Thursday, December 18, 2014

Storm brings some good, some weird snow conditions at Tahoe

From page B3 | February 12, 2014 |

By Jules Older

Once again, I was getting wildly conflicting reports from Tahoe.

Some said, Snow at last! Great skiing! C’mon up!

Others said, Areas closed. One chair working. Eternal lines.

I went to the source — Tahoe residents I know and trust.

Starting with someone everybody trusts, snowcaster Bryan Allegretto, a serious skier and Truckee resident.

Bryan. I’m getting confusing reports. What’s going on up there?
The confusion is because it’s a hugely complex storm. Over the weekend, snow levels [where the snow starts and the rain ends] stayed lower than expected, peaking out at 7,500 feet. Sometimes there was snow at the lower levels, rain at higher. Tremendous variability — I’ve never seen anything like it.

But lower-lying resorts bases — Homewood, Northstar, Squaw — only picked up a coating of snow at the base; higher ones — Mt Rose, Kirkwood, Sierra — did better there.

And up top?
Above 8,000 feet, four to seven feet of snow fell almost everywhere,.

Who got the most?
Kirkwood and Sierra. But every resort is reporting at least 4.5 feet above 8,000 feet elevation. Northstar and Sugar Bowl and Alpine Meadows got a foot of snow in the past 24 hours.

I’m hearing about closures.
A lot of resorts closed Sunday because of avalanche danger. Heavy, wet snow; high winds; a funky base layer — this demands lots of avalanche control. Today, most are open; Squaw is once again fully open.

What about driving?
Road conditions have improved since the weekend. They’re wet, not snowbound, since rain fell on all the passes. The worst roads will be around Kirkwood, where they got two feet on Sunday.

Mt. Rose has the highest base elevation in Tahoe. On Sven Svenhardt reports:

Blue skies are starting to break through and there may be some fresh terrain open today after the groomers worked it last night. The BC skiing yesterday was OK with skis mostly staying on top. It was definitely fun getting off piste and you won’t have a bad time coming up, that’s for sure. This snowfall was a Godsend and will make skiing a lot more pleasant for months to come!

PLEASE stay out of the chutes and other high-angle aspects. All slope aspects are still unstable with heavy wet snow. This is NOT the day to test your luck on steep terrain.

TrustedButAnonymous asked around:

At Alpine Meadows and Squaw, they have been firing at avalanches all morning.

I talked to two friends in Squaw. One who skied this morning on Red Dog and the Resort Run (from the top of Red Dog down to the Resort at Squaw Creek) said it snowed about 2 ½ — 3 feet last night, but really heavy, slushy and difficult to ski on — slick, shiny with ruts on the packed slopes, impossible cement anywhere else — even on fat skis. They will need to do some serious grooming on the upper slopes for the coming weekend.

My other friend in Squaw believes it will be fairly good skiing when the runs open on the upper part of the mountain. Presently, it is 47 degrees with sun breaking through.

Dylan Silver, a ski writer who lives in South Lake Tahoe, reports in from one of the local backcountry spots, Powder House. Yes, he took time from his turns to bring you this:

Conditions up here are spectacular. The upper mountains are absolutely buried — six feet of snow above 7,000 feet. It’s gonna’ pay off for skiers and riders for a long while.

It’s not currently snowing, and the snow’s fairly heavy, but it’s really good for riding. Lower-angle slopes are the best now because of avalanche danger.

Yesterday, Sierra-at-Tahoe had to shut down almost the entire mountain due to the intensity and depth of the snow. They got more than 80 inches, definitely over six feet. We finally have something to ride on, not just rocks and trees.

Finally, the San Francisco report.
I’ve been watching webcams all weekend… and found them eerie. Fog, more fog, skiers at the bottom, none on the trails.

Today, it looks much brighter: blue skies, clear views, and fer sure, an abundance of snow. Praise Ullr. And still conserve water.



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