It was another fantastic day at Alpine Meadows. It was fascinating to see just how quickly the snow is melting. Rocks that were just barely exposed yesterday were three foot wide bare patches today. The water was running fast and furious all over the mountain. The sound of the water flowing through Hot Wheels Gully was enough to drown out just about all other noise when riding the Hot Wheels chair. Water was also flowing in the little creek along Dance Floor and along Kangaroo Ridge. It was very much like the days I have hiked and skied Alpine Meadows in mid-July.
That said, the skiing was super fun, with the corn more fully developed and a small crowd of positive people on the mountain. For many, it was the final day of the season, with the local’s team season ending today. There were a lot of people moving out of lockers and packing up cars today. Several suggested that they didn’t know how the mountain would stay open through the 5th.
It’s really the way the entire season has gone, with mountain ops making miracles happen with a lot of snow making whenever possible, and more creative snow farming that I have ever seen at any resort, in any season. Those miracles go all of the way back to early December, when early season rains kept slopes bare and mountain ops salvaged every flake of snow from the parking lot to enable the opening of Roundhouse and Summit for opening weekend.
Everything was good today at some point. Following the sun and timing is everything. My run of the day? The skiers right edge of Wolverine Bowl where the bumps were just right and the snow stayed firm well into the afternoon. The reality is, it was all good for me today, as it was my last day of the season at Alpine Meadows. We again hedged our bets and planned a vacation in the sun for spring break back when it looked like an early closure was a very good possibility. Missing the actual closing day…that hasn’t happened for awhile. My ski season is not done yet. I expect to hit Mammoth and some other areas in the next couple of months. Nonetheless, we’ll be happy to post up some reader contributions over the final week.
One reader, Sue, sent in a question asking if this was the earliest closure ever for Alpine Meadows. She noted that the closing date was April 21st in 1975-76, the last really big drought year. Does anyone have records on opening and closing dates?
In the department of weather for the upcoming week…there’s one more warm day in the forecast tomorrow. Then things are slated to cool down by 10-15 degrees, or to temperatures that are more normal for this time of year. While that will slow down the melt, it may limit the softening of great north facing off piste terrain. It’s worth keeping an eye on the forecast in the long range. We’ve been mentioning, along with BA, that the teleconnections were lined up to provide the possibility of significant weather for us. Over the last 2 days, the GFS was very bullish on bringing in a strong GOA storm around the 8th. The last run of the GFS backed way off of that today, showing just an inch or two again. We’ll be keeping an eye on that one…hoping for a repeat of our last year spring break, where we returned to an amazing powder day.