South Lake Tahoe, CA 1/30-2/2/2018

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South Lake Tahoe, CA 1/30-2/2/2018

Postby tseeb » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:59 am

Sierra-Tahoe 1/30
It's been almost a week since my trip so it's either post it this morning or never. The last snow at Tahoe was while I was in Mexico and temps have been hitting some records in the mid-50s at Lake level, but there is still some decent skiing. I made it to all three areas near South Lake Tahoe. My original plan was to leave San Jose at 9, when traffic I have to get through lightens up, and go to Kirkwood. And after finishing packing and walking dogs, I was only a couple of minutes late leaving. But I had volunteered to check out a car for my son in San Pablo that I ended up buying so I did not leave from there until about noon. Since Kirkwood would have taken about 30 minutes longer, I went to Sierra at Tahoe where a couple of friends were skiing. We all used free Tues-Thu ticket from Santa Clara ski show.

On my first ride up Grandview, I rode with a Mountain Host who recommended Hemlock to Lower Main which I quickly lapped six times before getting my final ride a few minutes before 4. Picture is Lower Main 30 minutes after closing.
At the top, I went into the lodge for some water and enjoyed the view of Desolation Wilderness and Lake Tahoe from the deck before skiing Upper Dynamite into Preacher's Passion. Picture is top of Dynamite after 4 pm.
I got to the bottom after 4:15. Snow surface on the N-facing runs was very good although the flatter W-facing route from the top to Hemlock had some sticky spots that made me head for shade. I don't think I hit any rocks although they are out there and there are some thin spots. 11K vertical, pretty good for getting ticket after 2:30.

Kirkwood 1/31/2018
I had a couple of delays due to roadwork getting to Kirkwood so I did not load until after 10. Friends and I went up Cornice and skied groomed E-facing Zachary's which was in good shape. We took the Reut and found very firm snow getting to and on traverse to get to chair 2 to get to Backside. The groomers there were in excellent shape so I did four laps with friends. I used Two Man Chute to return to front-side and it still held winter snow. Coverage much better than 1st half of January, which was last time I skied due to injury (that I had checked out after skiing with it for four days) and a week in Mexico (where we walked about 5 miles most days and I did a four hour guided mountain bike ride to a waterfall). The only melting I saw was at bottom of stairs to 7800 which has re-opened. Many creeks are still showing, with running water in places, including this one between 7800 and chairs 1, 11 and 10.
7800 has $3 pints of Coors and $6 for good beers all day at base of a Vail resort. I had a Drakes IPA that I took outside.

After break, we went up the Reut and skied to Cornice where we lapped Sentinel a few times.
Snow was excellent at first, but deteriorated after a few laps at it got scraped off and may have been re-freezing and visibility declined as sun went further W. I tried one lap on Olympic which had good snow, but big bumps and took one lap on the Wall where I found some good snow in lower Headwaters. After one more lap on Sentinel, I finished my day with a couple of laps on low-angle, but high-speed Timber Creek where snow had not yet re-frozen as sun was still hitting it. 22.5K

I was supposed to be staying with friend who had reserved 2 bedroom timeshares for Thurs and Wed/Thurs for 4 weeks in a row. But as happened on some other weeks, he could not make it. This time it was due to having to keep his business going with employees out sick while coming down with pink eye and a cold himself. So I had the timeshare to myself and walked across highway to Safeway and got enough food to cook dinner as I did not want to do any more driving.

Kirkwood 2/1/2018 After going by cabin to check on very old fridge which was failing, picking up my skis from free tune-up and $10 base weld, picking up ski buddy who runs the kitchen at Kirkwood Inn and experiencing another delay or two due to roadwork, it was after 10 before we loaded a lift. We went up Cornice and skied Zachary's, then used the Wall and Eagle Bowl to get to chair to take us to Backside. We were surprised how good E-facing Eagle Bowl skied as it was almost corn and our timing must have been good. We skied a couple of good groomers on Backside and took one lap into Fawn Ridge area where snow was not very consistent and there were way too many traverse tracks to cross trying to ski bowl between The Wave and there. We exited the Backside with a steep chute in Thunder Saddle.
Brian tried One Man Chute, but it was too narrow and required side -slipping and -stepping so I popped over to Two Man.

We take a break in 7800, then went out and did a long walk to the Wall. We skied to top of Notch Chute, then took off skis to hike over to the Sisters which is called a chute, but it really a small bowl with some wind features and a place where missing a turn would probably lead to a slide into rocks.
EpicMix shows we skied Cornice five times in the PM plus another lap on the Wall and one on the Reut. We took a late break into Off The Wall bar where Brian seems to know everyone as he works there before finishing our day with a lap on Sentinel and loading Timber Creek just before 4 PM close. 20.2K

Heavenly 2/2/2018
Since I needed to be at cabin in early PM for fridge delivery, I went Heavenly and got one of the last spots in Upper Stagecoach arriving before 8:30 when lifts don't open until 9 on most weekdays. Even though I had to quit about 12:30, I got over 20K vertical. It was mostly groomers although I did get three laps in Milky Bowl, including one using the high entrance returning from CA. On my third lap, I saw a group of 5 girls wearing tutus over their ski pants that may have been in a lesson.
Coverage is still about as low as I've seen there, but snow was excellent and the sky really is that blue at almost 10K elevation. I later skied Nevada Trail to its end at base of North Bowl chair. The lower part of Nevada Trail was as usual in great shape, but the part the begins near top of defunct this year Galaxy chair is getting thin in many places. North Bowl (visible to right of chair) and Boulder Bowl (formerly 075) runs are not open.
Since I had a pocket beer (I don't usually buy Coors light, but found it when emptying fridge at cabin and cans are much lighter than bottles), I took long (200+ chairs) slow North Bowl chairs. I was rewarded with a 7+ minute stoppage that I think they resolved using auxiliary motor, then shutting down the chair. Heavenly was also running Boulder chair so, for a while at least, it was possible to park at Boulder and not have to shuttle.I'd thought about following Brian's suggestion of Heavenly in the AM and Kirkwood in the PM. But the refrigerator arrived about 1:30 (delivery window was 1-3) and was followed shortly by people using the cabin for the weekend. After getting everything and everyone settled, it was 2:15. I had to make a quick stop to pickup ski tune-up I'd won earlier in the week so rather than driving home past Kirkwood and skiing the last 45 minutes of the day there, which is when most of the runs off Cornice begin to re-freeze, I drove home via 50, then went through Ione to avoid Sacramento. I was rewarded by arriving San Jose well before 7 and having to exit very slow freeway 10 miles before usual exit. I'm probably done skiing CA until I do a drive-by on the way to Pugski UT Gathering the first week of March. It looked like a lot of people were going to SLT for Super Bowl weekend.
Last edited by tseeb on Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA 1/30-2/2/2018

Postby tseeb » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:08 am

I took the good shots of Brian above with an iPhone 5s, catching him in the sun when possible and always in the middle of the turn. His phone does not do quite as well as he sends me these 800x450 shots from his phone. First picture is in Eagle Bowl at Kirkwood.

Second picture is the entrance we took into Thunder Saddle. Click on it to get full size.
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