles — is once again accessible from Southern California.

Some stretches of the highway have been closed to the Nevada state line for about two days, and at one point, 395 was shut down entirely through Mono County.

Other local roads have also been impacted by weather conditions.

And on Friday afternoon, the Mono County Sheriff’s Office reported that a man died after being found unconscious in a car that was buried in snow.

The 55-year-old man from Michigan was found in vehicle that was in a parking lot in town in Mammoth Lakes, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said. No other details were immediately available.

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