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Tahoe area resort conditions ...

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Well ... planned a trip to South Lake Tahoe for about 6 months now (first trip to Tahoe) and upon arrival this week found the area to have record high temps in forecast all week ... bummer.  So what we have are basically spring conditions - below freezing temps at night and very warm thru the day wherein the very wet afternoon snow freezes overnight to produce boiler plated concrete.

 

Skied Kirkwood yesterday and conditions were very icy pretty much everywhere and only started to soften late in the day.  Venturing out thru the trees turned into MAJOR chatter, boiler plate ice and how quickly could one return to the groomed surface. 

 

Skied at Heavenly today and found better snow conditions on the groomers.  Surface was still firm and thru the trees was very much the same as with Kirkwood. 

 

Plans are to head somewhere on the north side of the lake tomorrow, possibly Northstar as the trails off the Backside Express look inviting.  If the local Bears have the scoop on conditions or recommendations ... love to know. 

post #2 of 26

Conditions in the North are no different than in the South. Why waste your time driving all the way up?

Stick to Heavenly.

post #3 of 26

This is why I disagree with Tony Crocker - whose position is - Don't plan ahead, look at the early storms and then decide where to go. Well - if you saw the monster Dec storms rolling into Tahoe - You would say Hey let me go to Tahoe in january. And guess what -  you would have been no better off than Dorm57 - who booked his tickets 6 months back.

 

Its all a crap shoot - unless you have financial flexibility to make air reservations with a 3/4 day notice - it makes no difference whether you plan your trip 2 weeks in advance or 6 months in advance. All you can do is - make decisions based on long term snowfall history (compiled painstakingly of course by Tony Crocker) and go with those rather short term patterns. Ex - I know that Alta/Bird is reliable in early Dec - year over year (Thanks to your data - Tony). I can reliably make plans to go to Alta/bird in early  Dec. Are there years when Alta/BIrd is dry in early Dec - sure - one or two over a 10 yr period. I will take those odds and make my reservations for Alta/BIrd in Aug/Sept to get a much better price.

 

Sorry to hijack your thread - but could not resist this example. 

post #4 of 26

Dorm57:

 

You need to find some southern exposures to hit early.  I'm not that familiar with Heavenly, but Squaw and Alpine have it in spades and have some of the best spring skiing around.

If you can't find good conditions, I would consider hiring a guide or taking a lesson to save your trip.  A good instructor should know where to go for the best conditions at any time of the day.

 

Marty: I don't really agree with you on this one.  It rained to the top at Alta last week and the skiing sucked for at least a couple of days.  It can suck anywhere, anytime. 

IMHO: I would much rather pay a slight premium and book at the last minute and go somewhere that's having stellar conditions. 

post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty View Post

Its all a crap shoot - unless you have financial flexibility to make air reservations with a 3/4 day notice - it makes no difference whether you plan your trip 2 weeks in advance or 6 months in advance. All you can do is - make decisions based on long term snowfall history (compiled painstakingly of course by Tony Crocker) and go with those rather short term patterns.

 

Sorry to hijack your thread - but could not resist this example. 


I'm comfortable with my decisions to make long term plans and you can do whatever works for you.  Over the 12 years or so of 'long term' planning 2 trips a year, we've had 2-3 trips with poor weather ... such is life.

 

And thanks for your 1st post ... that's what I needed instead of the lecture.
 

post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorm57 View Post

So what we have are basically spring conditions - below freezing temps at night and very warm thru the day wherein the very wet afternoon snow freezes overnight to produce boiler plated concrete.

 

 



Dorm57,
This time of year, the south facing stuff in gate #5 of Mott will soften the most of anywhere.  It will start getting soft early in the day and hit it's peak of softness  at about 1:30 and quickly begin to re-freeze.  At the end of the day the Face of gunbarrel chair will start to soften about 2:00 and will hit it's peak about 4:00.

post #7 of 26

Dorm57 -

 

I, too, just went to Lake Tahoe for the first time ever.  We were there last Thursday through Saturday.  The conditions were as you stated, with VERY warm temperatures during the day.  I skied without gloves or mittens the entire time.  Some of the locals suggested we ski the "California side" in the morning and switch to the "Nevada side" in the afternoons.  That seemed to work the best.  We were disappointed that most of the black diamond runs were closed as were the glades, Gunbarrel and the Face.  On Saturday, we found one section of Mott Canyon open and skied that were the sun was shining.  That was fun!  Actually, we encountered very little ice - thanks to the grooming that was done. We looked at it as a nice, relaxing vacation and a chance to "scope out the area."  We would much rather have two feet of powder, but like they say, "Any day of skiing is better than a day at work!"

post #8 of 26

Groomed slopes, lower elevations and following the sun should give you good skiing.  Heavenly's groomers should ski very nice in the morning.  Sierra at Tahoe will be nice after 10:00 in West Bowl, and they do enough grooming that there is good skiing for a day.  Alpine Meadows is your best shot at ungroomed south facing exposures, most likely after 11:00.  Sugar Bowl should ski ok on the groomers, but very little off-piste has sun exposure, I would avoid it. Squaw Valley usually skis nicely in Shirley Lake and Granite during these condition, while KT22 and the headwall exposures will remain frozen with Sun Bowl being an exception.  At Kirkwood, the best terrain is coral reef right now, Not only is it high, but much can't be groomed. 

 

Sorry the trip worked out to be Junuary, rather than January. 

post #9 of 26

Having just come back from Squaw, I'll add a bit:  Granite Chief has been closed, presumably due to incurable ice.  The two go-to areas for morning sun are Sun Bowl, off the Headwall lift and Tower 16, off Broken Arrow.  I can confirm that KT-22 has been hard all day.  The rest of Headwall was closed.  Grooming was key.  Some mornings they did "tilling" which made a difference.  I ended up working on technique on the groomers at Shirley Lake.  Later in the day, Emigrant was actually not too bad.

post #10 of 26


Dorm57

 

AS I mentioned in my post - it was not directed towards you. I used your example to make a point  about a discussion that comes up often in these forums.

 

Besides - you seem to be agreeing with me -:)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorm57 View Post



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty View Post

Its all a crap shoot - unless you have financial flexibility to make air reservations with a 3/4 day notice - it makes no difference whether you plan your trip 2 weeks in advance or 6 months in advance. All you can do is - make decisions based on long term snowfall history (compiled painstakingly of course by Tony Crocker) and go with those rather short term patterns.

 

Sorry to hijack your thread - but could not resist this example. 


I'm comfortable with my decisions to make long term plans and you can do whatever works for you.  Over the 12 years or so of 'long term' planning 2 trips a year, we've had 2-3 trips with poor weather ... such is life.

 

And thanks for your 1st post ... that's what I needed instead of the lecture.
 

post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 

We skied Northstar on Tuesday and took the day off today.  Really enjoyed the runs off Backside and Martis lifts.  The trails off these lifts were overall pretty good ... we had a ball.  Too, we really enjoyed how these lifts pretty much catered to Interm and Advanced skiers with not much traffic.  Right down to the chair and right back up to the top with no waiting whatsoever.

 

We will ski tomorrow and Friday and head back to NC on Saturday.  Will probably ski Heavenly and go back to Northstar ... really had a ball at each of these resorts.

 

post #12 of 26

Glad to hear its going well in spite of the lack of new snow.  Wish we were able to meet up, but this is probably my busiest week of the year.

post #13 of 26

Sorry too... Some of the regular Tahoe-ites are currently in Colorado for ESA and/or SIA. 

post #14 of 26

Hi all, I'm looking for some advice on where to ski next week, Feb 2-6. I already have a ticket to heavenly for Fri, Sat, Sun, but I have not yet decided where I will ski on Wednesday and Thursday. I have never been to Tahoe.

 

I'll be staying in South Lake Tahoe near the Heavenly gondola (without a car), so Heavenly is easy, but I am not sure if I would be better off exploring other options? I have the option of purchasing a cheap shuttle/lift ticket combo to Kirkwood where I would love to ski, but based on posts above I don't know if it's worth it. I am an advanced (Level 8/9) skier and am interested primarily in black and double black terrain.

 

Any suggestions?

 

Also if anyone would like to meet up for a couple runs that would be great. I have friends flying in for Fri-Sun, but the friend I was supposed to ski with the first two days bailed so now I'm on my own. I'm comfortable skiing most terrain, though I am not one of the best skiers on the mountain by any stretch of the imagination.

 

Thanks!

post #15 of 26

Shuttles go from downtown to Sierra at Tahoe, and I think there is one to Kirkwood.  You should get very good skiing at Heavenly, and as long as we are in a freeze-thaw cycle without fresh snow, it will be hard to beat.  Afternoons that allow some softening of off-piste areas would make KW worthwhile. The forecast outlook is still mainly dry, and that's not good for anyone.

post #16 of 26

Updated forecast is for a bit of snow on Sunday!

post #17 of 26

We are going soon. Heard there were some good tree skiing (spaced apart some) off the Stagecoach lift or thereabouts. We like to ski intermed/advanced runs. Any hints on good runs would be great!  Thanks in advance!

post #18 of 26

KD Skis, you will probably like the North Bowl and Olympic areas on Heavenly. Be sure to read the Heavenly resort guide.

post #19 of 26

Just saw this on FB:

http://ht.ly/3MjHh

 

Here's hoping it's true! Our month-long warm drought might finally be over!

post #20 of 26

What are your feelings for next Febuary?

 

I think Heavenly

 

Thanks

Eduardo

post #21 of 26

Ok, it was pretty funny following up the big snows of December with a New-England-style January thaw.

But enough is enough, the practical joke is getting stale.  Lets bring back the snow, ok?

post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post

KD Skis, you will probably like the North Bowl and Olympic areas on Heavenly. Be sure to read the Heavenly resort guide.



Cirquerider..... Thanks and thanks!!:)

post #23 of 26

 

Quote:
it makes no difference whether you plan your trip 2 weeks in advance or 6 months in advance.

Sure it does, and particularly in the Sierra.  With the snowfall volatility January coverage can still be lacking in the bad years, most recently 2007 but there were several years in the late 80's/early 90's.  I think the current situation is somewhat exceptional.  In January the north facing steeps would normally retain dry snow, but from the Kirkwood report it's not that way this time.  Mammoth Forum reports also recommend staying on the groomers. So it's unusual; I've skied Mammoth after extended droughts many times and the top is usually still good.

 

The widespread mid-month rain event, extending all the way to 10,000 feet at Alta, was also very unusual and may have brushed Tahoe.

 

With regard to early December in Utah, 2 of the past 5 years the coverage has not been there yet.  And if you're there the week of the first big dump of the season there still may not be much open while patrol is ensuring snow stability. I think Dec. 15 is the point where on average advance-booking odds for the Cottonwood Canyons are sufficiently in one's favor to commit non-refundable airfare $.

post #24 of 26

doesnt seem like the conditions have changed much in Tahoe - which is bad news since i will be out there in a couple weeks.  anybody have an updates?  staying at heavenly, but have transportation to travel....and while i'm at it, if anybody has some local watering holes that may not be visible to the south lake tahoe tourist eye, let me know.  can't guarantee good conditions, but a good time is in our hands.

 

thanks!

post #25 of 26

Good snow up to 18 inches last Sunday freshened things up.  Temperatures will be quite warm this weekend with sunny weather through the period.   Long-term we are looking a significant pattern shift about Valentines Day 13-15 where the high pressure in the Pacific that has ridged all the weather away from Tahoe is predicted to retrograde to the West or North.  That will open the storm door to an extent yet unknown.

post #26 of 26

My suggestion is to stay at Heavenly.  Sierra can be crowded.  You may consider taking a one day trip to Squaw by taking the free shuttle bus.  See

 

http://www.squaw.com/winter/shuttle_ss.html

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