South Lake Tahoe, CA and NV 3/21-23/2018

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South Lake Tahoe, CA and NV 3/21-23/2018

Postby tseeb » Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:28 am

Kirkwood 3/21/2018
I was not in that big of a hurry to get to Kirkwood (base elevation ~7800) as snow levels were predicted to be 7500-8000' (see" onclick=";return false; for Tues. post). I had just left my house at 6 AM when friends who were trying to use Squaw 2fers and had room booked at No. Tahoe for the night texted me to say they were heading to Kirkwood where 5" new (4" overnight with 5 AM temp of 33) was reported vs. Squaw where it was raining at the bottom and the top was closed. They were the only vehicle in parking lot across road from chair 7 when I arrived not much after 9. I went out to try the snow and found it OK on the two low-angle groomed laps I took on chair 7, but the 4-5" deep that was not groomed on steeper Sentinel was very difficult to ski and seemed like it would be easy to hurt a knee in it. I should have switched to my powder skis as more rocker and width may have worked better.

Friends and I got together in plastic tent/structure that has served as lodge at base of chair 7 for many years. I reviewed the (6 of each) Buddy passes/Ski With a Friend tickets I had with my pass and noticed that the later would be cheaper when needed for my wife next month in Whistler so I let them use $74 Buddy tickets. We did a warm-up on chair 7, then skied more groomed Zachary from Cornice chair. We moved to the Reut where we took a couple of laps. We started with usually most-groomed Buckboard, but found too much soft/wet snow had fallen that was difficult to ski. We took runs under both Reut and Wall chairs which were better.

Rain drove us into to 7800 where two of us had beers and we all split some nachos while trying to dry out our gloves. We came back out for two more laps on slow Reut chair, then used Cornice chair and Sentinel to return to our vehicles. EpicMix counted 12 lifts and barely over 10K for me. I could have changed gloves and shells and gone out for more, but with snow level higher than 8600' Carson Pass did not. I heard that afternoon at Heavenly was OK after "--cking awful" morning. I stopped by cabin and did a couple of repairs while friends continued to No. Tahoe where they ended up driving back to Bay Area. Thurs AM instead of skiing Thurs/Fri. The only picture I took is gloves drying in fireplace at 7800.

Heavenly 3/22/2018
Friend who shared his nice timeshare with and I arrived Heavenly's 7480' Stagecoach base about 9 AM, getting some of the last parking spots in upper lot. They reported 13" new (8 overnight) and another 14" fell during the day. We took two laps on Stagecoach as it was the only lift open for a while. There was only one 10' wide groomed track on both lookers right and left of the lift. Since I was on my powder skis, I was doing OK although my friend was working hard on K2 Pinnacle 95s. They opened Dipper (8625' base - one of the highest at Tahoe) about 10 AM. I ended up skiing it 10 times. I had lot of untracked including both sides of Dipper Bowl and three sides of Milky Way Bowl. Before going in to catch up with friend, who was on at least his second break, I talked to patroller who said Mott Canyon may open soon as they were finished with it and it was now waiting for lift ops to do their part.
Mott Canyon lift
My friend was done and I could not talk him into going up Olympic after skiing Crossover to get a longer run down. So I skied down lower Olympic with him finding groomed track nearly govered with chopped up snow and went to car to change gloves and shell. I returned to Dipper and was still finding untracked in Dipper Woods although getting to exit from Milky Way Bowl was tough as snow below 9K was getting heavy and it got too flat. Mott never opened. One of the best runs I found was trees to skiers left of Meteor which allowed me to cut back to Orion and over to Jack's where I tested trees there and found snow getting heavy. I thought about going to Tamarack Lodge for a break, then maybe skiing Firebreak to gondola base, but Tamarack chair had closed and with such a warm storm it probably would not be a good idea trying to ski below 6500'. I took a break in East Peak lodge, then rode Comet and skied trees into deep gully to right of run. Snow was deep and barely tracked, but getting heavy. I was going to ride up Comet, then ski Crossover to Olympic, but they had closed all upper NV lifts due to lightening strikes within 15 miles. So I had to pole around East Peak Lake, and a lot of boarders, to get to Stagecoach base. Lift was still loading, but I quit with 19.5K and went to join friend for hot tub at timeshare instead.

Pictures are my last 'good' run into gully skiers right of Comet run and the exit from there which is not as flat as it looks.
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Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA and NV 3/21-23/2018

Postby tseeb » Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:22 am

Heavenly 3/23/2018
Kirkwood 3/23/2018

Heavenly claimed 16" (corrected) new, but only 2 were overnight and nearly all of the precipitation below 6500' was rain. We'd planned to go up Tram from CA base and I considered re-routing to Stagecoach since Sky chair, required to ski to NV was closed. But my friend wanted to go up Tram instead of using Stagecoach as he had done of all his previous days, so we were on 2nd Tram. We skied Canyon chair where wind had filled in a lot of tracks from previous day and there was deeper untracked in a few places. The line grew quickly to about 10 minutes on our 4th lap so we moved down to Powder Bowl. I skied Waterfall which had a lot of nearly filled in and unskied bumps. We did one more lap on Powder Bowl where I went into woods for some untracked while friend took a groomed run. We skied down to CA via very lightly tracked Advanced Roundabout. I was tempted to try untraked far S side of Hogsback, but decided against it due possibility of damage from thin cover and big rocks below 8K. I did take the Pistol cutoff lower on Roundabout, but snow was difficult as there was not much new and surface under it had re-frozen. My friend and I quit Heavenly at about 11 with 8 lifts/under 8K, him to drive back to Nevada City, while I drove 45 min (quickest trip of year as hour has become the norm and early on St. Patrick's Day it took me closer to 1:30) to Kirkwood.

Since the Carson Spur, past Kirkwood which gives me a shorter route home had re-opened
Carson Spur at 4:30 PM. There was also about 20' thick debris from avalanche on both sides of highway 88 on other side of Carson Pass, above Red Lake.
I re-located there and got one of the last parking spots across road from chair 7. I loaded before noon and skied to Cornice which stopped before I loaded. I looked over and saw the Wall had just starting loading about being closed all of Thursday and Friday AM with 16" new was claimed each day, but it would have taken a hike to get there. I skied across big (40-50''?) Cornice and took a direct route to Wall lift. Singles line was above 5 minutes, but well worth it. I went off big part of Wall at end of looker's right. Steep snow there was soft and deep. I continued down below the Wall where snow was mostly untracked, but did not ski that deep. I skied down, then over ridge to All The Way chute which was nicely filled in. Next time up I saw the rope drop for Eagle Bowl so I went there after skiing some great Wall wind-sift to start my next three laps.
First lap, I skied a direct line in the center of Eagle Bowl before traversing to and skiing E/NE facing on Norm's Nose. My next two laps I took traverse to skiers right below the Cirque where I followed patrol down a scary line earlier in year. It was much more filled in and I took an untracked chute, then cut right, almost to Thunder Saddle for more untracked. I was hoping for Backside as I saw snowcat trying to increase clearance between snowpack near base and chair 2, required to get there, but 2, 3 and 4 never opened.
My last two times up the Wall I went out past Notch Chute which had a narrow 5-6' drop to get in that I declined to try. I saw a skier drop a chute that required about a 200' 50* straight-line. He made it through the chute, but crashed towards bottom of apron. I was able to get into right side of Sisters Chute, where I had to make a big first turn to get past fracture line. There was great snow on the apron and in trees below. On my last Wall lap, I went off cornice just before False Peak
and skied False Peak chute before cutting over to catch bottom of groomed Lower Monte Wolf instead of repeating then Drain. I finished my 10 lifts/over 14K at Kirkwood with two laps on Cornice. First I skied deep, nearly untouched windsift on Rabbit runs, then I took a lap far into the Palisades. I went to Kirkwood Inn where I had an excellent fish taco and IPA before making drive home which by delaying start until 4:30 took less than 3 1/2 hours.

Friday ended a string where I skied 25 of 36 days that began with Friday 2/16 at Revelstoke and included 10 days in Canada, 7 days in UT (plus one day on way there at Heavenly on first day of Miracle March that has seen over 200" at three Tahoe areas and over 150" at all), then seven storm-chasing days over two South Tahoe trips. I'm probably done skiing for a little while although friend trying to get me to go to Bear Valley, where we have free tickets, this Friday and another friend invited me to stay with him and his family near Tahoe City and celebrate his 60th the weekend after Easter.
On Wall chair just after 2 PM
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Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA and NV 3/21-23/2018

Postby kingslug » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:51 am

Nice trip.Haven't been to CA in a while but had similar experience at Squaw. Rain and heavy snow, Scary place in the fog...
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Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA and NV 3/21-23/2018

Postby stephane1256 » Thu Oct 17, 2019 9:41 am

Over the course of November in South Lake Tahoe, the chance of a day with only rain remains an essentially constant 12% throughout, the chance of a day with mixed snow and rain increases from 5% to 10%, and the chance of a day with only snow increases from 1% to 3%.
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Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA and NV 3/21-23/2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Dec 28, 2019 11:19 am

I'm not sure what the data supporting the above is, but it requires detailed daily monitoring.

The only such data I have is for the Central Sierra Snow lab, which is probably comparable. I have used that to track monthly breakdown of precipitation as rain vs. snow. From November to April, rain incidence is highest in November, then December and lowest in February/March. January and April are in between.

The above strongly implies that rain incidence is very high early in November but declines during the month. It might take a lot of data to discern this given the volatility of Tahoe's weather.
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