Squaw Valley, CA, March 29, 2017

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Squaw Valley, CA, March 29, 2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:26 pm

Wednesday was an abrupt transition from winter to spring vs. Tuesday. The weather probably warmed 10 degrees or but it was more like 20 going from higher Mt. Rose to lower Squaw Valley. From the parking lot we get a good view of this season’s deep coverage on Headwall.

I have never seen a groomed strip on that before.

We met at_nyc from EpicSki and gave her I’m sure a less comprehensive tour of Squaw than she had received from tseeb at Kirkwood and Heavenly last weekend. Exiting the Funitel the snow was soft at Gold Coast already at 9:30 so we warmed up on SE facing Emigrant. We saw lots of people fluidly skiing the wide groomed swath from the top of Siberia so we did that next. Even at the top of Siberia there was no hard snow, so we could tell right away there had been minimal overnight freeze and it was going to be a “late spring” day.

We moved on to Shirley Lake and Granite Chief. On the latter we first skied Hidden Bowl, which had about 10 turns of winter snow dropping in. Since the snow had been fresh Monday we stuck to skier packed lines lower down as ungroomed snow was heavy mashed potatoes if it hadn’t been skied much.

In the background is north facing Magoo’s. I went that way a couple of runs later. A cornice has built up to where was about a 3 foot drop at the easiest entry. With the deep coverage I didn’t ski the obvious line in the picture above but down the spine dropping away to the left. There were narrow spots and a few frozen granular patches so that was mostly survival skiing.

We regrouped and rode out of Shirley Lake about 11:45AM. I wanted to check out Silverado but noticed the lift was not running. I have read that Silverado sometimes does not run midweek and unfortunately this was one of those times. So we moved on to Headwall, which overall had the best skiing we had at Squaw Wednesday. View from top of Headwall toward the Palisades.

There were people up there but I never saw anyone ski. Those runs are well filled in but most of them have overhanging cornices.

View the other way toward Lake Tahoe:

Zoomed view of Heavenly on the opposite side of Tahoe:

Liz and at_nyc skied the main face while I explored to find a way into Slot. The most straightforward entry is protected by a snow fence but nonetheless had burned off during the two hot weeks in mid-March. I stepped over a few rocks to get in high on skier’s left. The center of Slot was good skier packed spring snow, but looked more junky lower down. I thus exited on a traverse track right and crossed the groomed track into Cornice Bowl to get on the face above Classic Chute. I paused there as 4 locals charged the run, but soon saw why as the spring snow surface was ideal, soft and smooth on top with a supportable base.

I took an encore run in Classic Chute, bringing at_nyc along this time.

Liz continued on Bullet for a nice excursion away from the crowds.

Rockgarden is in view behind her on the west side of KT-22, quite enticing with this year’s snowpack.

Our final Headwall run was North Bowl.

I thought this might have a cornice dropoff entry like Magoo’s but North Bowl is a run much mellower than usual with the deep coverage.

We went down to Wildflour at the base for lunch about 1:45. We met some friends and came out about an hour late. I thought KT-22 would be the place to be after lunch as the flats and even some of the steeper east facing lines were getting heavy by midday. Unfortunately KT-22 had been having electrical problems in the morning and was shut down for the afternoon.

So we skied our final runs on Red Dog. The Dog Leg groomer was sufficiently steep and north facing to still be fun late in the day. Then at_nyc and I checked out Poulsen’s Gully.


The upper part is steep and you needed to stay in a skier packed line. The lower part was a mogul gully right in the comfort zone for a visiting eastern skier.

I finished with 18,500 vertical.

We scratched skiing Thursday. A small storm came through overnight, turning from rain to snow at our hotel in Truckee about 7:30AM. We drove to Alpine Meadows but too many lifts were on wind hold so we gave up and headed home.
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
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Location: Glendale, California

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