Skiing the Sierra, CA 4/11-17/2021

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Skiing the Sierra, CA 4/11-17/2021

Postby tseeb » Mon Apr 12, 2021 8:41 am

Kirkwood, CA 4/11/2021
We spent night in camper in Plymouth, CA, less than 60 miles, but about 90 minutes to Kirkwood. The guy pouring wine for our tasting that began not much after 3 (and ended about 5) had opened a large bottle of wine earlier in the day for a bottling party that he shared with us. I thought he said it was a 2005 Noceto Zinfandel, which is made from grapevines planted in the 1860s, and was equivalent to 18 bottles. Not sure if bottle size was a Balthazar (12L), Nebuchasnezzar (15L) or Melchior (18L), but it was a BIG bottle and very good, fruity and smooth and much less tannic than some of the other wines we tasted.
It was 10 AM when we loaded chair 7 and took a warmup run
before moving to Backside. Snow was already a little past prime as surface on E-facing main groomer was chopped up although the snowpack still was firm underneath There was a line on chair 4, but I saw left side only had one merge and moved much quicker than other three that had two or three. Next time up I took short hike to groomer out past the Wave, but I was too early as it was still firmer than expected. We were overdressed for the temps and underdressed for closing day festivities. Princess Leia and a couple of guys in shorts.
I’d planned to returned to frontside using Thunder Saddle, but it was probably too early for that and my wife needed to use bathroom (they did not open bathroom on Backside this season) so we exited Backside using chair 3. We skied Whiskey run that was in great condition to 7800 where we shared a $3 Coors at bar, my wife's first indoor beer in over a year.
That was a guy in fishnet stockings and ?
To avoid long hike to Reut, we rode much closer, but flatter chair 1 where steeper beginner run lookers right at top of chair still had groomer marks and was very good as was Wagon Trail on Reut chair. We then rode Cornice and skied Sentinel and went to camper before 1 to have some snacks and beers and let the dog out. My wife was done for the day with 10 runs and 8K. At least her day only cost me $60 (vs. $81 Buddy ticket and $94 advance purchase) as high school classmate of my brother who is an instructor at Kirkwood shared some of his employee 1/2 price coupons. I skied until 3:30 with two laps on the Wall on either side of another trip to the Backside to ski the Thunder Saddle return after getting part of Cold Shoulder and the gully next to it. I skied (and side-slipped a little) of very narrow One Man Chute.
My watch counted 18 lifts/17.2K. Would say more, but going to Heavenly for a couple of hours this AM and they load lifts for passholders at 8:30 on Mondays. Corrected duplicate and wrong location pictures later.

Busy entrance to Wall at 207
Busy right side of Wall at 256. I skied left side.
Last edited by tseeb on Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Skiing the Sierra, CA 4/11-17/2021

Postby tseeb » Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:49 am

Not much time for details of last three days:

Heavenly, CA and two lifts in NV 4/12. Skied 8:30-11 with friend I used to work with who now lives in South Lake Tahoe for part of it. Colder than previous day and had to download Gunbarrel as bottom level of Heavenly is closed. My only ungroomed was Milky Way Bowl into NV and it needed more softening as I was glad to find the groomed at bottom of bowl. My notes show 12 lifts and almost 15K.

Mammoth, CA Tuesday and Wednesday 4/13 and 4/14. I've had back luck catching Spring skiing at Mammoth on multiple years. Wind closed all lifts by noon, except a couple of low-angle very wind-protected ones,stranding us at parking 4 for almost 30 min until bus came to return us to camper where we'd left our dog at The Mill. Tuesday was 13 lifts and 14.5K as my wife and I started at 8:30. Wind was very strong all PM, even though it was mostly sunny, finally slowing down about 5 AM. It snowed a little overnight and snowed hard for about an hour mid-morning on Wednesday. We rode and skied chairs 5 , 25 and 14 twice each, chair 8 a few times and I skied chair 3 four times, twice early solo and twice with Tony Crocker and my wife. I skied from 8:35-1:45 and my watch counted 25 lifts/25.3K.
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Re: Skiing the Sierra, CA 4/11-17/2021

Postby tseeb » Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:01 am

I don't have time to add Alpine Meadows, 4/15 with Tony Crocker, Dave Bostedo from SkiTalk and my wife.

Squaw Valley, CA 4/16/21
We planned to be at Squaw at opening, but it was 950 before we loaded Red Dog due to a fuel leak noticed when warming up truck camper at friend's house N of Truckee. It turned out to be loose cap on fuel filter that was easily fixed, but not until first trying a harder fix on a fuel line that I thought was the problem. After our longest parking lot walk of the season to Red Dog lift, we started with an over and back to Squaw Creek. The E-facing top was good, but N-facing bottom 2/3 to Squaw Creek was still firm so on way back we took easier route down Red Dog. It got us over to Squaw One without more walking, and avoided Funitel.

Lucia and I skied Gold Coast, then Siberia Ridge, then skied very good front side of Emigrant to get to Shirley Lake. We rode Shirley a couple of times before crowds drove us to Granite Chief where Lucia did both sides of steep and very good groomed Main Backside while I tried ungroomed to right of it (Magoos?) on 2nd lap. We returned to top of Funitel where Lucia used facilities and had a Gatorade while I did two laps on Siberia.

We met up with SkiTalk group at top of Shirley and all skied Tomlinson's then moved to Solitude which we skied 4 times, always going off a steep ungroomed nose on bottom half. After run on Shirley's Mighty Mite Chute (aka Shirley Chute and maybe listed on map as Little Rock Pile) while Lucia skied Shirley Bowl, I took her down Mountain Run which was still good about 2 pm and pointed her towards closest snow to where we parked. I then rode KT and skied still good Saddle, then rode Headwall and skied North Bowl which I've done in much better conditions, then finished my day at 3 pm with another KT lap skiing Women's Downhill into Julia's Gold. 23 lifts/22.3K

@Philpug on Might Mite Chute. (had other pictures loaded yesterday, but lost them when previewing and polishing post)
I couldn't get out my phone fast enough to catch this skier in the boney Fingers, but he skied rocky area just left of center cleanly. I've only skied the wider opening to left in a year with much bigger coverage.
One of my favorite lines on Headwall is between lift and big rock that is out of picture to left, but most of the face did not look very inviting this year.
Palisades between top of Headwall and Siberia lifts. There is a skier at edge of shadow in National Chute and a couple of others at top of Main Chute.
I started running SkiTracks while going up Headwall and got these results for my last half hour.
Five Lakes (Wilderness area that Squaw-Alpine gondola being built this Summer will get close to)
and road to Alpine Meadows at bottom of map.
Last edited by tseeb on Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Skiing the Sierra, CA 4/11-17/2021

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:53 am

I’ll do a TR for Alpine Meadows but I didn’t quite get to it yesterday with a 5 hour drive and picking up Liz at Redmond airport.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Skiing the Sierra, CA 4/11-17/2021

Postby tseeb » Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:31 pm

Heavenly 4/17/21

I joined short line for Gunbarrel chair about 8:15. It my first weekend day of the year besides Kirkwood's closing day the previous Sunday that started my streak of skiing seven days in a row. They started loading about 7 1/2 minutes before scheduled 8:30 opening and I had a few fast laps on empty Sky chair groomers before many others arrived. I noticed what I think was a chipmunk sticking it's head up out of a hole in the middle of Ridge run my first couple of run, near where long ago removed Ridge chair ended, but did not see him again when it got busier. Did not take any pictures, but started running Ski Tracks on my 2nd ride up Sky chair
(and kept it running until almost back to cabin) and also found EpicMix again shows times of lift rides which were dropped in upgrade earlier this year. My fastest lap was 9 minutes and vertical exactly matched my watch. Times listed are Mountain time, an hour later than when I actually rode lifts in Pacific time.
I found some three-day old mostly tracked powder in N-facing part of Milky Way Bowl on way to NV where I also skied Comet run from Dipper chair. I returned to CA and skied from top of Sky to Groove chair which I used to get to where I could download Gunbarrel and was back at cabin by 11 with 15.5K vertical (not counting download). Not sure if my season is done with 25 days on my Senior Tahoe Value Pass (13 Kirkwood, 10 Heavenly and 2 Northstar) plus I already have 4 days on next year's Ikon (2 Mammoth, 1 Alpine, 1 Squaw), but 3 more days would take me past preceding season.

For the trip we spent 4 nights in the camper including first night at winery on way to Kirkwood, two nights at rest stop where door to very clean (reported by my wife) women's restroom was 25' from camper
10 miles from Mill parking at Mammoth, where both bathrooms and WiFi are available 24 hrs a day AFAIK although firepits seem to be inoperable this season, and one night off friend's 700' long driveway a few miles N of Truckee and 15 miles from Squaw. For the five days my wife skied it worked well to have camper for the dog although she liked looking out window from dinette seat more than looking out wide angle lens in camper door. Camper also worked for my wife as she would quit skiing an hour or so earlier than me and have somewhere to get out of the weather with food, drink, change of clothes and bathroom facilities. Tony Crocker joined us for a chili lunch with all the fixins' on the day wind closed Mammoth early and we also shared space with him that evening for takeout Mexican food in restaurant's parking lot. We spent 3 nights in family cabin in South Lake Tahoe which gave us a chance to shower (possible in camper when really needed) and have more space although it was a hassle moving what we needed including clothes, food and pillows back and forth for a night each time.

Camper is slower, especially on steep downhills, and I usually keep my cruising speed at 60 mph (or not much over) for better fuel mileage and increased safety although I have hit 70 in it for very short periods. I don't have problem keeping up with uphill traffic with 650 ft/lbs of torque from Cummin turbo diesel (newest ones are over 1,000), but have to slow for turns and drop to 2nd gear on long downhills
Our White German Shepherd and my lovely wife at Mono Lake Vista Point. Road drops over 1,000' after 8,138' pass.
and even used first gear to keep speed down on both sides of Kingsbury Grade to avoid overusing, overheating and possibly losing brakes. Going around Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe I kept up with tourist traffic; one of the cars I pulled over to let pass later pulled over to let me go by after holding me up. I did have problems pulling over to let people pass as I wanted to keep rolling and many of them were slow going by, almost making me stop when turnout ended (I never saw a courtesy wave). And going down E side of Carson Pass I got a honk and finger out the sunroof from guy in BMW who passed me where passing lane started and must have wanted me to stop earlier on long downgrade to let him go by (which I did at start of downgrade).
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