Sep 17 2014

Headed To The Hoedown

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We’re proud to be sponsoring the Lost Sierra Hoedown by supporting their sustainability effort. Our logo looks pretty sharp on the pint cups from Klean Kanteen.

We’re excited to be heading out to the Lost Sierra Hoedown at the Johnsville Ski Bowl this weekend. As predicted, the event is nearly sold out. You might want to check the status at the Hoedown Facebook page before heading out to look for a ticket at the gate. We’ll be taking a moment to step away from electronic devices and enjoy the whole event. That’s easy to do with nearly no cell service available. Don’t be surprised if things are a bit quiet at UnofficialAlpine.com this weekend. We hope to see some of you out there!

Next week, we hope to bring you reports on:

• The potential for the first cold front of the season to arrive mid-week. The models are still a bit ragged on that.

• The latest report on Squaw Valley Ski Holdings contributions to fight the incorporation effort in Olympic Valley…they now total $364,000.

• Of course we will also be giving a complete report on the Lost Sierra Hoedown :)

Sep 16 2014

People Are Fired Up About Alpine Meadows

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 9.28.09 PMSometimes it takes something big to really get people’s attention. Apparently our Squaw Valley overlords seem to have done such a thing. We noticed this week that our traffic has been in record territory for the “off season”. Just since our post last week regarding the Alpine Meadows website, we’ve seen more than 22,000 visits at UnofficialAlpine.com. Those visits represent more than 8,000 unique visitors. More than 4,000 of those visitors used a favorite or bookmark on their computer to arrive at UnofficialAlpine.com.

10678806_287651231431747_8482293779200530456_nWe also noted yesterday that the newly formed “Friends of Alpine Meadows” page on Facebook already had 500 likes. By today, they had gained another 100 followers. By contrast, the “Friends of Squaw Valley” page took months to gain the same number of followers. It’s awesome to see locals and frequent visitors stepping up to protect Alpine Meadows’ heritage and the unique experience of skiing and riding at Alpine.

There’s no question that the managers and marketers at Squaw Valley Ski Holdings have been drawing a lot of attention to Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley. When will the KSL investors get tired of the negative publicity?

Sep 15 2014

Another Late Opening Date For Alpine Meadows…Thanks KSL

Last week, we reported that Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, owned by KSL Capital, made the decision to combine the Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley websites into one unified site. The new site abandons the use of the Alpine Meadows logo in favor of the Squaw Valley logo. More importantly, it delivers an experience that requires users to wade through a site that includes more information about accommodations, shopping and dining than about skiing. The Squawpologists will rise defensively to note that it’s not yet ski season, but the keen observer will know that the Squaw website looks that way mid-season too. It’s just like the ski experience at Squaw, which requires walking the gauntlet of hotels, restaurants and shopping opportunities, just to reach a ski lift.

One of the things we noticed on the new site this is that tentative opening dates have been set for both Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley.

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It’s no different than any other year since KSL Capital purchased Alpine Meadows in 2011. Squaw Valley is set to open this season on November 26th, while Alpine Meadows is not set to open until December 12th. Yes, that is 16 days later than Squaw Valley. That is exactly what happens when you don’t have competition in the resort industry, or any industry for that matter. For some, even November 26th is a late start for the season. Northstar will likely beat Squaw Valley by a week, and Mammoth by two or three weeks. It’s well known that Boreal tries very hard to be open by Halloween and we have heard that Mount Rose hopes to do the same this year. Kudos to Boreal and Mount Rose for carrying that competitive torch.

Sure, the Squawpologists will remind us that we can ski the early season at Squaw Valley with our passes. But quite a few of us want nothing to do with Squaw Valley, in particular Red Dog during the WROD season. I would take short laps on Kangaroo over icy plates on Champs Elysees any day. There’s also the crowd that will say that they would trade the WROD early season for a later spring season. We’re in the crowd that wants both early and late seasons, as more skiing and riding is better than less skiing and riding.

Yes, the homogenization and gentrification of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows by SVSH and KSL Capital has resulted in far more consequences than a singular website. Let’s give you a few more reminders:

• Some long term managers and employees have been replaced by Squaw people. Although Alpine Meadows people may have been used to fill some of those positions, several have reported that management decisions came from someplace other than Alpine Meadows. [This section was edited to improve accuracy]

• More money holds and “wind holds”

• Fewer total chairs operating between Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley means longer lines for everyone

• Daily lift ticket prices have risen to the point where locals and daytrippers are priced out

• Kids lift tickets more than quadrupled in price

• Kids team prices roughly doubled in price

• Food and beverage options are substantially more expensive. Less variety is available as menus were reduced at the The Chalet and the Ice Bar. Fewer stations are available consistently in the Meadows Cafe, and The Last Chair food service schedule changes daily. Hey, did we tell you that you can ride the shuttle over to Squaw and pick up the GNAR burger?

• Fewer special events are held at Alpine Meadows during the season, and absolutely none are held during the off season. Those events are important in building a sense of community at Alpine Meadows. SVSH and KSL would prefer that events lead people to the Village at Squaw Valley, which erodes the community at Alpine Meadows.

We’re certain there are more things that readers will share. The newly formed community called “Friends of Alpine Meadows” on Facebook has already gained more than 500 fans in it’s first week. Squawpologists will point out that pales in comparison to the 109,000 people that have liked the Squaw Valley Facebook page. it’s taken Squaw Valley years to achieve that number. There’s been some fabulous comments posted at the FOAM page. Here’s a selection of our favorites:

James: Alpine shouldn’t be burdened with trying to share its soul with Squaw

Tara: We are two totally different mountains!

Tim: They are not connected in spirit or by boundary.

Toni: Alpine Meadows is not just terrain on the backside of Squaw.

Bruce: Could not be more different, in all aspects. ALL ASPECTS.

Jon: Virtually every other adjacent US ski area that I can think of right now (except WhistlerBlackcomb) keeps their logo & identity:. Vail/Beaver Creek, Alta/Snowbird, A-basin/Keystone/Breckinridge, Aspen/Highlands/Buttermilk/Snowmass.

Haley: Don’t bring squaws attitude to our alpine! True to the mountain since they have been allowing boarders!

Dan: The Squaw page is full of praise and compliments…as they NEED Alpine Meadows (since Squaw is so limited) yet Alpine skiers/riders are unanimously against this unification. Go figure.

Another Jon: Our children and grandchildren deserve to ski in the local mountain vibe we have all enjoyed throughout our lives.

Lauren: Clientele are very different. Each resort should maintain their own positive characteristic.

Jason: Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley should have separate logos and identities because as a business, KSL could make more money being able to offer 2 different products, thus broadening their customer base and not alienating thousands of loyal pass holders.

Bryce: That’s how mother nature designed it. Don’t F With That woman!

We love that the Alpine Meadows faithful are speaking up for their mountain. We’ve been trying to make a difference at Alpine Meadows since 2008. We’re happy that our efforts are worth something.

Don’t be a Squawpologist!

Sep 10 2014

KSL Officially Kills The Alpine Meadows Website…What’s Next?

When will KSL stop shooting themselves in the foot? It seems like they have been a magnet for negative publicity lately.  The battle over Squaw Valley and KSL Capital’s plans for expansion has been making headlines not just here, but in larger publications such as Curbed, Powder and The Wall Street Journal. Most recently, the Tahoe Daily Tribune reported this week on Squaw Valley Ski Holdings quarter of a million dollar contributions to Save Olympic Valley, fighting the will of local residents and small businesses.

The announcement of the new SquawAlpine.com website was made with little fanfare today via the Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley Facebook pages. As much as some of us don’t want to believe it, SkiAlpine.com now leads directly to the new site at SquawAlpine.com. Guess what, there’s not one Alpine Meadows logo at the new site. KSL…keeping skiing lame again.

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We’ve been reporting for the last two years about the assimilation of Alpine Meadows by Squaw Valley and KSL Capital. Even though Todd Chapman of JMA and Andy Wirth of KSL stood together in 2011 and promised us that maintaining the individual identity of each resort would be a key element of success, we’ve seen that is no longer a part of “the Renaissance” at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. We knew it was coming. Just in the last six months we published:

A Coffee Parable, which explored the significant loss we all experience through the lack of competition. Back when we posted this editorial, many people didn’t believe it would ever happen…because Andy and Todd had promised us separate identities.

The Assimilation Continues: Alpine Meadows Teams Lose Their Identity, which resulted in an uprise and revolution amongst Alpine Meadows teams. Bravo to those that have stood their ground.

Sign Of The Times: Will Squaw Kill Off The Alpine Meadows Brand, which also served as a rallying cry for Alpine Meadows loyalists, resulting in huge new numbers of Alpine Meadows stickers everywhere.

We also noted at the end of last season that the SkiAlpine.com site was barely being maintained and was often filled with erroneous information toward the end of the season.

Some of my friends have told me it’s hopeless, and that I should just accept the fact that Alpine Meadows is dead. If we all took that sort of position, we would have been forced to drink “new Coke” since 1985. So no, we’re not done being UnofficialAlpine just yet. We hope you’re not done reading UnofficialAlpine.com yet.

Just to be safe, we purchased some new domains today:

UnofficialSquawAlpine.com

UnofficialSqualpine.com

UnofficialSquawpine.com

Yeah, they all just lead right here, to our home at UnofficialAlpine.com. We hope you join us in keeping the Alpine Meadows brand alive.

Keeping It Alpine

 

This is a bad idea. You claim to be ‘The soul of skiing’ and instead of letting two distinct souls of two very different mountains exist, you crushed them both and are trying to force a soulless merger no one wants. If the mountains merge they can still keep their own identities. Alpine and Squaw are two different places with two different communities. KSL has come into a community as outsiders and with every decision they are pushing the community and KSL further apart. There is a way for KSL to be accepted. This is not it. Decisions need to be made based on the opinions in Tahoe, not the opinions of people in Denver.

– Greg via Facebook

And within three hours, this post has been seen more than 1,500 times…and a new Facebook page was born:

https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofAlpineMeadows

 

Sep 08 2014

The Weather Models Attempt To Bring Fall One Step Closer

It’s been another week since our last check on the weather. As my weekends rapidly fill in with more and more work days, it’s become clear my 47 month skiing streak will end unless we get a late September snowstorm in Tahoe. So  I looked at several model runs of the GFS again today to see what Ma Nature might be planning. The bad news is that there aren’t any major storms in the models over the next 16 days, which brings us all of the way til the 24th. The good news is that if you look at the finer details, things are slowly changing.

The total precipitation graphic below actually tells two stories. The least important of those is that we are no longer high and dry in a bubble of white in Tahoe in the latest models. The models bring in some of the lightest green precipitation. It’s not enough to make a difference other than to create hope amongst skiers, snowboarders and water managers.

It’s more important to note the position of the ridge changes over the next two weeks. The amplitude of the ridge weakens, and the position moves to the west. It’s not quite far enough to allow the storm door to open just yet, but it’s a step in the right direction, and something we really never saw last year. The amplitude of the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge never let up and the storm door remained closed. Seeing the GFS starting to break down the ridge in the latest models put a smile on my face. Note below how the cold fronts move much closer to the western US and California.

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In the long range, the prognostications are still all over the place. There’s still quite a few people out there trying to sell the idea of a moderate El Niño event offering a very wet winter. There’s also several out there attempting to keep us all level headed. We’re providing links to a small sampling of interesting reading:

Open Snow Looks At The Accuracy of Two Farmers Almanacs

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 1.25.16 PMI’ve never been a strong believer in the Farmer’s Almanac methodology of forecasting. Is there some sort of science involved? Joel Gratz, one of the lead forecasters at OpenSnow.com breaks down the accuracy of last year’s attempt at long range forecasting by the Farmers’ Almanac and the newer Old Farmers’ Almanac. Were they close? Well it depends on which coast you live.

BA Cools Down The Hype For An El Niño Event This Season

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 2.15.44 PMBryan Allegretto at OpenSnow.com is one of the most beloved forecasters in the area. He is the guy that people complain about when it doesn’t snow as much as they had hoped, and the guy that people worship like a demigod when the big storms roll in. BA has kept a cautionary note in his reporting on the potential for a developing El Niño this season. His latest forecast suggest that the odds for an El Nino event this season are weak at best. He also alerts readers to the possibility of a Modoki El Niño event, where the warmer water pools more towards the central Pacific. Previous Modoki years have been drier than normal in the western US.

Unofficial Networks Continues To Hype The Developing El Niño

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 2.44.29 PMUnofficial Networks continues to hold out hope for an moderate to strong El Niño event this season. Just today, they linked up with a PowderChasers.com forecast, which calls for “more consistency with a trend for better dumpage mid to late season.” Man, I was really excited to read that piece…until I realized I had read that piece before. The article was published back in March of 2014, back when there was more agreement on the possibility of a strong El Niño. Few forecasters currently agree with that solution. Thanks to UN for keeping the dream alive.

 

The King Of Stoke & Positivity Checks In With His Winter Forecast

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 2.51.15 PMDr. Robb Gaffney is known for taking the positive spin on everything and in believing in the impossible. It’s a good place to be. In case you don’t do Facebook, here’s the full text of his forecast::

Sierra / Tahoe 2014-2015 winter report is in. Around the Tahoe region there will be an 800″ winter at upper elevations with plentiful deep spines covering most steep granite aspects on Donner Summit. The late season will bring 8 weeks of epic corn conditions on Lassen, Shasta and most volcanoes in the northwest. In the Central and Eastern Sierras from March through mid-May we can expect a moderate to deep snowpack. On northerly aspects there will be consistent boot deep cold winter snow with the uppermost layers having a feathery texture from light and variable winds. Have a great season out there everyone! I will update this report as the models evolve.

 

 

 

As I have said before, as a skier, I’ll be super stoked to just get a normal winter in this season. We’ll keep looking at the weather models to look for a real change on the way.

Sep 06 2014

Letters Speak Louder Than Lawyers

We’ve written quite a bit about the proposal to incorporate Olympic Valley. In the last week, we’ve run across four awesome letters and editorials that we wanted to share with our readers. It’s nice to see local residents and businesses getting involved.

The first two letters were found in the September agenda packet for the Placer County Local Agency Formation Commission. The agenda is not widely distributed, with fewer than a dozen people listed this month, mostly lawyers. We hope you are inspired by the letters as much as we were.

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Here’s the link to the complete copy of the Walsh’s letter.

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Here’s the link to the complete copy of the Guilford letter.

We also noted 2 different guest editorials in the Tahoe Daily Tribune/Sierra Sun this week. Each one eloquently highlights the key elements of why local control and self determination is important, and not just for the residents of Olympic Valley.

In fact, according to campaign finance documents filed to Placer County, the entire operation is officially based out of the offices of a law firm in San Rafael. This must be the “others” in the coalition.

Thus far the entire campaign has been singularly funded by Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, to the tune of $253,100 in cash and services at the latest available report (Jan. 1-July 31). This, mind you, to defeat a measure that does not yet even appear on the ballot.

Perhaps it’s not striking that Squaw Valley Ski Holdings would spend upwards of a quarter of a million dollars on opposing the incorporation effort. It’s that they would spend that much money to prevent the issue from even reaching the people for a vote in the first place.   – Andrew Hays, Olympic Valley resident

Here’s the link to the complete guest editorial by Mr. Hays.

Like most of you, I am not a property owner in Olympic Valley. Nor am I am a business owner or stakeholder in the valley, but I do own multiple businesses in Carnelian Bay and worry about the basin’s future.

I care because I want a sustainable community for my family and a thriving Tahoe in 30 years for my children to enjoy.

Therefore, I am concerned about an outside investment firm (KSL/Squaw Valley Ski Holdings) proposing major changes that are being reviewed and approved by a planning commission staffed by not one single local to Tahoe. – Dan Sanderman, Carnelian Bay

Here is the link to the complete guest editorial by Mr. Sanderman.

So there you have it, four sincere opinions from real residents that make their homes and lives in North Lake Tahoe. We hope more local people choose to get involved in building the future for Olympic Valley and the North Lake Tahoe region. The next Placer County LAFCO meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, September 10 at 2:00 pm. This month’s meeting is being held locally at the Northstar Community Services District, Highlands Fire Station #32 at 9100 Highlands View Road in Northstar.

Public comments on the incorporation proposal, or any other LAFCO business, is limited to 3 minutes per person. Kudos, in advance, to those that can make it to the meeting to speak. Thanks also to the letter writer’s above. You’re the ones Margaret Mead spoke of….

Sep 01 2014

Snow In Wyoming…Not In Our Forecast Yet

Even though summer technically doesn’t end for another three weeks, Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer for most of us. We even saw some visitors to the Foam Fest at Squaw this weekend in Patagonia puffys and Uggs, even though temps must have been near 70°.

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A late summer storm brought snow to Wyoming this weekend.

Such clothing may have been appropriate in Wyoming this weekend, where Labor Day travelers were greeted by a late August snow storm. It was the third snow event in the northern Rockies in the last week. It certainly made me think about how I am going to get some September turns in for Month 48. I couldn’t find anyone crazy enough to make a 2 day rally back to Mount Hood to get in September 1st turns today, so instead I enjoyed a late season paddle board session to celebrate the start of “Local’s Summer”.

Still, with a need to get in some September skiing, I looked at the weather models for the first time in several months today. It doesn’t look promising for early season snow yet, at least not in the Tahoe region. The 16 day run of the GFS painted a picture that looks just like much of last winter, with a white bullseye sitting over Tahoe. Except that white bullseye means no precipitation, not snow. Last year, by mid September, we were tracking some storms on the horizon, and on September 27th, we posted our first picture of someone getting some turns.

The first GFS run of the fall shows a white bullseye over Tahoe...not meaning snow.

The first GFS run of the fall shows a white bullseye over Tahoe…not meaning snow.

Readers have noted that we have yet to make any long term prognostications for seasonal snow totals. We’ve noticed the Unofficial Networks guys and Snowbrains pinning their hopes on the slightest sign of hope for a banner snow year. We’re well aware that the currently forecast mild El Niño is the toughest forecast in Tahoe. Half of those years have been pretty wet, but others have been very dry. So the El Niño is no guarantee, and neither is the long bout of monsoonal moisture we experienced this summer. Dan at WeatherWest.com even suggested that the monsoonal flow was a product of the Ridiculously Reliant Ridge (aka RRR) still affecting our weather. The best hope I can offer is that the wetter fall seasons I have seen in the Sierra are often a false hope that leads to a drier winter…not always though (remember 2004…the October 30th Alpine Meadows opener). We’re not yet alarmed by dry conditions for now and we’ll keep enjoying summer.

We’ll be keeping an eye on the situation as the actual weather patterns start to set up. If we can even get a “normal” year under our belts, I’ll be super stoked.

Aug 31 2014

The Latest $58,000 “Donation”

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For some reason I must have missed the email from Squaw Valley Ski Holdings that announced their latest contribution of $58,000 to the Save Olympic Valley campaign during the month of July. To date, SVSH has been the only contributor to SOV, which intends to stop the movement to incorporate the town of Olympic Valley. Those contributions now total $297,000 during the first 7 months of this year, or more than ten times what has been spent by incorporation proponents, Incorporate Olympic Valley.

We’re always looking for creative ways to think about the amount of money spent by Squaw Valley Ski Holdings and KSL Capital in fighting the local community. It’s shameful when you think about the number of money holds we endured last season, or the number of employees laid off last season, or the number of kids that couldn’t learn to ski because tickets, lessons and team prices went through the roof. So we did a little research. If you took $297,000 and converted it to dollar bills, that stack would rise to about 105 feet. It’s almost as tall as the tallest buildings proposed for the new Village, which stand at an estimated 108 feet tall. While it’s a lot of money, it’s tiny in comparison to amount of money KSL Capital has invested in the Squaw Valley project, reportedly near 2 billion dollars.

How do the proponents of incorporation intend to fight back? They’ll be doing the same thing they have always done, which is providing real answers. Incorporate Olympic Valley will be holding their monthly public meeting on Tuesday, September 2nd at 7:00 pm. Meetings are held at the SVPSD meeting room, which is on the west end of the fire station on Squaw Valley Road. According to a short release from IOV, the focus of this month’s meeting will be to talk about the benefits of incorporation, and dispel the myths that have been spread by opponents to the effort.

We are focusing the next meeting on discussing the benefits of incorporation in detail, as well as debunking many of the myths being circulated by Save Olympic Valley. Even though the reason behind the spreading of these mistruths are obvious to most, their strategy of continuing to repeat them over and over warrants our response.

-Jamie Schectman, Incorporate OV Interim Board Chair

Aug 27 2014

Saying Goodbye To Summer At The Truckee Sports Exchange

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It snuck up on many of us this week, but it suddenly feels a bit more like fall this week. The kids are back in school and there’s already been a few nights of frost in my neighborhood. More importantly, nearly every local ski shop is planning big sales this weekend, and ski and snowboard movie premieres are just around the corner.

We’re excited to help the Truckee Sports Exchange in announcing its Customer Appreciation Day and End Of Summer Sale this Sunday, August 31st from 3 til 6 pm. Besides offering discounts on merchandise storewide, up to 70%, there’s a few extra little things going on:

• That nice little Tahoe SUP Woody that you may have seen at the Sports Exchange booth at Truckee Thursdays will finally be raffled off. As of last week, the chances of winning were still very good. On Sunday, customers at the party will receive an extra ticket in the raffle. More tickets will also be available for purchase. Tickets will also be drawn for extra prizes, in addition to the SUP. Proceeds from the raffle will go toward the Truckee Donner Land Trust.

• The Truckee Sports Exchange will be presenting the Truckee Donner Land Trust with a check toward the purchase of the Black Wall climbing area on Donner Summit. Owner Rob Cavallo and the Exchange staff have been working all summer to raise awareness and funds for the project.

• Food and beverages will also be on hand as well as some entertainment and emceeing by JD Hoss.

There’s been a lot of changes around the Sports Exchange this summer, with a major expansion in the back of the store and a newly forged partnership with the Cyclepaths bike shop and Tahoe Mountain Guides. We’re guessing that Cavallo will be announcing the official rebranding of the store as the Tahoe Sports Hub, as the photo above seems to indicate. It seems fitting as the Exchange was voted as the number one sporting goods store in the 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune Best Of North Tahoe vote this summer.

Make sure you add the Truckee Sports Exchange onto your list of shops to visit this weekend. See you there!

 

Aug 27 2014

Andy Wertheim: Trust Your Instincts

Hello Friends,

My instinct was to turn back and head for the car on our afternoon mountain bike ride yesterday.  The sky had been pretty clear all day, but was beginning to fill with clouds, dark clouds.  Of course, the weather forecast indicated a very slight chance of thunder storms in the Sierra, so we assumed the dark clouds were not coming our way.  At least we felt strongly that they would not dump moister onto our heads.  On the other hand, I really do not believe any weather forecasts and looking into the sky made me nervous.  I guess I should have trusted my instinct which was to load the bikes back into the car and wait for another day.

We started from the Tahoe City Nordic Center at Dollar Hill and road west to Anton Meadows which we skirted on the north side.  This leads to the Fiberboard Freeway which we reached with the sun still shining down on us.  It is a rather long climb up the paved Fiberboard to a trail known as the OTB (Over The Bar trail).  This trail has been upgraded over the past few years and is actually very nice and not terribly technical.  It switches back and forth through the forest, occasionally offering up rocky sections, but nothing that cannot be rather easily ridden.  The forest is beautiful and usually bare of mountain bike riders.

It was Monday.  At the point where we might have turned back, which is where the trail leaves the Fiberboard and heads downhill, I heard thunder in the background.  We winced and made the decision to move forward.  Our goal was to hook up to the Deer Creek Trail after riding down the OTB.  The Deer Creek Trail ends at Hwy. 89.  Everything was fine until we reached the bottom of the OTB.  The sky had grown very dark as we dropped down the OTB. Thunder grew loader with each pedal.

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Finally, the sky opened and hail dropped in sheets to the ground.  It was not something you would want to walk or ride in so we found a dry spot in a clump of small thick fir trees.  Of course, we continued to get wet and cold with each passing minute.  The hail did not let up.  Thunder and lightning crashed all around us.  I was lucky enough to have a water resistant jacket with me, but my ridding partner’s cover was not water resistant.  He was soaked and freezing cold.  After waiting for an extended time hoping the shower would let up (normally a thunder shower does not last very long), we decided we needed to get going or we would be stuck in the woods all night.  Water was pouring down the dirt road that led to the Deer Creek Trail and rushing down the trail.  We walked the bikes, partly to avoid being hammered with hail and partly because my partner’s fingers were too cold to grab onto the bike handles.  We walked in mud, water, rain and hail down the trail pushing our bikes.  Finally, we warmed a little and the rain let up.  I jumped on my bike and started riding.  This was a more level portion of the trail.  I just figured walking would take too long and we needed to make some progress.  The rest of the ride consisted of walking and riding until we reached a bridge over the Truckee River leading to Hwy. 89.

Just as we reached the bridge, which is just north of the entrance to Squaw Valley, the sky opened again and rain poured down.  We looked for shelter, but gave up and just sucked it up and rode back to my office where we stood dripping wet, covered in mud, and ready for a warm shower and change of clothes.

Next time I will trust my instincts. Enjoy your day,

Andy Wertheim

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