It was another excellent day of skiing at Alpine Meadows. We’re not going to say it was epic, it was just your average powder day, with 6 inches reported in the morning and maybe another 6 or 8 inches falling through the day. There were most definitely some awesome turns found by many people. But we’re guessing that those turns may be soon forgotten, and instead they will remember the trip home.
Let’s talk about the skiing first. It was one of those rare days where Summit loaded for a good ten minutes before the first person loaded on Roundhouse. We quickly hoofed it up the hill and headed to the top, finding some near perfect turns at Tower 19. We headed directly to Scott, along with a good portion of the Northern California and Nevada population. Still we managed a couple of good laps before the line was extending beyond the corral and toward the Chalet.
As the afternoon came around, people did indeed leave early, so the lines were a bit shorter…and the weather got colder and snowier. That lead to some great ski conditions, but some very long trips out of Alpine Meadows. Today people sent pictures of traffic, not powder turns. The trip from Alpine Meadows back into Truckee was 2 hours at closing time. Here’s Andy’s report on the day:
Andy Wertheim: Traffic, Traffic and More Traffic
Skiers and Boarders,
We are just completing another wonderful weekend of skiing for those that were able to access the ski areas. Traffic has been backed up each morning for miles, making the commute from Truckee extremely slow. We are talking hours in some cases. Now it is reversing with traffic backed up into Alpine Meadows and slow at least through the Squaw Valley stop light. Alpine and Squaw were packed to the maximum. Parking was at a premium.
Last weekend a friend who lives near Dollar Hill gave up trying to get to Alpine Meadows due to the traffic backup with people trying to get to Squaw Valley. This weekend he got to Alpine (late of course) and was unable to find a parking space as the lower lot was full, and they were supposedly turning people away. By the way, he is a season pass holder. If you are lucky enough to have a home in Alpine or Squaw then you can just sit tight and wait until early morning or late in the evening to leave Tahoe for the Bay Area. If not, you sit in you car for hours.
Maybe there is a solution to this mess that has been irritating many skiers this season, but I have no idea what it might be at this point. Building more bedrooms to attract more visitors does not seem to be the answer to me. Add the slick snow covered roads we have tonight to the mix and you have an untenable situation.
On the other side of the coin, it was really good skiing today. It snowed lightly with very little wind blowing most of the day. Enough new snow fell overnight to make the surface soft and powdery. We spent a lot of time turning through the trees in Gentian Gully and Promised Land. Visibility is always better in the trees. We had fun searching out short slopes, with fresh powder after many of the normal trails were cut up.
Enjoy your day,
On a side note, Andy was quoted today by Jules Older, author of the popular Slope Dope blog at the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s nice to be getting some recognition from someone who has been writing about skiing for most of their lives.
The traffic situation this year is certainly getting people’s attention. We asked two weeks ago if it were just pent up demand, or that most resorts in Tahoe have moved to dirt cheap passes that have been oversold. By and large, “pent up demand” has been people’s answers. It would be interesting to see a comparison of pass sales over the last 4 years.
Some people have even suggested that it’s always been this way and that we have all forgotten what Tahoe can look like in a good year. They’re right, if you’re talking about a powder day on a major holiday weekend. But this was neither a major holiday weekend, nor a major powder day.
Cars were lined up on Highway 89 all afternoon.
Things were no better over at Squaw Valley.
We’re guessing that in the scientific sense of things, that there is a feedback loop that will help self correct the problem. We can imagine that in hundreds of cars stuck in traffic somewhere in Tahoe today, some parent is saying “Never again will we come to Tahoe for skiing.” As for me, I’ll back up my morning departure time another 15 minutes and leave the mountain just a bit earlier again next weekend. Cheers to those that can ski midweek!
It’s those powder turns that keep us coming back…