North Lake Tahoe, CA 1/7-9/2020

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North Lake Tahoe, CA 1/7-9/2020

Postby tseeb » Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:40 am

Started post from phone at friend’s house and updated when I had time, keyboard and better Internet access.

Squaw Valley, CA 1/7/2020
After 3 days at home, I skied Squaw on Tues. I didn’t talk to my wife about going until after 5, was on the road a little before 7, and after parking about 50 steps from Far East, was on the lift before 11. Lower Red Dog had some firm spots, but mostly was good groomed. The run to Squaw Creek was very nicely groomed. After returning to my car to get my watch, I used Far East to get to KT where I followed guy I’d rode lift with to an E/SE face between East Face and Nose that was good. They would not let you go towards Olympic Lady or down anything between Moseleys (West Face) and Saddle. We next skied Saddle which was not good (way too firm).

After a break where I looked into Dave’s Deli and Wildflour to see if anyone was around, I went up Funi and skied Siberia a couple of times before moving to Shirley where 1 had enough scraped up and blown in snow that I repeated it. I did two laps on both Granite and Solitude, going to boundary line below Hidden Bowl first, then main groomer on Granite. Solitude had very good snow. I did a couple of more Shirley laps including very good with blown-in Shirley Bowl before quitting by skiing Tower 16, and Saddle again (both too firm) and Far East for lower Red Dog. 23K

Northstar, CA 1/8/2020
They claimed 3” new and probably got it. Dry snow was generally not enough to cover hard surface underneath, but was still fun for making usually noisy tracks. I tried the trees many times, never hit anything, and found deepest new snow off East Ridge.

Challenger, the further W run on Backsidr had tight firm bumps that were not covered by the new snow and my friends did not like The Islands as new snow was not very deep there and it was very firm underneath. We rode and skied Backside 9? times and found best snow on Monument into Rail Splitter, and Burnout and Iron Horse.

One friend and I stayed for the 2 PM Tost where I had two champagnes and he had one plus a sparkling cider. Since he drove the ~10 miles from his place where I’m staying, I paid the $10 to park next to Home Run. (Will add info about lawsuit over N* adding charge for closer parking after collecting pass $). Too bad this AM was the Wed that gondola close to parking opens late due to maintenance so we had slippery walk above Village to get to other gondola. 27K

Alpine Meadows, CA 1/9/2020 although I could repeat N* if windy
Last edited by tseeb on Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: North Lake Tahoe, CA 1/7-9/2020

Postby Sbooker » Thu Jan 09, 2020 5:44 pm

tseeb wrote:Posting from phone at friend’s house using phone and will update when I have time and better Internet access.

Squaw Valley, CA 1/7/2020
After 3 days at home, I skied Squaw on Tues. I didn’t talk to my wife about going until after 5, was on the road a little before 7, and after parking about 50 steps from Far East, was on the lift before 11. Lower Red Dog had some firm spots, but mostly was good groomed. The run to Squaw Creek was very nicely groomed. After returning to my car to get my watch, I used Far East to get to KT where I followed guy I’d rode lift with to an E/SE face between East Face and Nose that was good. They would not let you go towards Olympic Lady or down anything between Moseleys (West Face) and Saddle. We next skied Saddle which was not good (way too firm).

After a break where I looked into Dave’s Deli and Wildflour to see if anyone was around, I went up Funi and skied Siberia a couple of times before moving to Shirley where 1 had enough scraped up and blown in snow that I repeated it. I did two laps on both Granite and Solitude, going to boundary line below Hidden Bowl first, then main groomer on Granite. Solitude had very good snow. I did a couple of more Shirley laps including very good with blown-in Shirley Bowl before quitting by skiing Tower 16, and Saddle again (both too firm) and Far East for lower Red Dog. 23K

Northstar, CA 1/8/2020
They claimed 3” new and probably got it. Dry snow was generally not enough to cover hard surface underneath, but was still fun for making usually noisy tracks. I tried the trees many times, never hit anything, and found deepest new snow off East Ridge.

Challenger, the further W run on Backsidr had tight firm bumps that were not covered by the new snow and my friends did not like The Islands as new snow was not very deep there and it was very firm underneath. We rode and skied Backside 9? times and found best snow on Monument into Rail Splitter, and Burnout and Iron Horse.

One friend and I stayed for the 2 PM Tost where I had two champagnes and he had one plus a sparkling cider. Since he drove the ~10 miles from his place where I’m staying, I paid the $10 to park next to Home Run. (Will add info about lawsuit over N* adding charge for closer parking after collecting pass $). Too bad this AM was the Wed that gondola close to parking opens late due to maintenance so we had slippery walk above Village to get to other gondola. 27K

Alpine Meadows, CA 1/9/2020 although I could repeat N* if windy


Let me get this straight. You're retired and you had 3 days off skiing? [-X

I've only had a couple of very firm early season days at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows. Would love to see it at it's best when all the guru skiers are doing their thing on the expert terrain. I'm thinking a February time frame would be ideal but that is a difficult time of year for me to get away usually.
You've obviously spent some time there. How would you rate it against Mammoth for April skiing?
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Re: North Lake Tahoe, CA 1/7-9/2020

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:00 pm

The snow surfaces in April will not be what they are at Mammoth but that doesn't mean you can't have good spring skiing at Squaw. First you want a big snowpack like 2017 or 2019. Then you need to chase the exposures, mainly east and north, obviously hitting the former first thing in the morning. After some sustained sunny weather I guess I would say Squaw would ski like Mammoth does a month later. If you have read some of my May Mammoth reports you'll realize that's necessarily not a negative recommendation.

In heavier spring snow gravity is your friend and steep terrain skis much better than flat terrain. So Squaw's abundance of steeps is plus in that scenario.
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Re: North Lake Tahoe, CA 1/7-9/2020

Postby tseeb » Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:26 am

Thursday 1/9/202 at Alpine was the best day of the decade and this is coming from someone who has skied 2/3 of the days of this decade.
8828Pilot@Lennys.JPG
My Honda SUV with over 250K parked in front of friend's house where I stayed. It is on 5 acres and for sale, but if you have to ask...
8829Waterfall.JPG
Waterfall under Summit chair was not skied much before 10

I was on 2nd chair when Summit loaded at 9 and there were 5 full chairs, then nobody. While Alpine reported 1" new, they had 4" by the time they opened and it continue to snow on and off into afternoon. I first skied D-8, then found my run of the day, Wolverine Bowl, that I may have done 11 times.
8831Wolverine.JPG
Wolverine Bowl in visibility typical for morning. Later we saw patrollers breaking off cornice to right
The only two runs on it that did not have a lot of good untracked was when I tried the right side and found uneven subsurface too easily and once when I went off the cornice skiers left and between the rime on my goggles, clouds and crossing traverse marks, it was not as good as expected. Four or five times, I continued under the Sisters where it was hard to avoid hitting bottom on the steeper part, but the less steep bottom half was good.
8841BelowSisters.JPG
Area below Sisters I skied a few times. Picture taken at 10:45
There was still good snow in Wolverine when friend I stayed with joined me after 11. Then visibility improved and we saw somebody making tracks between Alpine Bowl and Sunspot so we did that. The first couple of turns were rough, but rest was good powder. We repeated that staying closer to Sunspot.
8842LennyTeleTurn.JPG
8844LennyTeleTurn.JPG
Friend is a telemarker
We rode Alpine Bowl, as we were surprised to see chair running, then loading, once and would have repeated it, but got too far over into Yellow Face and did not want to have to hike to chair.
8845ABC_Beer.JPG
It was noon and a slow chair so I had beer I'd been carrying all morning
So we continued to bottom and rode new this year Treeline Cirque lift which is a replacement for originally named Weasel chair that had been named Hot Wheels. Not only is replacement a high-speed quad, but it has been extended with an angle station with unloading to allow access to Alpine's S-facing backside Sherwood chair and still be useful for lower intermediates.

We skied South Face on Sherwood and found both new and old snow not as deep due to sun and wind. We tried to get to Lakeview chair, but must have missed a turn and ended up riding Scott chair where steep W-facing Scott Chute and Chute That Seldom Slides have not yet opened. We skied Gentian Gully where snow was OK at top, but my friend went off ridge earlier than I usually do and ended up in gully where new snow was not deep enough to cover hard surface. We also got too low and had to skate back to Subway chair to return to Main base. We ended our day about 1:45 with a lap on Roundhouse where we still found a lot of untrackedon edge of Symphony and Dance Floor. My watch counted 20 runs (not sure if Subway has enough vertical to count) and 27.4K. I either rode and skied Summit 14 or 15 times, as the only time I moved to Roundhouse before friend arrived was when Summit was stopped long enough for people in line there to move to Roundhouse.

Will add a couple of pictures. In answer to sbooker's question about best time for Squalpine, I think early March is usually good. You would avoid the Feb. President's week crowds when most schools in Northern CA are off, and also avoid warm-ups that often start in 2nd half of March. You want hard overnight freezes, with high temps in lows 50 and lows in mid to high 20s, not 60/35 which limits the time when snow is good. I agree with Tony Crocker that early April at Squalpine is somewhat equivalent to early May at Mammoth. One big advantage of both Squaw and Alpine over other Tahoe areas is that they have many exposures so you can ski the E, SE and S facing early in the day, then move to more N-facing and for experts there is W-facing on KT at Squaw and Scott at Alpine.
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Re: North Lake Tahoe, CA 1/7-9/2020

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:33 am

tseeb wrote:You want hard overnight freezes, with high temps in lows 50 and lows in mid to high 20s, not 60/35 which limits the time when snow is good.

Excellent point. The other point I should mention is that Squaw does not salt its groomed runs other than those used for race training and of course it's a less intermediate friendly mountain than Mammoth in the first place. Therefore, while advanced/expert skiers will nearly always enjoy Squaw's terrain with adequate coverage, I would strongly discourage Squaw in April for intermediates.
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