Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Deep Powder Graces Tahoe

Finally, we actually get a storm cycle this season that works out.  Five feet of light, dry snow fell on top of the existing, if thin, base.  The storms came in several waves.  The first wave was blower.  About a foot of extremely low density snow fell on top of a refrozen mountain.  Those of us with limited time, and some flexibility waited it out.  Others ventured onto the slopes.  Word is the skiing was good, when you could avoid hitting bottom.  So, two out of three turns were quite, and the third like scratching a black board.  And of course, there were plenty of hidden rocks.

Fresh snow finally is covering up most of the rocks.  Court finds a narrow ally way.

Coming off a recently broken hand,  he spots the hand-in-a-bag look oh so popular these days.

And still is able to slash a turn for the lens.

But from there, things got better.  The early week pioneers went out and packed that foot back down into a few inches, crushing it into the rocks.  The base got better, and then the storms really starting winding up.  Word is Wednesday was excellent.  Few folks and great storm skiing.  Sure, terrain was limited, but if you were at a resort that had at least one lift open to the goods, it was great.  By Thursday morning, storm totals were pushing three feet.  The wind also came through a bit in the morning, and had an effect on the snow.  And the crowds started to come out.

Friday, the sun broke.  Sean finds an ice fall to jump off of.

Alex follows on his first run of the season

Dave churns up some snow with the sun at his back.

And then jumps into the sun.
In case you have been living under a rock, Vail Resorts recently purchased Kirkwood.  Whether this is a good or bad thing is still up in the air, and will be for some time.  Vail will supply the resort with much needed capital to fix nearly everything.  Of course, when things start to run properly, more folks will come on out.  Thursday and Friday saw a lot of EpicPass holders on the hill.  And this makes sense, as the other Vail resorts around Tahoe (Heavenly and Northstar) are just anemic with snow this year.  While they both have excellent snow making for groomed trails, in between has been an adventure to say the least.  And they were also out checking out the goods at their new resort.  Of course, if you have a Kirkwood pass, you can always return the favor and go track out their stashes.

Nothing like early season spines with flatish landings.

Do they even have terrain like this at other Vail Resorts?  Bush huck.

Once everything else was bombed out, Don rolls up and finds a plush landing.

Bill checks out his favorite double.  

Kelly drops a icy rock in front of the peanut gallery.

And gets her powder turns in.
Even with lift lines and crowds on the hill, the skiing was good.  The nice thing about a crowd that is new to your hill is that most of them don't venture out too far, and the well hidden stashes, are, well, well hidden.  Powder turns were found all day.  Landing zones were preserved.  The skiing was good.  It is on days like these that smiles seems to be on almost everyone's face.  I mean, skiing is fun.  A whole lot of fun.  And if you ask me, the Kirkwood valley is a wonderful place.  Some say I am too lazy to drive anywhere else.  I just say, why would I.  I didn't even bother to drive up to Carson Pass this time around.  That is like over ten minutes away.  One of these days, I'll head over to the lake and ski a line with a water view.  Until then, I'll just enjoy the powder stashes.

Alex joins in for a hike with Vailwood Mountain Resort in the background.

Jamie works the wind effected powder.

Once below the first set of trees, the snow was a little more protected.

Alex tests that shoulder.

And finds some great soft turns all the way to the bottom.

Another storm came through earlier this week.  Not quite the whopper like last week's system, but at least we got snow two week's in a row.  Should be enough to keep things interesting through this coming weekend.  Forecasts are projecting a few bigger systems to start impacting the Sierra around the middle of next week.  Here is hoping for a Miracle March.  Otherwise, we could be seeing a quick end to the schussing season.

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