South Lake Tahoe Trip 2/27-3/6

Just got back from South Lake Tahoe. We had a great time. We didn't get the snow we would have liked but bluebird days and spring conditions take second place to powder days in my book anyway.

We spent our first 3 days at Heavenly, which was a 2 minute shuttle ride from our condo. Temps got into the 50's and 60s each day, and besides a few slushy spots, the snow was great. We found plenty of untouched stuff in the woods that softened up nicely by around 10:30 everyday. I had lots of fun finding rock drops and log rides, when not bombing groomers. We spent most of our time on the Nevada side. I found the Cali side to be kind of boring and much more crowded. Say what you want about Heavenly, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find better views from a ski slope. The lake is simply gorgeous, and even the views of Carson City and the surrounding desert were very cool.

Most of my group took Sunday off since a wintery mix had moved in, and most of us were fairly exhausted. A few went to Kirkwood but came back and reported that conditions were terrible due to very wet, heavy snow falling and nearly zero visibility. One said the lighting was so flat that he couldn't see the contour of a mogul 2 feet in front of him. This was disconcerting news since we all planned on hitting Kirkwood the next day. At least the forecast was calling for warm temps and sunny skies. I wouldn't be disappointed with another day of spring skiing, anyway.

Monday morning we jump on the shuttle and head to Kirkwood. Our driver and tour guide, Snowshoe was his name, gave us great info on all the great backcountry we were seeing on the way. Once at the base, I met up with my cousin, who drove up from Santa Cruz to ride with me. We did a warm up run off the Cornice Express and then headed over to the backside. The groomer run was normal, early morning corduroy and gave no hint to the delights ahead of us. We quickly made our way over to the Sunrise lift and then up the Covered Wagon surface lifts. Once at the top of the rope tows we talked to the liftie and found out that only 7 skiers/riders had been up to Covered Wagon Peak ahead of us. So we stripped off our jackets and started hiking. What followed was easily the best run of my life. I dropped in to around 8-10 inches of beautiful powder, making a few high speed carves down the steep face before straight-lining it through a chute and out on to Fawn Ridge. I stayed as far skier's right as I could without falling off the cliffs and into the out of bounds bowl. Every hump in the trail, or snow covered rock was a big, powdery roller to launch into a pristine, fluffy landing. Then down into the trees for some high-speed flow, the powder giving me so much control it was like a roller coaster ride. I stayed out of bounds as far as I could without going off the wrong side of the fall line and then cut back to pop back on piste just in front of the bottom of the Sunrise lift. I had never laughed so maniacally while snowboarding before. By the end, my face hurt from the Joker-esque, shit-eating grin on my face. We did the same run 3 more times before the sun made the snow on Fawn sticky and we decide to check out some more of the mountain. I love that place, and cannot wait to go back.


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