South Lake Tahoe, CA and NV 1/1-3/2020

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South Lake Tahoe, CA and NV 1/1-3/2020

Postby tseeb » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:51 pm

Heavenly, CA 1/1/2020
We got out of the cabin about 30 minutes later than planned, but still caught less than full third tram a little after 9. It was my wife’s first day of the season so we started with long green Maggie’s, then did some blue runs
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off Powder Bowl chair before moving up to Canyon where top half was in the clouds. We rode it four times and visibility never improved and it snowed a little. We took a break at Steins
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where precip was wetter before skiing very uncrowded Advanced then regular Roundabout to the base.
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We needed those sunny holes over top of mountain, not over Lake.

My wife quit about noon while I took two quick Face/Gunbarrel laps and quit about 12:30 with 12.4K.. Face was very smooth, except for bumped-out entrance, either from lack of traffic or grooming. On Gunbarrel and a lot of lower and mid-level CA, snow was thin.
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Snow on lower mountain was getting wet which skied well today, but could be nasty if it freezes hard (as it did). Picture is from gondola drop fireworks on New Year's Eve.
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Advanced runs: I skied all of them twice - Ridge Bowl, Waterfall and Face/Gunbarrel

Kirkwood, CA 1/2/2020
My wife and I got on lifts at Kirkwood before 10, riding chair 7 once to warm-up before moving to The Reut. My wife was tightening her boots at the top and missed the groomer I went down and skied firm and bumped-out Conestoga. While trying to re-connect I did a Wall run where I found firm, but smooth snow (and saw someone that had slid most of it), then rode up Reut with her. The traverse to get to chair 2 which takes you to Backside was very firm and nasty. The Backside groomers, that we shared with friends who had driven up from San Jose and stayed with us, were good.

I only rode Backside twice as long, slow chair was almost full and stopping too much and I had to return to car to check on dogs. I returned to front-side via Thunder Saddle where snow was very firm as r--ned-on snow from previous day had re-frozen and sun and temps were not enough to soften it.

After break with my wife and friends, we did Reut once and I did Wall two more times before moving to Cornice which I rode a few more times. Both Zachary and Sentinel groomers were firm, but had some lines of scrapings that skied well and a few places that made you stronger. Crowds were not bad although some lifts (6, 7) stayed busy until 3. I quit about 3:15 with 23.5K

Heavenly, CA and NV 1/3/2020
My wife and I loaded Gunbarrel before 9:30, a little ahead of friends. We all went up and rode Sky once and Canyon 2-3 times (EpicMiss had nothing between 9:24 and 1:12). Groomers were very good and views great.
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We had a 6 1/2 minute line on Sky about 10:30 to get to NV. I found excellent snow for a few turns in Milky Way Bowl before catching traverse to Killibrew Gate A where snow was better than expected along the ropeline on Outer Limits.
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Looking up and down from where I stopped on Outer Limits in Killibrew
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Both may have been above the rain on 1/1. Riding Mott chair three times, I also skied N-facing Bill’s where snow was mostly good-for-you firm, but also mostly smooth; and E-facing Sunnyside, where snow was much softer although thin in spots. I caught up with my wife and friends at top of Stagecoach and we skied Olympic before taking a break at very busy Tamarack Lodge where it was warm enough to sit outside and the line for water went out the door.

After break, I had one run on busy CA trail
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before they all joined me taking CA trail to Sky, where line had gone down to under 5 min. One friend wanted to do Ellie’s which we did using top of Liz’s, then Ellie’s Swing. The top half was good, but bottom was big firm bumps that was beyond what my friends and my wife wanted. After riding Canyon, we all skied Ridge to Mombo where they continued onto Upper Mombo while I braved Waterfall. After riding Groove, I got them all through thin Advanced Roundabout and left them once onto Roundabout. I skied West Bowl to the bottom, but it was way too firm. After riding Gunbarrel chair, I thought I’d take a quick lap on the Face to end my day, but it was closed (with ski patrol at rope) due to icy conditions so I did flat top of Roundabout to East Bowl, got to car not too long after my wife and was back at cabin before 2:30.

We packed and cleaned cabin and were on the road about 4:30. Since we arrived on NYE, it had been very busy on Pioneer Trail between a mile W of Ski Run to where it ends at Hwy 50 so I’ve had to carefully pick alternates. Traffic coming into Tahoe from Echo Summit (opposite us) was very heavy, especially coming down Meyers Grade. We also had traffic getting through the 3 lights at Placerville, and all the way to Folsom, where is was not really slow, but heavier than expected. While conditions, especially off the groomers, deteriorated after Wednesday’s r--n (and overnight hard freeze), starting 2020 skiing the first three days was a good way to begin the new year.

Will try to find and add some pictures from Kirkwood. I was thinking about returning and skiing North Tahoe (Squaw, Northstar, Alpine) Tues-Thurs, but more above freezing precip fell on Saturday, so I may stay home and wait for better conditions since we are leaving for a week in Mexico on Sat.
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Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA and NV 1/1-3/2020

Postby tseeb » Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:01 pm

Following two pictures were both taken near or on top of Cornice chair at Kirkwood on 1/2/2020. The high at over 9K was in 30s so not sure why two guys were taking off their shirts. Another guy joined them. Snow can be seen blowing up the slope behind them at ground level.
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Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA and NV 1/1-3/2020

Postby EMSC » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:25 pm

Those lower mtn pics for Heavenly look pretty thin for sure. Sounds like temps were about typical Tahoe - warmish, esp at the bases.
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Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA and NV 1/1-3/2020

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:20 pm

I had not heard about wet snow/high snow levels at Tahoe over New Year's.

Big Bear was nearly all winter snow New Year's Eve including a few inches new. It has since warmed during the day bringing on spring conditions to sunny exposures and loss of snow in thin areas. But it's been dry so at least no rain in the ski areas here after the big storm Dec. 25-26. We will find out how much SoCal conditions have changed later this week.

Tahoe had been on our radar for Jan. 20-23 before Liz' clinic in Utah, but this report confirms we won't do that unless it snows enough for widespread resurfacing.
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Re: South Lake Tahoe, CA and NV 1/1-3/2020

Postby Sbooker » Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:31 pm

tseeb wrote:Following two pictures were both taken near or on top of Cornice chair at Kirkwood on 1/2/2020. The high at over 9K was in 30s so not sure why two guys were taking off their shirts. Another guy joined them. Snow can be seen blowing up the slope behind them at ground level.


:lol: I doubt there was any good reason for those young fellows to get their kit off. Bizarre.
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