Snow Summit, Jan. 21, 2020

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Big Bear reported 3-5 inches new snow Tuesday. This was in conjunction with a severe Santa Ana wind event, so I suspect much of that snow ended up closer to Catalina than to the Big Bear resorts. There was zero snow on any treetops out there, though the lower parts of some trees were pasted with manmade as the Santa Anas tend to lower temperature at high elevation.

We went with Garry, who was testing 3 sets of skis. Last weekend was MLK, mid-80's at home and highs 65 in the mountains. In view of that many surfaces were improved by the new snow both natural and manmade. The steepest runs Wall and Olympic were the exceptions, very firm early in the morning, presumably scraped down to the old subsurface Tuesday. But we skied 6 runs there starting about 1:30PM.
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Wall at right was groomed very smooth. Olympic at left was not so smooth and a very bouncy ride if you didn't control speed.

The best skiing was on chair 10 in late morning. These runs have Summit's longest continuous fall line and get morning sun so were easy cruising in close to corn conditions.

We skied chairs 3 and 7 as well, plus one on chair 9. We sampled the ungroomed East Why again.
IMG_2965.JPG

The thick new snow here was an improvement over the crust two weeks ago. However some of the flats lower down had melted out over MLK so we had to walk over about 15 feet of gravel.

Liz and I both skied 20K vertical, Garry a couple of runs less due to one of his ski swaps.

As on the other days this month we left around 3PM, got down the hill easily and this time had a nice steak dinner with Garry and family.

While skiing I got a call from Lonnie, who had sleuthed out a location where over 65's could get a walk up Moderna COVID shot. I was successful myself at 10:30 this morning and notified 4 other friends who got theirs by noon.

The computer models are currently projecting a major dump for California next week.
OpenSnowCA012321.png

The OpenSnow reporters aren't making any predictions because this time frame is till too far out for good credibility. But if it happens we may turn around and come home from Utah after the NASJA Feb. 1-3 Ogden event instead of continuing farther north.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
Tony Crocker":33kdhln3 said:
The computer models are currently projecting a major dump for California next week.
Wow. In the short term, that's a "be careful what you wish for" amount of snow.
 

tseeb

Active member
I could be starting my own "Tahoe Vail resorts, CA and some NV 1/25-29/2021", but can wait until tomorrow. Tahoe can be "get there before, not during or after" as roads can close leaving skiers on wrong side of pass or weekend crowds could jam roads or ski areas. From OpenSnow post 10 minutes ago on Wed/Thu storm: "The range on the models yesterday for high-end snowfall along the crest was 37 - 99 inches. This morning it has narrowed to 58 - 89 inches."

I have the following reservations and am about to start packing and waxing:

Monday - Kirkwood where 1" is predicted today and Tues, 7" on Mon, 45" on Wed and 39" on Thurday.
OpenSnow details for Wed show 29-35" during day on Wed and 15-21" at night.

Tuesday - Northstar, but may change it back to Heavenly as friend I would ski with there thinks it will be his last day to play pickleball.

Wednesday - Heavenly. Could think about joining friend at Northstar where 24" is predicted both on Wed and Thurs, but don't want to spend way more than the 1 hour each way it takes from So. Tahoe with clean roads and little traffic as it did last time I thought 7 AM was early enough to leave cabin and ended up in remote lot at Northstar. Then I had extra-long drive back as I-80 was closed so everyone who had to get back to Bay Area was going down the East side of Lake. Heavenly where prediction is 19/22 for Wed/Thu could be only Stagecoach which is OK for mostly low-angle powder if not too crowded.

Thursday - Heavenly and Friday - Kirkwood and home. I'm open to listening to other ideas. I need to be home in PM on Sat. 1/30 and Tues. 2/2.

I have not had trouble dropping one area reservation and replacing it with another, when done a couple of days in advance. I'd hate to drop a reservation on day of and not be able to get another. I will bring my X-C skis in case all I can do on Wed or Thu is cruise around meadow somewhere. Also bringing electric chain saw and wood-splitting tools as there is some pine that was cut last Summer by me and power company that needs some work before being storing in garage and burning.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Vail's Tahoe resorts are among those with high potential for skiing during storms.

Northstar is one of the best anywhere. I've been there twice during raging blizzards, Jan. 8-9, 2005 (a storm that snowed 3 feet in Reno!) and Feb. 29, 2012. I have 5 days lifetime at Northstar and 52% of my vertical there is powder. I'm sure that's #1 for that stat among lift served areas and logical because that's the scenario which gets me to consider skiing there.

Kirkwood was the site of my first ever bell-to-bell powder day, 23/17 on Mar. 13, 1987. Cornice chair has scattered trees to the top for adequate visibility though the Wall does not. That day it was cloudy and intermittently snowing, far from what's being predicted this week. I don't know how vulnerable Cornice chair is to closing during big storms. I do know that the road over Carson Pass can be problematic.

Heavenly's forte is comfortably spaced trees over nearly all of the mountain. Jan. 14, 1980 there was the first time I had any success in powder at all. My notes for that far back are sparse but I do know that we skied out of the Nevada side because the connection at the top was severed. Sky was surely closed, but I know I was not confined to Stagecoach. I think the old East Peak lift was open, and possibly Dipper too. Nevada was deserted that day despite a foot of new snow, because that was the end of an atmospheric river storm that had previously rained for 60 hours and included a 24-hour power failure in South Lake Tahoe. I'll bet that was a profitable weekend in Stateline because the casinos had emergency generators.

It is unfortunate that despite Heavenly being forested to the top, its upper chairs seem vulnerable to wind holds.

By contrast I'd avoid Squaw/Alpine/Mammoth like the plague for the next week.
1) I'd expect most lifts and 3/4 of terrain closed for wind/visibility/avalanche risk during the storm.
2) Avalanche control after the storm is going to take a while with that big a dump on top of such a crappy snowpack.
3) So maybe next weekend is when some of the marquee terrain at these areas opens for the first time this season. How many snow starved people will show up for that?

By similar rationale I'll be skiing AltaBird next Thursday/Friday but I think next weekend will be a $#!&show.

The Sierra storms are going to come with strong winds midweek, slightly warming temps, and a significant uptick in Avalanche danger. It might take a while to open terrain, expect localized wind holds, closures, and all the frustrations that come with a powder chase. You might elect to hold off and wait for the 2nd round of snowfall late next weekend.
Tseeb, as a prepositioned local skiing areas below tree line, is a logical exception to Steve's advice.
 
Tony Crocker":gb1qrxwf said:
Vail's Tahoe resorts are among those with high potential for skiing during storms.

Northstar is one of the best anywhere. I've been there twice during raging blizzards, Jan. 8-9, 2005 (a storm that snowed 3 feet in Reno!) and Feb. 29, 2012. I have 5 days lifetime at Northstar and 52% of my vertical there is powder. I'm sure that's #1 for that stat among lift served areas and logical because that's the scenario which gets me to consider skiing there.

Kirkwood was the site of my first ever bell-to-bell powder day, 23/17 on Mar. 13, 1987. Cornice chair has scattered trees to the top for adequate visibility though the Wall does not. That day it was cloudy and intermittently snowing, far from what's being predicted this week. I don't know how vulnerable Cornice chair is to closing during big storms. I do know that the road over Carson Pass can be problematic.

Heavenly's forte is comfortably spaced trees over nearly all of the mountain. Jan. 14, 1980 there was the first time I had any success in powder at all. My notes for that far back are sparse but I do know that we skied out of the Nevada side because the connection at the top was severed. Sky was surely closed, but I know I was not confined to Stagecoach. I think the old East Peak lift was open, and possibly Dipper too. Nevada was deserted that day despite a foot of new snow, because that was the end of an atmospheric river storm that had previously rained for 60 hours and included a 24-hour power failure in South Lake Tahoe. I'll bet that was a profitable weekend in Stateline because the casinos had emergency generators.

It is unfortunate that despite Heavenly being forested to the top, its upper chairs seem vulnerable to wind holds.

By contrast I'd avoid Squaw/Alpine/Mammoth like the plague for the next week.
1) I'd expect most lifts and 3/4 of terrain closed for wind/visibility/avalanche risk during the storm.
2) Avalanche control after the storm is going to take a while with that big a dump on top of such a crappy snowpack.
3) So maybe next weekend is when some of the marquee terrain at these areas opens for the first time this season. How many snow starved people will show up for that?

By similar rationale I'll be skiing AltaBird next Thursday/Friday but I think next weekend will be a $#!&show.

The Sierra storms are going to come with strong winds midweek, slightly warming temps, and a significant uptick in Avalanche danger. It might take a while to open terrain, expect localized wind holds, closures, and all the frustrations that come with a powder chase. You might elect to hold off and wait for the 2nd round of snowfall late next weekend.
Tseeb, as a prepositioned local skiing areas below tree line, is a logical exception to Steve's advice.

Very interesting observations, Tony!
 
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