Andy Wertheim: Epic

Hello Skiers and Riders,

There was another 2 feet of snow last night.  This time it was lighter and easier to handle.  The storm finally seems to be abating, as some blue sky is visible this afternoon.  A slide across Hwy. 89 between Alpine Meadows and Tahoe City closed the road for a time this morning.  You may have heard that two locals were stuck in the natural slide.  They were fine, but the road department feared additional natural slides so they closed the road until avalanche control could be completed.  Avalanche work also closed the main Alpine Meadows Road again this morning.

These two delays, plus the normal delays at the mountain created a perfect situation for those that were able to get to the mountain and wait for a lift to open.  It was after 11 before Roundhouse opened, but there was not much of a line, which made the wait worthwhile.  Roundhouse was again the top of the mountain.  Snow showers fells off and on during the morning and into the afternoon.

Given the amount of snow the ski area has had to deal with over the past week and the constant avalanche control that has been required I am amazed that any lift opened this morning.

The wait was worth it.  There were ew people and two feet of light powder.  Face shots all morning…yelping, thumbs up, yahoooo’s, and smiles were pervasive.  It was an epic morning as we were cutting fresh tracks until 2 in the afternoon.  Gunner’s Knob, Sympathy, God’s Knob, Fall Line, Yellow Trail, Tigel Chutes, and all areas between the top of Roundhouse and the Sister’s were exceptional.  It does not get much better.

Enjoy your day,

Andy Wertheim

Editor’s Notes: It would have been far easier for area managers to just say the resort was closed today due to the avalanche concerns, especially after the Highway 89 avalanche took many resources away from the mountain. They didn’t and we totally appreciated that. Andy did not note in his report that they also made a huge effort to get more terrain open today. They started setting up Scott around 1 pm…and unbelievably, they started setting up the Summit corral around 2 pm. There was some furious bombing going on through the early afternoon, and unfortunately the decision was made to not open those lifts. This gives the snow another chance to settle overnight, and also gives patrollers another round of bombing.

Given the demonstrated slide potential today, it was totally the right call. Right around 3:15 today, there was an inbounds slide below the Three Sisters that left a crown of about 4 feet and carried 3 skiers downslope. All were okay but it’s a big eyeopener to those that wonder why more terrain did not open today! The patrol response was reported to be ultra quick and efficient…after what has to be some of the longest days of their careers. Total. Heroes.

We also wanted to note that for the two guys that were trapped in last night’s avalanche, while their health is fine, their wallets are not. Their Subaru was left during the removal of avalanche debris. After being towed, they now owe a $55o impound fee to reclaim the vehicle. A GoFundMe page has been established here.

For tomorrow…more of the mountain should be open, especially over at Squaw. It was very crowded over there today so the skiing must have been excellent. Note to Andy…it’s “world class”, not “epic”. All photos are by Andy Wertheim

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