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.

The PineSquawWoodWoodHeavStar Pass


The PineSquawWoodWoodHeavStar Pass

There has not been much discussion about this anywhere yet. But we’ve been asking questions and testing theories. There are some very lucky people on this planet. Normally skiing 6 different resorts in Tahoe requires multiple pass purchases or an investment in the California Gold pass at $2450. But some forward thinking Alpine Meadows skiers and boarders bought an Unfiltered Pass through Alpine Meadows for around $800 before September 27. Due to the magic of previous mergers, potential mergers and new mergers, those passholders now have access to 6 mountains, with no limitations.

It all started with JMA, who owned both Alpine Meadows and Homewood. There is some evidence than an acquisition of Kirkwood was discussed, resulting in shared passes between Alpine Meadows and Kirkwood. And as we all know, KSL purchased Alpine Meadows in September, giving us the PineSquawWoodWood pass.

Last month, Vail Resorts successfully bought Kirkwood. Since Vail Resorts also owns Northstar and Heavenly, reciprocal pass privileges were immediately announced. And that’s something that went quietly unannounced around Alpine Meadows. Yes, apparently your Kirkwood pass now allows you to access both Northstar and Heavenly.

The process is not as simple as it seems. You can’t just roll into Northstar and jump on the gondola with your Alpine Unfiltered pass. Here’s the details:

• You already know your pass works at Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley

• You can pick up your pass at Homewood by presenting your Alpine Unfiltered pass.

• You can pick up your pass at Kirkwood by presenting your Alpine Unfiltered pass.

• Access Northstar or Heavenly by presenting your Kirkwood pass at that mountain’s special tickets office

Note that all of this goodness is offered only for this season. When everyone purchases new passes for ’12-13, the mega-corps that own our mountains will likely no longer feel obligated to honor agreements. We actually hope that this deal never become available again because it would likely mean that someone has monopolized the Tahoe resort market.

Nonetheless, we hope some people are able to take full advantage of the situation while you can, before resorts start closing. It sounds like a good project for a week in Tahoe, or a daring weekend adventure. If you do it, send us the pictures and the story!

Sun For Saturday And Then …..

There’s some warm temperatures on tap for Saturday. If you’re looking for corn and spring conditions, tomorrow is your day to work on that goggle tan. Reports from most sources say that southern slopes have been skiing well this week. Winter snow has still been reported on north facing slopes, but with temps in the 40’s and 50’s this week, it’s not the driest snow ever.

From Sunday onward, all bets are off. The forecasts are all over the map with exactly how much rain or snow will fall or when it will fall. In these cases, it may be best to just enjoy viewing the 5 day precipitation totals and wait for it to come. Fortunately, recent forecasts have under done some of the storms and we hope that is true this week as well. Nonetheless, the map is encouraging for the upcoming 5 days.


Click for full size!


We’re slowing adding more detail back to the newest Check the links to 4 different weather resources on our Links page.

Andy’s Squaw & Alpine Midweek Report

Hello skiers and riders,

Thursday we rode the bus over to Squaw Valley and skied for a few hours in the warm sunshine.  I was with some friends that had not skied Squaw in a long time, so we just toured the place.  KT22 was not running.  The word I heard was that there was a mechanical problem.  We found plenty of good cold winter snow along with an additional smattering of slushy spring surfaces.

The lower portion of the Funnel off the Shirley Lake lift was in good winter condition.  The same was true for the shaded areas off the Granite Lift and Siberia.  We took one run through the Sun Bowl off Headwall which was very spring like, but the cover is very slim.  Groomed runs were pleasant enough off Red Dog and the Squaw Creek lift.  We even made a few good winter turns off piste from the Squaw Creek lift.
Today, I skied Alpine for a couple of hours between 10 and noon.  Warm air softened the south facing slopes relatively early.  I did enjoy winter turns in Lower Beaver, with tricky spring turns coming down to the top of Kangaroo (bushy in that area).  We toured over to Sherwood, where the snow is very slim.  Under the chair, I found some nice soft spring snow that was pleasing.  Expert Short Cut was holding good winter snow. Groomed runs remain in nice condition.

The rumor is that snow is on the way for next week.  Maybe spring will turn back to winter one more time.

Enjoy your day,


3/6/12 Variable Conditions & High Winds

Hello skiers and riders,

It was a light use day at Alpine Meadows today.  There were not very many people on the slopes.  It was just five degrees early in the morning, but warmed into the 20’s or low 30’s by noon.  Sunshine blasted the mountain sides, but a strong cold wind moved along with it.  Summit and Alpine Bowl were on wind hold all morning. Alpine Bowl opened around one in the afternoon.  We skied a few runs on Roundhouse.  There was decent snow in the Sympathy area and on the groomed runs.  Rolls and Knolls offered some soft snow on a hard surface, but other areas were very scratchy under a light layer of wind blown snow that fell the day before.  We did enjoy a couple of groomed runs off Scott Chair, but were rather disappointed with the conditions under the Alpine Bowl Chair. Perhaps you can say that the conditions were variable today.

Enjoy your day,