From early in the summer of 2015, scientists predicted that a massive wet winter was coming to North America. We’ll believe it when we ski it, we said. But as evidenced here, when the first wave of El Niño storms pummeled the West Coast, Chris Benchetler headed home to Mammoth Mountain to explore the surrounding backcountry and areas of the Sierra Nevada that have been inaccessible for years due to the severe drought.

Shot entirely on the GoPro Hero 4 by filmer Matt Cook, the first of four episodes in Benchetler’s “Chasing El Niño,” series serves up some of the best snow conditions this season. But as Chris Steinkamp, Executive Director of Protect Our Winters, explains in the film, snowfall has a greater importance than deep pow.

Yes, the winter snowfall and precipitation in the Sierra made for an incredible winter out west, a majority of California is still experiencing extreme drought conditions. So if you love face shots and deep pow, skip that extra shower—you’re a skier, dammit—or remember the old adage, “If it’s brown, flush it down. But if it’s yellow, let it mellow.” We can all do our part.

Click back to for Episode 2 “It’s Always Cloudy in British Columbia” on Wednesday, April 27.