Resort and backcountry skiing and snowboarding in the western US and Canada, including our famous reader-submitted No-Bull Snow Reports.
Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:38 pm
Heavenly reported 6" more new (Kirkwood said 8" and my friend said Northstar which reported 9" new/5" overnight was very good) and at least some of it fell after Heavenly closed. It cleared in the evening and temps dropped into low teens overnight which dried out the snow. The friend I stayed with near So. Tahoe needed a ride to skiing and his wife was picking him up at bottom of gondola around noon. Rather than make his wife drive to Tram base to pickup his bootbag, we parked behind Harrah's and walked to gondola. There was about a 10 minute line, but nobody was in singles line so we went there and ended up in same cabin. We went up Tamarack and skied to Sky chair. He took groomed route while I got about 15 low-angle powder turns on SE-facing hill above snow-making reservoir. After riding Sky, he took Ellie's while I found some untracked in the Skiways, then I cut across Ellie's and found room for tracks between chair and run. My friend took Liz's while I mostly stayed in the powder to the left. Twice, I went down Sky Canyon where I found some steep, mostly untracked on the left/North wall.
We took a lap on Pinnacles where there was a lot of room for tracks to left of run. My friend skied and enjoyed the powder better than previous day although he did not think he could handle another Pinnacle lap. We took a lap on Canyon where I made turns in untracked area I spotted next to rope keeping skiers away from chair that is very close to ground in many place. We then went up Sky and returned to NV. We took high traverse across Milky Way Bowl and after clearing all the traverses found some good lightly tracked snow in first set of trees. We went up Dipper and skied CA trail to Tamarack Lodge where he went down the gondola while I went up the chair.
I skied Crossover to Olympic, finding some powder scraps in the trees, then went out the Firebreak gate. Some boarders I asked did not need another person, but I found a 20-something skier starting down that I partnered with. The snow for over 2K was nearly untracked. We cut left before we got too low, but still found much more NE-facing tree-shaded powder that may have been better than previous day. It did get heavier as we got below 7500', but was there was still an amazing amount of untracked. At about 7000' there was a little suffering to get around a rocky point and across a creek on a snowbridge, but we made it down the very thin bottom to close to the road without removing our skis. The guy I came down with had to go to his car behind Harrah's to meet a friend and said to give him 10 minutes. I think I waited that long at gondola entrance without seeing him so I got a private cabin and had beer I had been carrying. Since my car was behind Harrah's, I was semi-committed to another Firebreak lap (or gondola download or shuttle from base you could ski to). I went up Tamarack and Dipper and stayed on traverse above Milky Way Bowl to Killibrew gate A and skied down to gate B. I took a big entrance into Stateline Chute, where there was still a lot of deep untracked on the edges. Lower down there were patches that had not been skied and were still OK although it was better where sun was not baking it. After riding Mott, I skied Nevada trail to Stagecoach and went up it and Olympic and did another Firebreak run. I pushed it a little further in the great 2:30 PM 100+ turn untracked and cut over a little lower than previous lap. I took a lower snowbridge over creek and found a decent route although I had to take off my skis to cross a smaller creek. Snow was very thin over asphalt and dirt and sand in places towards the bottom, but I made it down bank to road and it was not much over 100 steps to my car. I drove about 2 miles to CA base, but could not catch tram so I went up Gunbarrel Powder Bowl and Sky chairs and skied Ellie's which had developed some bumps in the soft snow that I mostly avoided. I went up Canyon, as it was cool at top of Sky since I left my jacket in car, and skied Ridge Run. I saw people outside ropeline to skiers left that had been protected/enforced by employee earlier. It looked like fun so I ducked rope (and it was fun), then rode Canyon again and got well outside rope, but did not find that good of untracked and found a lot of very steep and tall wind-lips. I skied some more untracked off hill above Waterfall where there was also room on steep left side for some more powder turns. After riding Groove chair, I skied more untracked close to trees above Gunbarrel before coming down left side of Face where there were many opportunities to make turns where snow was still soft and deep. I quit after 4 with over 28.5K. I could have gotten over 30K by riding Gunbarrel chair that was still loading, but after 11 days in a row (3 CA, 5 UT and 3 more CA/NV) and doubling my season total of Firebreak laps two days in a row did not need to push it (more). It seems like the difference between Heavenly and Kirkwood this season are less than in recent marginal seasons, similarly to how difference between Park City and Cottonwood Canyon resorts were not that great earlier this year.
My season total is now 45 days (and over 1M vertical as of today) and includes 13 days at Heavenly and 10 days at Kirkwood who is embarrassingly AFAIK closing on Sun with a 20 FOOT base, a week earlier than Diamond Peak who could not exist without snowmaking. My original plan was to be home when my wife got home from work today, but out of the blue a couple of days ago she texted me the OK to stay at Tahoe and ski with my son who is coming up for the weekend and go home on Sunday.
Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:25 pm
The normal relationship of Park City Summit House (in season I estimate at 80% of Jupiter reported) to Alta is 55% and this season it's 64%. There were only two stretches in early January and late February when Park City snowfall was close to LCC's. It's primarily BCC which has benefited disproportionately from the SW flow in Utah this season.
The normal relationship of Heavenly upper to Kirkwood is 82% and this year it's 96%. If I knew both mountains had a foot of new snow, I'd take Heavenly, just as tseeb did. These TR's demonstrate why.
Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:26 am
I was comparing the quality of the skiing between Heavenly and Kirkwood in mid-April this year (and Park City and the Cottonwoods earlier this year that Admin also commented on) not the amount of snow.
It is interesting that season snowfall reported at Heavenly (currently 659" - according to their website and OpenSnow) and Kirkwood (685" according to OpenSnow) are similar. And since Kirkwood closed Sunday and can't count any more snow, there is an very slim chance the Heavenly, now at 96% of Kirkwood's season total, with another 5" reported this week and open for another week, could catch them. Or you could just say that Heavenly with 182% of season average snowfall, like Northstar, now at 699"/200%, measures at a really good spot that is not representative of their whole mountain.
Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:47 am
Kirkwood will count more snow. I do get complete November-April from them at the end of the season.
Both Kirkwood and Heavenly measure both upper and lower locations but like many areas only report the upper in season. Northstar may have stopped measuring lower but it's easy to estimate for them using Squaw's numbers. Northstar lower = Northstar upper x Squaw lower / Squaw upper.
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