Kirkwood, CA and Heavenly, CA and NV 1/7-12/2018

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Kirkwood, CA and Heavenly, CA and NV 1/7-12/2018

Postby tseeb » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:18 pm

I made one of my fastest drives ever to Kirkwood, arriving in 3 hours non-stop. Sunrise before Jackson
Parking was busy even though it was before 8:30. I took the last spot across road from chair 6 that loaded a few minutes before scheduled 9. After a slow-moving singles line cleared, I rode up with a patroller who said don't expect that soggy snow that fell the previous morning and froze overnight to ski like powder. I skied the groomers on either side of the chair; Zachary's and Sentinel. Both were good for a couple of laps and I skied ungroomed Monte Wolfe to move to the Wall. I took semi-nasty entrance that deteriorated during the day. After the top, I tried E-facing Eagle Bowl that had mostly setup so I moved to more N-facing on Norms Nose that was not much better even where untracked. It's June-uary, but not shorts weather.

I moved to the Backside using route that is much bumpier and side-hilled than usual, then narrowly crosses a creek getting to chair. The main groomer on Backside was good, but a groomed run between there and the Wave was even better as almost nobody was skiing the wind-sift blowing in from the W so I repeated it. The short singles line, probably mostly caused by people who can't handle a non-hi-speed Quad, drove me away via Thunder Saddle. The entrance I took was very good although many usual routes don't go. And I nearly got cliffed-out lower down, then was surprised to see the main almost a bowl exit had poles marking a ridge that creek had cut. The exit was bumpy and if you tried to avoid the bumps the un-skied low-angle was like being on tracks (not just there).

I went up the Wall and skied (and twice removed skis to avoid damage) around the back of the Sisters. Silver Lake that I walked on on New Yeak's Day may be losing ice.
I had seen there were not many tracks below False Peak so I dropped in.
While not tracked out, the top was barely OK and the rest of the way it was hard to make turns unless very steep as a lot of it was heavily crusted. A little line on Solitude lift about noon.
I got back to Cornice without going down the still-thin Drain and after taking pictures of a guy dropping Jim's in very low tide,
I skied Sentinel, which had deteriorated a lot in 3 hours. I took a break at the car and listened the end of a playoff game. Then I took a lap or two on Cornice before using the Wall and chair 2 to return to mostly empty Backside for a lap there. I took Two-Man chute in Thunder Saddle and found much better snow than in main run I had taken earlier. I quit before 3:30 and my watch showed 20 runs/24.1K while EpicMix had me 24,116', unbelievably close.

My day wasn't over as my SUV wouldn't start, probably from having too much on for too long during lunch break for a 5 1/2 year old battery. I was head-in at the end of a row next to an area nobody could enter. Since the truck next to me wasn't leaving I got first one, then three or four more had to join in to push me across road to where I could get a jump. After that adventure and leaving SUV idling for another 10 minutes to put some charge into battery, I went into Kirkwood Inn where a new ski buddy runs the kitchen and had a beer and a couple of excellent Happy Hour fish tacos while watching end of second playoff game.
Last edited by tseeb on Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Kirkwood, CA and Heavenly, CA and NV 1/7-12/2018

Postby tseeb » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:25 am

Pictures are from Heavenly on 1/8. First is Milky Way Bowl which opened on Sunday according to the patroller I asked. It had not been skied very much as most of it was untracked. The rope was still across the usual entrance so unless you knew to drop in very later coming from CA or asked at top of Dipper as I did, you would miss it. It probably skied better on Monday with warmer temps than the re-frozen wet snow that may have been there on Sunday. I took three laps into it and only found one rock on second lap. First two laps I had 10 or so consecutive turns in untracked. They also moved rope way up on Dipper run allowing access into Dipper Bowl.

2nd picture is lower Double Down, formerly Betty's, while steeper than rest of run it had not been open as long (or skied on short skis so much) so bumps were better than middle and some of the upper part. I also enjoyed Ridge Bowl. Visibility and wind were not bad as incoming storm did not get to Heavenly until Monday PM when precipitation was wet to about 9K as I found when I moved to lower NV. On the way there I sailed off a road too far. The landing was softer than expected and uneven. I lost a ski, then the other and came down hard on my left ribs that were broken on the last day of June. I thought the landing on snow would be softer, but I must have gotten at least pole between my ribs and the snow. I went up Olympic and skied the long cruiser to the bottom of Stagecoach where I took some meds. I did one more lap to the top of Olympic before quitting about 2:30 with 22K.
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Re: Kirkwood, CA and Heavenly, CA and NV 1/7-12/2018

Postby tseeb » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:27 am

Tuesday 1/9/2018 I was expecting to do short drive to Heavenly, but they only reported 2" new while Kirkwood said 7" so I went there. There was enough snow for chain control going over Carson Pass and for one big GM SUV to go off 88. I loaded Cornice about 9:15 and got untracked down the left side of Sentinel. I had more untracked on my second lap by going into the first chute towards the Rabbit runs where I took this picture at 10 AM.
Even though there was 7" new beginning 200-300' above Kirkwood's 7800' base, it was so dense that it skied more like 3-4" in most places. Definitely no face shots although I was on my good powder skis all day.

I took a few more runs on Cornice before moving to the Wall which had started loading a little late. There were quite a few slides including a fairly large natural one on the Wall. After skiing the Wall once, I took the long trip around the back of the it coming out just before False Peak. I still had to take off my skis twice, but for much shorter distances than same trip on Sunday. There were a lot of people hiking up False Peak from Cornice which takes a lot more effort than my route that was nearly all downhill.
It looks like less ice on Silver Lake than on 1/1 or 1/7.
I got also 2nd tracks into Eagle Bowl, following an off-duty patroller, when they opened it about noon. Since chair 2 was not yet loading and some people leaving the moderate line said it would be 20-30, I took another lap into Eagle Bowl, following an in-uniform patroller under the Cirque where it would have been easy to get cliffed out. Most of Eagle Bowl and the Backside which opened a little later did not ski as deep as more sheltered areas I skied earlier. But I did find close to a foot deep in Thunder Saddle on my return from Backside.

After skiing barely tracked snow between chair and Hully Gully a couple of times, I found some good windsift on Happiness Is on the Backside that I repeated a couple of times.I quit at 3 PM with barely over 20K and a good test of my ribs that I decided were up for the drive and skiing at Mammoth. I stopped at Lakefront hot tub for a soak on my way back to cabin.
Pictures of Kirkwood's 7800' base. Can you imagine what it looks like at Northstar, almost 1500' lower?

I returned from Mammoth on Thursday in time to join friend for a hot tub and dinner in South Lake Tahoe where I stayed at his timeshare. On Friday 1/11, we got to Heavenly's Stagecoach base before they opened at 9, but still had to park about halfway down lower lot so I did not load lift until almost 9:15. We skied a few laps on grooomers on Dipper before moving to Milky Way Bowl where rope from Monday had been removed. I must have ski the soft opening of it as it was announced open on FB on Thursday evening.

We skied into CA, but I could not get my friend to brave the firmer, bumpier snow on Ridge Bowl or Double Bowl. I took Ridge Bowl on my second lap and had to take it very slow to keep it smooth. We quit before noon with 13K so my friend could head to his boot adjustment appointment in Truckee at 1 and for me to pickup the rest of my stuff at cabin and clean it and shut it down. Even though I had to get off I-680 in Milpitas about 8 miles before home, I beat my wife home and was taking dogs for a walk when she arrived.
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