My Dream Winter

May snow...and a puzzled dog

…is one where it pretty much stays winter all year round.

Looks like I’m getting my wish.   Squaw reported 13-20 inches of new snow on Monday, and while the sun peeked out briefly, the clouds moved in again and are supposed to stick around a little while longer.

My dawn patrol plans this morning were scuttled, but I’m hoping to get out to product test tomorrow.  After my reconnaissance walk with the dog in a very wet meadow, I realized that it’ll be a long while before the lower trails will be suitable for mountain biking.

So call it my version of making lemonade.

Awesome April Fool’s

I love it when Mother Nature plays an April Fool’s in my favor.  Winter’s returned, with up to 29 inches of new snow at the resorts today (and unsettled weather forecast through the weekend – WOOT!).

Due to work commitments I was only able to ski for a few hours in the morning, which meant heading to the resort 10 minutes from my house.  Heavenly was reporting 15-18 inches, but based on the winds yesterday I knew that depth would likely be in isolated pockets.  It was, but when I hit said pockets, it was very good.  Face shot good. Fat ski good.

As the saying goes about friends on a powder day (there are none), there’s a similar corollary about photos.

Looking forward to seeing if this April Fool’s thing extends into next week.   At the very least, it should make for great conditions this weekend.

Because I live in the mountains

A storm ‘of substance’ hit Lake Tahoe yesterday, bringing with it a few feet of wind and *hopefully* up to 2 feet of snow at the higher elevations.  Because the word ‘blizzard’ was bandied about, it made the news, further exciting people.  Since it’s come after a few weeks of mild weather, many people weren’t ‘ready’ for it, and I’ve heard a surprising number of complaints today.

I’m gobsmacked because while it may technically be spring here, any ‘local’ knows full well that snowstorms aren’t unusual in late March, mid April, heck even mid May.  I, for one, love the surprise snowstorms,  even if it brings with it the requisite snow shoveling, driving chaos and delays.  It’s a welcome sacrifice when powder snow is involved!

Snow angelSo, for all the unhappy people living at Lake Tahoe who want sun and warm temps and refuse to let history be their guide, instead of telling you to quit yer bitchin’ or move to Sacramento, which is what my cranky side would tell you, I’m going to try to be nice and put a positive spin on things by sharing a snow angel with you.  I made it especially for all you snow-haters this afternoon, as I was out in the snowstorm skiing in untracked snow with the mutt.

Enjoy it, as it was not easy to make while wearing cross-country skis.

Rites of Spring

The east side of Tioga Pass road opened this week, allowing backcountry skier’s access to hundreds, nay, thousands of acres of high-altitude terrain.  With this annual rite of spring comes the requisite stop or stops at the Whoa Nellie Deli, perhaps the best gas station cuisine to be had in California, if not the Western U.S.

Lobster taquitos at the Whoa Nellie Deli

Thanks to a meeting change for N, we were able to get down there this weekend, and while the weather gods chased the sun away sooner than we expected today, we still found terrific corn snow off False White.  And it’s hard to complain when you start the day out like this.

Tiogaaa!

The dog, as per usual, was thrilled to be out skiing, and freaked out with more vim than usual.  So it came as no surprise that she was eager to get back into her lair in the back of the truck afterward.

Top off the morning with a stop at the Buckeye hot springs for a quick soak and it made for a great day in the Eastern Sierra.

Tahoe Mud Season

While the official spring season’s only been around a few weeks, it’s felt like that here at Lake Tahoe since early March, thanks to a persistent high-pressure system sitting over Northern California.  For some it’s wonderful, but for those of us that love skiing and/or work in the ski industry, all this sunshine is not good for consumer perception. Especially when the likes of Colorado, Utah and the Pacific Northwest are getting clobbered with back to back snow storms.  The irony is that the Colorado resorts are closing this weekend, and the Lake Tahoe resorts are open through the end of April/early May.  Yet folks here are thinking more about golf, gardening and all the things you do when the snow melts. Go figure.

Temps are expected to be near record breaking this weekend – mid-sixties or something silly.  And since I’m playing catch up with work I figured a run in the meadow would be just the thing for both me and the too-neglected (?) mutt.

Funny thing is, there’s still quite a bit of snow around, despite the warmth.  So our trail run was more of a snow/mud run with a bit of trail thrown in for good measure.   It made for a slower pace, but the dog didn’t seem to mind.  She swam, sniffed and ran through all the muddiest parts – deliberately.

Now she’s lying right in the middle of the once-cream berber carpet upstairs, ensuring that there will be a wet, dirty patch there later today.  This despite the 3 beds she has to choose from.