Summer Shred Number 2 This Saturday At Boreal


Boreal brings back the magic this Saturday with their second, and final, public Summer Shred day. Skiing and riding for the public will be offered on “the Glacier” from 9am to 2pm. In case you missed it, here’s the link to our report on the first Summer Shred day in June.

Although the terrain does cater to the looking to enjoy some park riding, it’s a good bet that there will be quite a few people out there just riding for the novelty of skiing in July. While it’s not quite the same amount of fun we had on the 4th of July weekend in 2011 at Alpine Meadows, skiing is skiing. We plan to be there.

The details from the Boreal website:

  • WHERE: Boreal Mountain Resort
  • WHEN: Saturday, July 2, 2016
  • TIME: Boreal Mountain Resort’s Castle Peak chairlift will operate from 9:00am – 2:00pm.
  • COST: $34 for adults and $24 for teens to use the glacier (no cost to come hang out).  Glacier use is FREE for Boreal Mountain Resort Passholders and All-Access Passholders.
  • WHAT YOU’LL GET: There will be a DJ spinning tunes all day, a beer garden on the snow and good times to be had.

Boreal does also note that the Bunker at Woodward will be closed this weekend due to unscheduled maintenance. 


Andy Wertheim: Azalea Lake

Photo by Andy Wertheim

Photo by Andy Wertheim

Skiers and Boarders,

A friend and I took an easy 5 mile round trip hike this morning along the Pacific Crest Trail between Hwy. 80 and Hwy. 40.  We did not hike the entire distance between the highways, but just enough to loosen the legs, enjoy awesome views, identify a number of birds, and soak up the colorful wildflowers, especially the bright pink Mountain Pride Penstemon.

Photo by Andy Wertheim

Photo by Andy Wertheim

We set out to walk to Azalea Lake, but missed the turn off which is not signed.  Luckily we spotted the trail that cuts off from the main PCT on the way back.  The lake is full and ready for a swimmer to part its still waters.

Photo by Andy Wertheim

Photo by Andy Wertheim

It is really not much farther to hike to Hwy. 40, but I did not have enough time to do the entire hike back and forth. It is certainly worth the effort to drive up to Boreal and park in the PCT parking area.  You may even meet a few thru hikers heading to Canada.

Enjoy your day,

Andy Wertheim

Photo by Andy Wertheim

Photo by Andy Wertheim

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 4.13.16 PM

Somebody Has Gas…


With little fanfare, Gazex avalanche control equipment arrived in the Alpine Meadows parking lot recently. Several readers sent photos, and questions about where it was headed. Although the Base To Base Gondola proposal includes the installation of 8 Gazex exploders near the proposed lift, the environmental review process for that project is not completed yet. So if you’ve been in the group wondering if they are already starting that project, that answer is no.

This morning we did a bit of sleuthing around the Placer County building permit database, which has limited public access. There we found that grading permits have been issued for two different Gazex installations at Alpine Meadows. The permits were issued at the end of May, so one would assume the work will be done this summer, especially with the equipment already sitting in the Subway parking lot.

One installation is destined for Peril Ridge, and the second is destined for High Yellow. The exact locations of the exploders is not detailed online and public users do not get access to the map part of the permit. So it looks like it’s time to go for a hike. Send pictures if you do.

A photo of a typical Gazex installation. image via

A photo of a typical Gazex installation. image via

One thing is for sure, both of those areas are important to patrollers as they must be cleared before Summit or ABC can run. That means in a big storm cycle, patrollers are required to spend the night at the top of Summit to clear those paths so more patrollers can get up the mountain. The Gazex system allows patrollers to remotely set off a controlled propane explosion rather than sending them out into the early morning light with hand charges.

The recent comments on the proposed Base To Base Gondola project did include a lot of commentary on the inclusion of 8 Gazex exploders to protect the gondola. Questions were raised about the potential for fire danger with propane caches located on the mountain and about the visual blight caused by the exploders and associated utility sheds. The jury is out on exactly where these exploders will be located and their visual impact. Ultimately, if this is something that leads to more patroller safety and faster mountain openings, it’s a good thing.

Gazex systems have been used in Europe for several years now, and slowly started appearing in US ski areas within the last few years. Squaw Valley installed it’s first Gazex exploder near Headwall for last season. Reportedly it was used more than 10 times during the season. Squaw Valley will also be installing 2 new exploders above the top terminal of the Gold Coast lift for next season.

Another Sad Chapter In The History of Alpine Meadows


Nobody is shocked that this sign appeared at the bottom of Alpine Meadows Road today. It’s another sad chapter in the history of Alpine Meadows. More than one Squaw Valley official has suggested that they intend to preserve the nature and character of Alpine Meadows. Here’s one posted by Friends of Alpine Meadows today:

“Alpine Meadows is a fabulous mountain with a great history, and we are completely aligned with maintaining its identity, character and culture.” -Cara Whitley, CMO, Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows

As we move forward with consolidating our operations, we want you to know that what’s going to remain the same is as important as what’s going to change: We think the key to the success of the consolidation is our fervent commitment to maintain each resort’s distinctive character. People, terrain, activities, all come together to give a resort its individual character, and that’s what we’re committed to retaining.

– Andy Wirth, September 2011

It’s probably not the end of change either. How long will it be before we see:

• The new logo on the sign at the entrance to the Alpine Meadows parking lot?

• The new logo replacing that beautiful big silver AM on the front of the lodge?

• The lifts and towers at Alpine Meadows being painted in white, blue and black instead of green?

There’s certainly going to be some of your typical fanboys that make brilliant comments like “The logo doesn’t matter because the mountain will never change.” They’ve been saying it for a full two seasons now. But we know the truth. Although the mountain itself doesn’t change, the experience of skiing and riding at Alpine Meadows has been changing since our Squaw KSL overlords took over…we welcome your comments.

Another Boreal Summer Shred Is In The Books

IMG_2539There probably were some touch and go moments this morning at Boreal as most of Northern California woke up to a heavy warm rain. But for the faithful that just showed up and hoped for the best, there was some lift served snow sliding to be had in Tahoe today.

Boreal ran the Castle Peak lift from 9 to 2 on the very large and deep patch they have been referring to as “the Glacier.” With the overnight rains, the snow took on a typical brown streaked hue of summer snow, rather than the fresh white surface that was seen in the marketing photos. But that did not matter to those that were anxious to get out there and ski and ride.

As expected, the run consisted mostly of park features, with limited spaces to snake a path through. Those that arrived early had the glacier to themselves for the first hour. That’s pretty typical at Boreal, where the park rats aren’t known for early arrivals. Sadly for me, I was not amongst those people, as my summer job kept me busy throughout the day. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for the July 2nd Second Summer Shred!

Today’s pictures were sent by Unpossible and Vets. Kudos to the team at Boreal and Woodward for making the Summer Shred a reality again.


Andy Wertheim: A Walk In Sugar Pine State Park


Hello Friends,

Yesterday we took a little time off to go for a walk on the nature trail at Sugar Pine Point State Park which is located along the westshore of Lake Tahoe. This is about a 2 mile loop which is used as the Yellow Ski Trail during the winter. It is a dirt trail that takes off to the north of the paved Edwin Z’berg Trail. There is a small forest service sign at the junction.

We went looking for birds, lake views, and an hour or so of just enjoying the outdoors. There are beautiful cedar trees in this area of the park. My friend, Martin Meyers snapped the attached photo of the colorful Western Tanager that we spotted along the way.  We also spotted Canadian Geese and Merganser Ducks floating and diving into the cool water’s of Lake Tahoe.  A couple of Spotted Sandpipers were wandering along the shoreline. There were plenty of Chickadees, a few Red Breasted Nuthatches, and a Western Wood Pewee.

We heard what might have been a Pileated Woodpecker loudly pecking on a hollow dead tree, but never spotted it.

It was not crowded and road work was not an annoyance yesterday, as it was Sunday.

Enjoy your day,

Andy Wertheim