Squaw Valley, CA, Jan. 27-28, 2016

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Squaw Valley, CA, Jan. 27-28, 2016

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Jan 31, 2016 12:55 am

Wednesday at Squaw was about as warm as Tuesday at Heavenly though there were more scattered clouds. South facing softened to spring conditions, but the other ~90% of the mountain retained a packed powder surface.

We arrived 10AM and took the Funitel to a Siberia warmup. We next rode Emigrant so we could ski into Shirley Lake via Funnel.

We took two runs on Granite Chief, High Voltage and Magoos. View across Granite Chief from top of Magoos:

We rode Shirley Express and Liz went into High Camp for a break while I checked out Silverado, which had probably never been open during the recent drought seasons. Liz took a pic of the Olympic rings at High Camp.

Silverado has prominent rock bands and is difficult to scout from above. I first ended up in Waimea, following markers to zigzag around the rock bands. Riding the chair up, you can find more direct lines to ski. I went skier’s left to ski the Fatal Attraction chute, entry here:

Viewed from below Fatal Attraction drops from upper left to lower right behind the dead tree in the middle of the pic below.

I picked up Liz at High Camp and wanted to show her one of my favorite spots, Broken Arrow. Unfortunately after past few tough years KSL has chosen not to staff all of Squaw’s lifts and the Broken Arrow chair was one of the casualties. However I had spotted a traverse track while riding Silverado, so we took that.

From this same spot here’s the view across the upper part of Broken Arrow.

Liz skiing Broken Arrow

Below Broken Arrow were a couple of broad south facing pitches that had softened into corn by the time we got there at 1:30PM.

In front of us was the view of KT22’s West Face.

We skied to KT22 and first skied its East Face.

The next two runs I went around the back side. Here’s the view south to Alpine Meadows.

Notice the White Wolf lift towers, which owner Troy Caldwell hopes will eventually be part of an Alpine-Squaw connection.

I first skied near the top of Olympic Lady into Women’s Downhill. The next lap Liz came with me and we went farther out to Heidi’s glades, which were in afternoon sun.

Around 3PM we took the Funitel back up to ski Headwall. By this time the wind had picked up a bit and was loading snow onto Headwall Face. I thought this was worth an encore, but on my next Headwall lap I skied Classic Chute, which I had missed when I got separated from a group in 2014.

After the final Headwall Face lap I finished the day with 22,300 vertical.

Thursday was supposed to be sunny and as warm as 50F at the base, but that was not to be. It was most cloudy by 10AM and breezes up high strengthened through the day.

Again we warmed up on Siberia but this time took Big Blue to get to Granite Chief faster. Diamond Peak is visible upper left of this zoomed view across Lake Tahoe.

We skied Hidden Bowl first run, and then traversed far skier’s right to Break It Out. Liz there:

Exiting via Shirley again, we skied into Silverado via Bailey’s Cirque and Trail 90. I directed Liz into Jake’s here for better snow on the bottom pitch.

Here’s the view of Emigrant, Funnel and Attic while riding up Silverado.

At this about 12:30 the wind was strong enough to close Siberia. We went to Headwall, where that wind was continuing to reload soft snow.

On our second Headwall run we tried Sun Bowl. It had partially softened early on and skied well as long as you stayed skier’s right where it was smooth. At the bottom of Sun Bowl it started dumping snow so we skied down carefully from there in the bad visibility and went into Wildflour for lunch.

Liz was in sunglasses so I lent her my goggles from my pack and hoped I could manage KT22 in my photogray glasses. This is our last view of the sun while riding KT.

The predicted storm was not supposed to start until Friday and to be rain to 9,000 feet. Yet it continued to snow to Squaw’s 6,200 foot base until 3:30. We managed an East Face run OK with me staying near the trees for better visibility.

Liz had enough of KT in bad weather, so I sent her to Red Dog/Squaw Creek to complete her tour of Squaw. I thought she would just ski the groomers, but she ducked into the trees too and said it was still good over there.

Meanwhile I went back up KT and thought 75 Chute would be out of the wind. It was not, but fortunately the trees between it and Moseley’s Run were well spaced to ski about ¾ of the way down. For my last run I skied the skier’s left edge of Women’s Downhill, but when I got down into Strawberry Fields I could hardly see anything. I made my way down and called it a day at 3:15 with 16,500 vertical. Liz got down shortly therafter before the snow turned to drizzle at 3:30.

The predicted rain to 9,000 feet did happen on Friday. We considered Mt. Rose but it was closed for wind. We drove I-80 in a torrential downpour and spent Friday night in Calistoga after a visit to Larkmead, my favorite Napa winery.
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Tony Crocker
Posts: 10099
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

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