We’re not going to lie. Today was likely the best day of the season yet at Alpine Meadows. The forecasts were all over the place over the last week, but none of them picked up on a band of heavy snow sticking around over SquAlpine overnight. When the morning report suggested that Alpine had 17 inches, nearly double all of the other resorts – we took it with a grain of salt. But pulling up in the parking lot just before 8AM, we saw that there was likely 17 inches and more right at the base. Some employees suggested the total was closer to two feet.
Predictably there were some delayed openings for snow safety work. It would not be a surprise that even Mountain Ops was caught off guard. Roundhouse spun at 9:20, and Summit some time later. Seeing that the snow was thigh deep and people couldn’t get speed on Werners, we headed immediately to Yellow. Breaking that first trail across the flats was a chore, but knee deep powder with pockets of pow to the pockets was the reward. It’s been a long time since we could get legitimate face shots on our first few laps off Yellow.
We were right in the right place at the right time to get one of the first rides up ABC sometime around 10. It was no surprise that visibility was pretty flat up top and steeper terrain tended to be a bit more scratchy under the powder. We had some excellent runs mid-day near Tower 19.
As we’ve been mentioning, even with closer to two feet of new snow, there were some definite issues with under snow obstacles. We took some pretty hard shots around skiers left of Sunspot and under the ABC chair line returning to ABC. We were well aware of rocks that were present in those areas but forgot about them due to powder fever. Fortunately the Slant Skis are burly and I am still core shot free. We did note a couple of significant skier versus rock injuries today. In one run down Yellow, we saw three of those. Be careful out there.
We’re going to take this time to note a significant flaw with the new official SquawAlpine.com website. The report now only includes a base measurement of 52″. One would assume that report is from the upper mountain site at the top of The Sisters. Casual visitors to Alpine Meadows that view the official site may have been completely unaware that there is actually far less base lower on the mountain, in some cases 0″. The old website, and most other ski areas include separate measurements for the base area and the top of the mountain. This omission of information is disingenuous. Someone will get hurt…oh, that already happened.
Correction: There is a separate number shown for the lower mountain if you follow the string of mouse clicks it takes to get to the snow report for Alpine Meadows. Then you’re supposed to know that this button says “Lower Mountain”:
Today’s report says that there is 34 inches on the lower mountain. We’re calling BS on that number, even with today’s new snow.
All in all, it was a fantastic day at Alpine Meadows, relative to what we have been skiing and riding, and as long as you understood the risks. As we left Alpine this afternoon, the snow was coming down heavily gain along Highway 89. Hopefully we will get some sort of reset overnight. There’s still a chance for more snow tonight and another shot on Tuesday.