Homewood, CA, Feb. 11, 2021

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Homewood, CA, Feb. 11, 2021

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Feb 13, 2021 3:32 pm

I spent my last day at Tahoe at a new area for me, #243. Homewood has taken contactless delivery to a new level.
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You must buy a ticket online in advance, then scan a QR code on your phone confirmation e-mail in this machine. The machine spits out a card which you can reload online if you ski more days. In the parking lot there were signs with QR codes which you must scan. Then you log into the account you created when you bought your ticket and pay $10 online for the parking.

Homewood’s elevation range is on the low side for Tahoe: 6,225 – 7,880. So after yesterday’s warmup and a storm expected to start by noon, my expectations were modest. My first three runs to the north facing Homewood Express chair had varied grooming quality, some places decent but others solid frozen granular.

Liftline of Homewood Express:
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Tree spacing is adequate for good powder days, but today any ungroomed skiing looked inadvisable.

Homewood’s views of Lake Tahoe are rivaled only by Heavenly (in background here).
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Homewood is halfway down the west shore. Here’s the view to north shore.
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Background snow capped peaks are around Mt. Rose.

By 10AM I realized I should check out the slow but east facing Ellis chair. Morning weather was calm with thin overcast, so enough sun got through to soften trails.
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With low skier traffic these runs became ego corn cruisers so I took 6 runs here.

At 11:30 I decided I had to see Homewood’s expert Quail Face area even though I knew the snow would be difficult. What I didn’t know was the grunt work required to get out there and back. The groomed catwalk that takes you to the blue Hidden Vein and Glades runs tilts uphill beyond, so I took my skis off and walked the 5 minutes to the top of Quail Face. This had the most impressive Tahoe view yet.
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Profile view where I’ll drop in:
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View back up after I made one-at-a-time gorilla turns in the unconsolidated heavy snow:
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In the overview picture if you look at the narrowest point between the snow covered pond in foreground and Lake Tahoe in background, you can see part of the exit trail. This exit trail is also uphill.
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By now I’ve removed hat, goggles and gloves, unzipped my jacket and it’s started to snow, but I’m still overheating. That exit trail is only on the far side of the pond. To get around the pond I had to slog through a flat ungroomed bushy section. It was 12:30 by the time I got to the south base and Quail chair. I did not duck any ropes but nonetheless I did not see one other person on this dubious one hour excursion. I'm sure the locals knew better!

With the storm underway I put all the gear back on and zipped up for two chair rides back to the top. I skied the now softened groomers on three of the Homewood Express runs before skiing Last Resort to the bottom where it was more sleet than snow and I departed about 1:35PM.

I skied 16,800 vertical and had an easy drive home. It was snowing over Donner Summit but not yet sticking to the road. I took a break for a prime rib dinner at Harris Ranch and was home by 10:30.
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I was fairly sure Harris Ranch would put up a tent for outdoor dining. The glare at center is from the temperature check machine.
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Re: Homewood, CA, Feb. 11, 2021

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sat Feb 13, 2021 6:51 pm

How is it possible that you've never been to Homewood, only four miles as the crow flies from Alpine Meadows?
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Re: Homewood, CA, Feb. 11, 2021

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Feb 13, 2021 7:17 pm

I answered this very question from sbooker last March:
http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14207&p=82660 wrote:My ski history in Northern California is here: http://bestsnow.net/vft_ncal.htm

I have spent an entire ski week in Tahoe exactly once, in February 1985 when Adam was a baby and our non-skiing friend Elda Weinstein watched him during the ski day while we watched her then 4 and 5 year old girls in the evenings while she was at the casinos.

In the 1980's and early 1990's I took a 4 day trip nearly every season, most often over MLK weekend. Early in this process my Tahoe skiing became concentrated at 4 major areas.

Starting in 1996 my annual "long weekend trip" shifted to Utah when I met the Iron Blosam timeshare group. Since I was a guest I typically went for 4 days until I bought my own unit in 2008.

Tahoe skiing has been erratic since. In 2005 one of the trips was for a regional NASJA event and in 2012 and 2014 there were Epic Forum Gatherings.

In 2005 Mt. Rose opened the chutes to skiing with an exit lift. I skied there during President's weekend and had an impressive powder day: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards ... .php?t=728 Of the so called second tier areas, Mt. Rose is by far my favorite in terms of both terrain quality and average snow conditions. So on short trips to Tahoe, that's where I'm drawn if not at one of the majors. And now I have Liz with me, who had never skied Tahoe before 2014.

Since it's getting more difficult for me to add new ski areas in western North America, I suspect I will get around to Homewood when I'm in the neighborhood sometime. I have also never skied Boreal or Tahoe Donner, much smaller areas.
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Re: Homewood, CA, Feb. 11, 2021

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sun Feb 14, 2021 5:37 am

Fair enough about why you've concentrated on four major Tahoe ski areas over the years + Mt Rose as your favorite of the second-tier places. Still, the lake views alone at Homewood (and I assume comparative lack of crowds) make it seem like a great candidate for spring skiing.

Tony Crocker wrote:our non-skiing friend Elda Weinstein watched him during the ski day while we watched her then 4 and 5 year old girls in the evenings while she was at the casinos.

Nice setup.
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Re: Homewood, CA, Feb. 11, 2021

Postby tseeb » Sun Feb 14, 2021 9:04 am

When I lived for a year in the 1970s on Ward Ave, less than 4 miles N of Homewood, I never skied there. I had Squaw season pass, why would I pay to go to Homewood? Some houseguests would go there and buy 16 and under ticket, even though they were a couple of years older. After I moved away from Tahoe, I made it to Homewood for a few powder days including one day in the early 90s when we drove the long way around the Lake both ways from South Tahoe as at the time Homewood was the only ski area that would take 2 year-olds in daycare.

I have been to all the smaller Tahoe areas including Boreal where we took my our son when he was 3 as they had a free beginner lift; Soda Springs where friend who was a patroller at Squaw hurt his ankle on a $1 day; Donner Ski Ranch, where not only did I ski for $5, they had champagne grand opening of new triple lift and I had enough Chandon that I had to ski it off to be able to drive home; and Tahoe Donner, where I snowboarded 2-3" untracked new snow. I also hiked and skied Granlibakken, which is 1 mile SW of Tahoe City and has a surface lift, and where I worked long enough when I moved to Tahoe to get a discount Squaw Pass as a ski area employee.

A couple of very minor inaccuracies:
1. "Homewood’s elevation range is on the low side for Tahoe: 6,225 – 7,880". The current Lake level is 6225.7 and legal limit is 6229 (which probably means open all the gates and flood Reno). https://www.skihomewood.com/mountain/the-mountain/ says 6230' and 'City' limit sign shows 6235'. A base elevation of 6225' would often get flooded or require pumps.
HomewoodElevationSign.jpg
HomewoodElevationSign.jpg (70.72 KiB) Viewed 2655 times


2. "Homewood’s views of Lake Tahoe are rivaled only by Heavenly". Diamond Peak is a close third. Their upper lift has a run where you are skiing directly towards Lake, similar to Ridge Run at Heavenly. But Diamond Peak's Crystal Ridge faces SW while Heavenly's Ridge Run is generally a little N of West and higher elevation so surface stays better in Spring. Not my picture, but I think it's where Crystal Ridge ends into Sunnyside. Diamond Peak's Lakeview Lodge is below center.
DiamondPeak.jpg
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Re: Homewood, CA, Feb. 11, 2021

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Feb 14, 2021 9:34 pm

tseeb wrote:"Homewood’s elevation range is on the low side for Tahoe: 6,225 – 7,880".

I'm sure tseeb's comments are correct, but I took those numbers from Homewood's trail map!
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
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
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Re: Homewood, CA, Feb. 11, 2021

Postby jimk » Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:49 am

I skied Homewood on a sunny day in 2013. It's a good place for a more low key Tahoe experience and the views of the lake are magnificent. I too made the trek/slog over to Quail Face. I think we saw two people over there with us. It's pretty steep back there. To get those kind of scenic views in near isolation was really memorable. https://www.dcski.com/articles/1376.
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Re: Homewood, CA, Feb. 11, 2021

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Feb 15, 2021 1:14 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:Still, the lake views alone at Homewood (and I assume comparative lack of crowds) make it seem like a great candidate for spring skiing.

I suspect the low altitude makes Homewood quite sloppy on a warm spring day. There is a non lift served 8,700 foot mountain behind the ski area, which probably shelters Homewood from the most extreme weather during storms. My guess is that Homewood's relative strength among the Tahoe areas is storm day skiing below tree line. Those are the days you would most avoid both Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley, both likely to have extensive lift closures for wind, visibility or avalanche risk.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
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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Posts: 10879
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