South Lake Tahoe, CA and NV 3/14-3/17/2018

Resort and backcountry skiing and snowboarding in the western US and Canada, including our famous reader-submitted No-Bull Snow Reports.

South Lake Tahoe, CA and NV 3/14-3/17/2018

Postby tseeb » Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:59 pm

Kirkwood 3/14/2018
This was going to be another quick post without a lot of proofreading or arranging photos so bear with me, but some glitches prevented posting from Casino on 3/14 so I'm posting from grocery store on 3/15.

I set alarm for 4 AM and left my wife, who came home for UT with a nasty cold that I hope I don't catch, at 5:15. Even with 35 miles of chain control (5 miles were chains or snow tires) and very slick roads, I arrived a very busy and nearly sunny Kirkwood (where they reported 16" new after getting rain to ~8K the previous day) about 8:50. There was a moderate line for high-speed Cornice that loaded a little after 9. At least I've learned that it's better not to be in the singles line. EpicMix has me loading at 9:18.

I took two quick laps into Sentinel, first hitting the left side, then the right. I moved to The Wall which surprisingly loaded before 10. I took a mostly deep untracked lap lookers right of the chair , then cut into more untracked in trees just left of steep Waterfall. The Wall had stopped and patroller had said the Palisades would open soon so I returned to Cornice and took 3 laps into the Palisades. I probably went further out than I needed to, but was rewarded with a lot of untracked. Some of it was so deep that I had to be careful to make sure I had a track below me to avoid getting stuck and it took a while for track to be pushed to normal loading, skiers right of base of the chair. I took one more lap on the Wall, using a high entrance and went by still closed Eagle Bowl where I was surprised that ski patrol (or a rope) was not protecting it from poachers as they typically do.

I went to the car to change to low light goggles and had half a sandwich, a beer and a small shot. The snow must have fallen perfectly right-side up and Kirkwood bombed the hell out it, opening Eagle Bowl and the Backside about noon. I skied Eagle Bowl and found a lot of untracked, but was feeling a little sluggish after my break and wondering if I had overdone it. I rode chair 2, then skied chair 3 which was groomed, but covered with 3" or so to chair 4, Kirkwood's Backside which often does not open after new snow or gets closed by wind. There was a lot of low-hanging fruit and Scotty, who I rode chair with and was in early 30s and I skied two quick laps, finding some deep and some slightly wind-affected snow. Next time up we exited the Backside via Thunder Saddle, launching off a small cornice into untracked, but then hitting some avalanche debris that was still soft, but deep enough to be blue in the deep cracks between chunks. Scotty thought we'd screwed up, but lower down, I took right-side of Two Man Chute while he took the left and ended up in One Man Chute and both had not slid. I did not see him on the exit and was worried enough to talk to ski patrol who, when I described what he was wearing said he skied next to him in chute and exited OK. Snow was so good we did one more Thunder Saddle lap with Scotty jumping over a steep rock band before he had to leave to return to Bay Area.

I took a couple of more laps on the Wall, first skiing Eagle Bowl where not only were tracks getting filled in by new snow, but there were a lot of places that had not been tracked as it seemed that early crowds had left or were worn out before the noon openings. I also skied Notch Chute, which for the first time this year and last did not require removing skis for the down-climb although visibility was marginal. I finished my day with 25K at about 3:30 with another Palisades lap where a lot of tracks had been filled in. While snow was sticking on the roads at Kirkwood, it was not over a lot of 8573' Carson Pass. (to be continued)
Attachments
5676ArrivingKW@851.JPG
Very busy at Kirkwood for 10 minutes before 9 AM opening.
5678Sentinel@927.JPG
Lady sitting back a little in low angle powder
5679Sentinel@927.JPG
I took a more direct, steeper route
5682WaterfallExit.JPG
On my first lap on the Wall, on the bottom half I went lookers right of steep and rocky Waterfall and found untracked just to the right. Wrong picture, but too lazy or limited to replace.
5684ScottyDroppingCR.JPG
I skied with Scotty from Walnut Creek for two Backside and two Thunder Saddle laps. I spotted him off this cliffband into main run
5685Pilot@KW.JPG
Before 9 on a Wednesday, I had to park across road from Premium lot ($10 on weekends only?). At 3:30 PM, snow was sticking to road at 7800' Kirkwood. But traffic on highway kept it somewhat snowfree almost to 8500+' Carson Pass.
Last edited by tseeb on Sun Mar 25, 2018 8:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
tseeb
 
Posts: 701
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:16 pm
Location: Northern California

Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA 3/14-3/1?/2018

Postby tseeb » Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:22 pm

Heavenly 3/15/2018
There was enough of a line at the tram shortly after 9 that I thought I could miss 2nd or 3rd tram so I skated to empty Gunbarrel and was probably about tram 2.5. I took four laps on Sky chair before light crowds drove my to NV. I skied Ellie's on CA twice, including once from the top and once from Swing Trail. There 2-3" of new over a somewhat hazardous base. Towards the bottom, in the trees, the untracked snow was about a foot deep.

I hiked over pass between Monument Peak and peak above Milky Way Bowl and had almost 20 deep and dry powder turns. The rest of the story will have to be the pictures I took on my phone well before storm started blowing and snowing in the afternoon. I skied almost 26K quitting about 3:30 PM.
Attachments
5686MonumentPeak.JPG
Monument Peak, above Heavenly that I have never climbed
5687TopOfSkyFromHike.JPG
From the top of hike, I'm about same level as top of Sky chair, the highest chair at Tahoe which AFAIK loaded all day.
5688TahoeFromHike.JPG
Part of Lake Tahoe with top of Dipper Lift on right
5692AboveMWBHoriz.JPG
Tracks I left above highest usual traverse to Milky Way Bowl. The was room for more tracks, but Sky chair got too busy for me and there was a lot of low-angle untracked in NV.
5694TheMeadows.JPG
Windswept tracks from previous day nearly filled in. This is The Meadows, the bottom half of my only Killibrew lap so far this year. When I took break at Tamarack Lodge, somebody came up to me and said he like the high exit from Killibrew I took vs. the rope line he suffered.
5722WidowMakerCarsonValley.JPG
Widow Maker was a little trickier than some years with a lot of sluffing
5723LakeviewHotTub.JPG
Beach and lake from hot tub where it was snowing heavily
Last edited by tseeb on Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
tseeb
 
Posts: 701
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:16 pm
Location: Northern California

Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA 3/14-3/1?/2018

Postby tseeb » Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:44 pm

Will try to add pictures when I have more time. I skied Heavenly where they reported 28" new on Friday and Kirkwood where they reported 28" new and 70" for the last four days on Saturday.

On Friday 3/16, close to best day ever at Heavenly. Mott (only - no Killibrew) opened in early afternoon and a lot of it was like an elevator ride cushioned with big pillows. By end of day, there was easily 3' new in most places. Skied most of my Mott runs with Ben from SF who thought it was his all-time best day. We followed a ski instructor out to Hemlock for our last drop into Mott as she did not want to go that far out alone.

Trees and plows unloaded onto our driveway so I did some shoveling before getting back in. I went to Base Camp Pizza for Happy Hour and heard some horror stories from those who drove up 50, the only highway open some of today.

May have had my best lift served deep powder day ever at Kirkwood on 3/17. They reported 70" for last 4 days. There were many over the head face-shots and I often had 3-4 turns in a row where I could not breathe.

On Saturday, I left So Tahoe before 730 and was on first chair on #7. I skied it twice before moving to much busier Cornice. On #7 the low-angle groomer had 3" of silk on top of groom that skied great. Cornice, where they eventually let you go as far as you wanted into Wagon Wheel Bowl or the Palisades, had 7-8 minute line until they opened Reut which I rode once. The Wall loaded at 12:45 and I took three laps on it before I quit about 2:45. Chair 2 also loaded in the PM, but no Backside. I had to go home via 50 (adds ~70 miles and an hour) where there was heavy snow at 3K.
User avatar
tseeb
 
Posts: 701
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:16 pm
Location: Northern California

Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA 3/14-3/1?/2018

Postby tseeb » Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:18 pm

Again I mostly only have some pictures to add that mostly do not adequately show how good skiing was with 28" new two days in row towards back-end of a 4-5 day long storm with snow levels often below 3000' elevation. The first three pictures are all of Ben from San Francisco on Hemlock in Mott Canyon.
5729BenCR.JPG
5732BenCR.JPG
5733BenCR.JPG
Some updates from St. Patrick's Day include a post on Kirkwood Mountain Resort FB page, that Backside opened about 2:20 pm. I saw Caples Crest, the chair that gets you to Backside loading about 2 PM, but did not go check on Backside as after 4 days of mostly skiing powder around So. Tahoe, my addiction was mostly satisfied with three laps on the Wall plus one more run into the furthest Palisades to get back to my car. And Backside runs seemed a little flat on Wednesday with 16" new plus whatever fell during the day, although I'm sure Thunder Saddle was steep enough for how deep snow would be there. As it was, I got home about 27 hrs. later than planned.

When searching to see when Carson Spur, W of Kirkwood re-opened (not only was the Spur closed, but 88 was closed to Peddler Hill abut 20 miles total due to snow for a while), I found they announced on Caltrans District 10 FB page at 3:30 PM that the Spur would re-open at 8 PM last night.

First picture is the 3-4" of low-angle, silky snow on top of groomed run that felt so good that a guy I shared first chair on 7 with and I did it twice. There were many places where the berm at the edge of (flat) groomed run was a couple of feet high.
5739Chair7@915.JPG
Line on chair 6/Cornice at 11. It was the only good chair running until about noon when they added the Reut/chair 11.
I'm in singles line which was really long, but moved fast due to lift attendant often calling 4 singles.
5743CorniceLine@11.JPG
It was so deep that a snowcat got stuck and partially buried W of the Cornice.
1694StuckCat.JPG
The cat is barely visible to R or tree at right center. Thimble Peak and chair 10/The Wall at upper left. That is a line of people on diagonal crossing the center.
5744CatWofCornice.JPG
Not my picture as it was taken from Kirkwood's FB page, but I had at least 10 runs like this; some were deeper, some a little less.
29261808_10155631749818253_3607441886254003607_n.jpg
User avatar
tseeb
 
Posts: 701
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:16 pm
Location: Northern California

Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA 3/14-3/1?/2018

Postby tseeb » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:22 pm

Posting a couple of more pictures from cabin in SLT taken Friday afternoon. When I arrived Wednesday afternoon only about half the front yard had a couple of inches of snow. Most of the driveway and some of the yard was bare even though neighbor said they had received about 4 feet of snow since the first or March. The roof still had about 4" on it. The snow from storms beginning on 3/1 had melted in warm temps that included rain on Tues. 3/13. Even though I measured 17" new near the street on Fri. AM, I was able to get out of driveway without shoveling. But when I returned after skiing on Friday, the driveway, including most of my tracks leaving 8 hrs early, was deep and there was a soft almost 3 feet tall berm at the street.
5735CabinFri@430.JPG
But snow was so soft and dry that I was able to get into driveway with about 20 minutes of shoveling. Note the new load of snow on the cabin roof.
5736Pilot@Cabin@450.JPG
User avatar
tseeb
 
Posts: 701
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:16 pm
Location: Northern California

Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA 3/14-3/1?/2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:20 pm

March 1991 revisited after a similar bad season through February! Except here in SoCal which got 9 feet then and maybe 1 foot this March and still sucks.

Bryan made the comparison to 1991 in yesterday's OpenSnow report: http://opensnow.com/dailysnow/tahoe/post/11063

There are several comments after that post about the all-time conditions at Heavenly on Friday.
http://bestsnow.net
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
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 9819
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA 3/14-3/1?/2018

Postby baldyskier » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:35 pm

Looks great! Glad you got to ski the good stuff, tseeb.
User avatar
baldyskier
 
Posts: 254
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:45 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA 3/14-3/1?/2018

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:51 am

Nice pix, good to see Heavenly in that kind of shape after what seems like lots of unflattering reports in recent years.

I don't think I've ever seen a snowcat in that predicament. Maybe it happens occasionally but we don't see the evidence?
User avatar
jamesdeluxe
 
Posts: 3337
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:19 pm
Location: South Orange, NJ

Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA 3/14-3/1?/2018

Postby socal » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:14 am

I took this at Mt. Baldy in 2009 after a big storm, it was an avalanche though, at least I believe that was what happened. The mountain never opened that day.

Image
socal
 
Posts: 682
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:27 pm
Location: LA

Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA 3/14-3/1?/2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:09 am

The last good snow year in SoCal was 2009-10. This weeks storm is predicted to be substantial:
Todd Hall, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard wrote:4 to 6 inches [of rain] in the mountains between Tuesday afternoon and Thursday morning, South-facing slopes could see up to 8 inches in some areas.


But it will be nearly all rain in the ski areas according to both Larry Schick and OpenSnow. :evil: :evil: :evil:
February and March are the months during which West Coast storms are least likely to be rain at high elevations. We had 5-6 foot snowstorms in this time frame in 1982 and 1991, so this forecast is particularly annoying.

jamesdeluxe wrote:Nice pix, good to see Heavenly in that kind of shape after what seems like lots of unflattering reports in recent years.

I call Heavenly a "schizophrenic ski area." It has some annoying topography with lifts not in the right places to ameliorate that flaw. It is also susceptible to choke points on busy days, of which there are many due to its most convenient location to the South Lake Tahoe bed base. And snowfall runs about 70% of the places on the Sierra Crest farther west.

BUT:
1) Lots of high end terrain in Mott/Killebrew
2) Superb tree spacing nearly everywhere
This means great potential on a powder day as illustrated above and commented upon after the OpenSnow report.

It's not hard for locals like Tseeb to figure out the right days to be at Heavenly. Liz has a very high opinion because she's had 2 days there which were selected by me and where she got the local's tour from Tseeb.
http://bestsnow.net
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
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 9819
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California


Return to Western North America

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 6 guests


All content herein copyright © 1999-2017 First Tracks!! Online Media

Forums Terms & Conditions of Use