Powder fueled: Weekend turns are best of the season
I have not-so-patiently been waiting for this past weekend since I moved to South Lake Tahoe this past summer.
Snow. Lots and lots of dry, powdery snow.
Not the snow that starts as rain at high elevations before turning into wet, mushy, mashed potatoes. I’ve been waiting for cold storms. Storms that dump several feet of feathery drought killer that acts like dust when skiing or driving through it.
Early in the year I changed from my beanie to ball cap hoping to change weather forecasts. I stopped looking at the forecast every few hours and waited for other people to share what they heard. Nothing worked.
But this season could have been worse. I could still be living in Sonora, California, where my home mountain, Dodge Ridge, finally opened for the season Friday, March 2.
March 2 — Yikes!
I applied for the Tribune sports editor position because I wanted to ski, cover winter sports and the people who enjoy them. And living by an epic alpine lake in the summer, no matter how many tourists, is pretty darn cool.
So after weeks, and months, of complaining about historic low snow levels, I, or we, got what we’ve been wanting: a cold, multi-day storm that dumped 5-plus feet of snow on resort mountaintops and Sierra Nevada peaks. March is already the snowiest month of the season. The snow now may last a little longer, making spring backcountry adventures more possible and more fun.
I skied Sierra-at-Tahoe Saturday and at Kirkwood Mountain Resort on Sunday.
The snow almost reached my waist in places as I plowed through. I threw myself hard into powder turns without fear of sharks or ski-destroying rocks.
The trees at Sierra, just … yes. With each turn, powder covered me, hindering my vision, but at that point, I could almost ski blind and use the force to go along with Sierra’s Star Wars theme.
And the Kirkwood steeps, I enjoyed my best run of the season. I was among the first couple dozen skiers to hit the backside that opened for the first time in three days Sunday.
I took the Sunrise chair to the top, turned left and skied as far as my momentum took me. After that, I took off my skis, hiked to the top with a few others and came down Covered Wagon.
If I had more motivation, stronger legs, and was maybe in better shape, I would have gone back time and time again.
It was stellar.
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After more than 70 years of operating with a term deemed derogatory by many Native Americans, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has changed its name to Palisades Tahoe.