The Last Little Bit of June-uary

While the morning skies were still blue…just a few skiers dot Alpine Bowl

We had one last day of June-uary skiing at Alpine Meadows, until the altostratus cloud deck moved in mid-afternoon and killed off the sunshine. It was another day for big arcs and ripping groomers. In some of the sunnier locations of the mountain, the snow was just about turning into silky smooth spring goodness.

Conditions were just about perfect on Maid Marian, which is usually the first of the Sherwood groomers to ripen. The top half of Sherwood Run was equally good on the steeper pitch at the top, but became more clumpy and sticky near the flat section at the base. In the afternoon, it was similar on Bobby’s over on Scott, with the steeper pitches being silky smooth and lower angle pitches more firm and grabby. At this time of the year, with the lower angle of the sun, those lower pitch runs don’t quite get enough sun for optimum corn development.

We noticed today that a new jump line has been established on Red Ridge. The jumps are a bit bigger than those that have been in the Tiegel Park, and are bound to be popular with the big kids and kids at heart. We’ve already heard some grumbling about the location from those that don’t get the whole terrain park thing. If you’ve raised kids skiing or snowboarding over the last 2o years, you probably understand the draw of the park. The Alpine Meadows park crew was very sensitive in placing the park in a spot where you can still access Fall Line near Yellow Chair to the right; and you can still access Ladies Slalom and Gunner’s Knob from below the park.

For tomorrow, things will be somewhat of a crapshoot. It’s a transition day as the next storm moves in. The forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies with a high of 45° and winds to 45 mph. If you have the right goggles and skis for firm conditions, we’re betting the crowds will be low.

The Winter Storm Watch has now been upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning. A few details have changed. The timing is now just a bit later and amounts have been bumped up a bit. Snow may continue into Friday night, which will impact weekend commute traffic over 80.

...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM THURSDAY TO 4 AM PST
SATURDAY ABOVE 6500 FEET...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN RENO HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM
WARNING ABOVE 6500 FEET FOR HEAVY SNOW, WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 1
AM THURSDAY TO 4 AM PST SATURDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO
LONGER IN EFFECT.

* TIMING: SNOW WILL BEGIN TO MOVE INTO THE SIERRA LATE WEDNESDAY
  NIGHT WITH PERIODS OF MODERATE TO HEAVY SNOW CONTINUING THROUGH
  LATE FRIDAY NIGHT.

* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS: 1 TO 3 FEET ABOVE 7000 FEET WITH THE HIGHEST
  AMOUNTS ALONG THE SIERRA CREST. 4 TO 12 INCHES FROM 6500 TO 7000
  FEET WITH UP TO 6 INCHES DOWN TO LAKE TAHOE LEVEL.

* WINDS: SOUTH TO SOUTHWEST 15 TO 25 WITH GUSTS TO 45 MPH.
  SIERRA RIDGE GUSTS OF 80 TO 100 MPH.

* WAVE HEIGHTS ON LAKE TAHOE: 1 TO 4 FEET WITH THE HIGHEST WAVES
  FROM MID LAKE DOWNWIND TO NORTH AND NORTHEAST SHORES.

* SNOW LEVELS: STARTING AROUND 6000 FEET WEDNESDAY NIGHT,
  RISING TO 7000 TO 7500 FEET THURSDAY. SNOW LEVELS WILL FALL
  TO AROUND 6500 FEET FRIDAY, THEN TO LAKE LEVEL FRIDAY NIGHT.

* IMPACTS: TRAVEL WILL BECOME DIFFICULT DUE TO SNOW COVERED ROADS
  AND LOW VISIBILITY ACROSS SIERRA PASSES. AVALANCHE RISK MAY
  INCREASE WITH DANGEROUS CONDITIONS FOR BACK COUNTRY ACTIVITIES
  POSSIBLE.

The second update for today is that a second storm is now on the horizon. The latest runs of the GFS are now in agreement with the Euro that another storm will move in late Saturday and stick around into Tuesday morning. Similar amounts of snow are forecast to fall during that event, bringing as much as 6 feet of new snow to the crest by Tuesday. So the commute back over 80 on Sunday could get ugly as well. Those that stick around until Monday may find that the roads are still bad at that time. The saving grace for these storms are that snow levels will be higher than during the last round of storms. Based on the current forecast, chain requirements from DLI to Kingvale would be a reasonable guess. If you’re traveling from points west this weekend, you’ll be wanting to keep a close watch on the forecast.

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