An Epic Day

Hello skiers and riders,
Given the lack of really great snow days this year, I think we can discuss today as an epic day for the 2011 and 2012 season.  Epic in many ways as far as I am concerned.  First off were the epic lines at Scott and Summit Chair at certain times of the morning.  Second was the epic weather that was not predicted.  Third was the epic snow that waited for us this morning.  It was so nice to ski in the trees without the worry of a snow snake popping up and grabbing a ski.

It was a beautiful powder morning that included sweet turns in Seldom Slides, Gentian, Sympathy, Yellow Trail, God’s Knob, Gunner’s, and even a few off the Tigel Chutes. High Yellow was filled with soft snow as was D7.  I missed Sherwood, as it opened late, and did not get up Summit until afternoon, but that did not dampen the great feeling of skiing powder and soft winter snow all day.

It was a difficult day for the snow safety crews who were out trying to make the mountain safe for us.  No one wants to wait in line, or look around and see lifts that are not open, when lift lines are long, but it was just one of those storms that made opening all lifts by 9:00 O’clock very difficult.  The word was that Squaw was late opening lifts as well.  The turns we made early off the Roundhouse Chair and Scott Chair allowed us to quickly forget the fact that all of the parking spaces in the various lots were taken.

Enjoy your day.


Another Surprisingly Good Day

Hello skiers and riders,
Today was another one of those days you had to get onto the snow to see what was happening.  I stared out my window for a long time before joining a friend at the locker room.  It was snowing at my house (just below 6900 feet), but it looked wet.  Big wet snow flakes were being driven by the wind.  The thermometer claimed it was 32 degrees.  I wrapped up in rain gear, and we headed out.  Wet snow was falling, but it was not unbearable.

After a couple of trial runs down Sympathy and God’s Knob which offered fresh tracks, we headed up to Summit.  Visibility was not the worst, but not really good either. Winds were strong enough at the top to give you the free facial you have been wanting for years.  Hard pellets blasting any exposed skin.  We took a couple of runs down the Sun Spot area, and one in the area of High Yellow.  Both were surprising pleasant.  Our skis sank into 4 to 6 inches of firm snow.  It was not light powder flying over head, but it was untracked and felt like a powder morning.  Fresh tracks always make me smile.

The other surprise is the coverage.  The mountain is looking like it is pretty well covered.  We skied in the trees next to Seldom Slides and Standard Run.  I watched people coming down Scott Chute.  It looked like bushes were disappearing for the first time this year.It feels good to have a comfortable feeling skiing in poor light and not fearing hidden, or visible, obstacles.  It is raining at my office on the Truckee River (roads at this level are wet, but clear), but temperatures are supposed to drop tonight.  If the weather Saturday is not too horrific, skiing should be excellent.

Enjoy your day,


Patience Skiers & Riders, It Will Get Better

I know the reports of rain and general suckiness have discouraged some people. Things will get better. Here’s the latest Winter Storm Warning released by the Reno NOAA office:

It looks like it may finally be time to fully test out my new powder skis – the carbon fiber PM Gear Bro 183 Fats. They have one Tahoe day on them this year. Been skiing my rock skis skis all year. I am so looking forward to Saturday. Hoping it’s an Alpine day…but willing to take one of our last Homewood days too.


Wet, Wet And More Wet!

Hello skiers and riders,
I did not venture out today.  It is raining at the base of Alpine and has been all day.  A friend did go out, and emailed me the following report, that I am forwarding to all of you.  We hope it is going to cool down and begin snowing tomorrow.

“Yesterday was wet and windy, but a lot of fun.  The snow was good and there was still plenty of untracked to be found in the afternoon.  Only Roundhouse was open.

Today we went up hoping to find the same, but the pack was totally rain soaked and really sucked. (Literally).  Martin lasted one run, I lasted three.  Took one on Summit just to see if the snow was any better up there.  It wasn’t.   Hardly any wind on top, but visibility was awful.  I did D8 and quit–despite being warm and dry under all my rain gear.”

Thank you for the report Barb.

Enjoy your day,


Another Surprising Day

Hello skiers and riders,

Winds were screaming on Sunday with many lifts on hold all day. Alpine did not report any new snow this morning, but there was a dusting on the upper mountain that evidently was blown around yesterday and overnight. This morning it was a partly cloudy with lighting on the flat side. I was really not expecting much, and in fact, almost stayed in the office this morning.

A friend convinced me to give it a try. D8 and the groomed areas in Alpine Bowl and below we soft and surprisingly pleasant. High Yellow retained the tips of icy moguls, but there was enough new snow to make the run soft under foot and enjoyable. The same was true of the D7 and the Face. Ridge Run off Scott Chair was well groomed and also softer than expected.

The real surprise today was Field of Dreams. We hiked up from the top of Scott Chair to the top of Lakeview and then headed around the ridge line to one of my favorite out-of-bounds runs. It was immediately apparent that the snow in the trees was going to be good. A few turns on the ridge between tree trunks gave us a taste of four inch deep soft snow. Our tracks were fresh and clean. Once we took off from the ridge, and twisted down between the nicely spaced trees, smiles parted our lips and skis left the only tracks on the hillside. We were alone, and the snow was powder about four inches deep. Other than a few wind scoured patches of ice here and there, the snow was soft from top to bottom (Snow Crest Road). As we road up to the top of Scott we were undecided as to the surface we would encounter in the area of Field of Dreams. We thought it be dust on crust. Our little tour today shows that you must go out and hit the hill in order to know what awaits the surface below your ski or board bases.
Thank you John G. for pulling me out of the office this morning.

This afternoon the sky is cloudy and winds are blowing. We are waiting for the sky to open and drop copious amounts of snow onto our mountainsides.

Enjoy your day,


Sleeper Pow Day Surprise

I had actually planned to get my taxes done today. There was not a plan to ski bell to bell at Alpine Meadows.

First, let’s talk about Saturday. We knew Saturday would be a great day at Alpine Meadows. The gray skies parted early and temps warmed to the point where Sherwood offered morning fun. Sure the coverage was thin, but perfect corn is irresistible. The smoothest corn was found in the Powerline area.

As the day wore on, we moved back to the front side and found pleasant corn snow on all south facing slopes. There was some winter snow too. While north facing slopes held some good snow, it was critical to stay in the shaded areas. Aspects that had seen much sun tended to be a bit crusty. The best bets were North Peril and Palisades. What we liked best was the powder turns on the front side of Gunners. Sure, it was a little bit heavy, but quite a nice contrast to the morning corn on Sherwood.

Sunday’s forecast called for dust on crust. Temperatures were 20 degrees less than Saturday and little or no snow accumulation was expected. But by the time we arrived there was an inch in the parking lot, and it snowed for much of the day. Now the actual report shows little or no accumulation for the day, but the key is to follow the snow, because the wind was depositing it in some great places.

Summit only spun until about 10:30 but plenty of people seemed really happy with the conditions, even with severely limited visibility. We caught nearly the last chair before Summit was put on windhold. The snow in Palisades and lower Counterweight was oh so good today. That left just Roundhouse and lower lifts to keep skiers and boarders entertained. We found fresh tracks with free refills all day off Gunner’s and on some steeper pitches of Deer Cap and dropping into Hot Wheel’s Gully. Somehow the laps added up and the clock kept spinning. The taxes will have to wait for another day.

Things are going to be changing rapidly in snow coverage. All forecasters are coming together to say that the March Miracle is here.  Check the post for details on the excitement. Here’s the GFS model for the next 7 days…precipitation is off the charts.