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Alpine Meadows and Squaw 2/18-2/19

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Here's a quick TR from Alpine and Squaw over the past weekend.

 

We hit Alpine Saturday.  The backside was "open" but the only way to get there was via High-T.  We opted out for the morning and heard over lunch that the backside was still pretty bony.  The front was decent if a bit crowded with the President's Day folks all showing up at once.  We hit Alpine Bowl--plenty of rocks on skiers left entrance, Fall line for some great snow, and yellow trail for the best turns of the day.  There was an unfortunate accident under the Hot Wheels chair right near the base of the lift.  We learned later that a ski instructor trying to make a traverse over to Roundhouse collided with an out of control skier and sent him to the hospital.  There was a lot of blood on the ground making for a gruesome site.  

 

Sunday we went to Squaw.  I signed up for a group lesson and lucked out when I was the only "Advanced" skier.  First run we headed up Red Dog and went down Squaw Creek.  We headed left after a bit of the groomer and went into some really nice smallish bumps and soft snow.

 

For the next lap, we headed up Squaw Creek and went immediately left into a pitch marked expert only.  My instructor kept telling to to face the fall line more, this was my first off-piste skiing of the season and I was probably a little rusty.  We found some legitimate powder in some trees lower on the pitch.  It was maybe 6" or so but a sweet find.  We trekked out on a little trail all the way at the bottom of the powder field, skiers left of the lift line.  I was relieved to get back to the groomed and finish up the run back to Squaw Creek.

 

We hit KT and had to pick our way through a rocky entrance to get some goods skiers left working around around for a view of Alpine off the back of the lift.  Lots of the runs were skied out but my instructor sure knew where to find the best snow.  By about noon I was worked and huffing.  We went in for a quick break then back out up Squaw One.

 

The best run of the day for me came right after lunch as we made it up Siberia Express.  We went right off the chair and found an awesome soft mogul field that hardly anyone had been on.  Other than a rocky start it was absolutely awesome skiing.  I have to say I slayed it because the instructor was finally giving me some props for "charging!"  He took me through a natural half pipe then over to Emigrant lift.  It looked like the funnel was closed but we saw someone trying for it.  We took the attic down and went over to Granite.  

 

On a little traverse on Granite Chief, disaster struck.  I was trying to scrub some speed and got my tips dug into some deeper snow and double ejected.  When I went to regroup I realized I had destroyed my right binding's heelpiece.  The metal has sheared at the bolt holding the brake on and there was no repairing it.  I had to hike back up to Granite and offload down with ski patrol.

 

I tried to remain upbeat and focus on the great skiing all day and take some consolation in the fact that I was so worked skiing that hard in the morning that the afternoon was going to be a real slog on my legs.  

 

I was super impressed with the instructor's ability to sniff out the best snow despite the crowds and lack of recent snowfall.  One takeaway from this is that the group lesson can be a great way to get a private on the sly.

 

View from the hike up to Granite:

 

Mantra's Last Ride?


Edited by dmourati - 2/20/12 at 6:50pm
post #2 of 18

You should be happy your bindings broke on top of Granite Chief. If you had tried to come down GC - your bones would be broken too. 

post #3 of 18

Thanks for the TR.  Do you have a shot of the binding?

post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 

I will take a photo of the destroyed binding.  Right now, it's sitting at California Ski Company while the Mantras are getting upgraded with STH 14 Drivers.

 

The tech there said I might be able to warranty it through Salomon.

 

The tech at Squaw said he sees about 10 of those failures per week.

post #5 of 18

  Sounds like an instructor to request for a lesson.   Care to share the name?smile.gif

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

Trekchick, his name was Ken.  Super nice guy, awesome skier.  I didn't get the chance to give him a tip so hopefully sending some business his way will hold me okay in the grand scheme of things.

post #7 of 18

Kirkwood yesterday was also "pretty boney". most everything is open. snow is packed

powder ( kind of hard like in east) on groomed & skier packed runs. Off piste runs in woods

are possible & i did some.-hard with grip -not quite boiler plate. Some sun softening but not much. lots of rocks to avoid all over the place.

 

The Wall on Wagonwheel probably should have been closed. It's sort of OK except for the

top entrance dropping down nearly 5 foot over semi-vertical ledges over rocks. 

 

North facing slopes have better snow. One of the wide chutes to skiers left off upper half of "the Wall" was quite good.

 

Southwest Air lost my skis (here now) so they paid for demo's. The demo guy, in his mexican sombrerro, looks at and prints weather reports hourly. Some light snow predicted on Saturday.

 

Don't try to use GPS to go from Sacramento to Kirkwood via rt 88. After you pass

Placerville you are directed northeast on winding mountain roads. It had me on paved Immigrant Trail marked twice "closed due to snow 10 miles ahead. " Then I turned around at a third sign saying "Your GPS is Wrong - Turn Around Now"  I guess this is what "Death by GPS"means. !!

 

I headed down in southwest direction then west on on Om Ranch rd, also marked "closed before rt 88"  I'm now pissed and stopped to ask the first person I could find, a lady

burning trash, about the sign. She says the Eldorado county commissioners are idiots

when they put that sign up. Even gave me the name of the head one and wanted me to

file a complaint. No snow at all on the road. She thought  Emmigrant trail was open too.

They just slam signs up when not needed. When really needed they are not believed so

hundreds of people get stuck on Om Ranch Rd every winter. I lost an hour of ski time due

to this.debacle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #8 of 18

Happened to me near the top of the front side at Vail.  The ski patrol asks "You want to ski down on one ski?"  I said "Ahhh...noooo" (the guy must have confused me with Bode Miller or something) and took the humbling ride down on the sled.   First day of a weeklong trip & it turned out to be a good thing, because I got to rent a bunch of different skis & ended up buying the ones I liked best. 

post #9 of 18

Squaw Valley yesterday was a lot better than Kirkwood the day before. Still nothing to write home about.

Seemed to be more snow & fewer rocks. Snow on sun facing slopes softened up nicely. Off trail soft snow

in woods along Granite Chief liftline was nice.

SW Air delivered my lost skiis at 3am -Just in time for Squaw. (they paid for demo's at Kirkwood.)

A lot of bumps on Granite chief (gnarly top entrance there & at top of Siberia) Only got a few hours in

since I used one of the 2 free Friday afternoons that came with the $98 Two pack offer expiring last week.

 

Sierra at Tahoe did impress today. They did all they could with what snow they had -not much. Back side

closed this year and black runs except Castle are closed. They did a great grooming job on most all trails

more so than Kirkwood & Squaw.  A somewhat crowded Saturday but I had no waits using the Singles line.

hth

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

Here are some photos of the old shattered binding:

 

6935826709_1e00aeb991_d.jpg

 

6789712842_d5c2d3c410_d.jpg

 

500

 

Out with the old, in with the new.

 

6935855153_554cdf2be2_d.jpg

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdskier View Post

Sierra at Tahoe did impress today. They did all they could with what snow they had -not much. Back side

closed this year and black runs except Castle are closed. They did a great grooming job on most all trails

more so than Kirkwood & Squaw.  A somewhat crowded Saturday but I had no waits using the Singles line.

hth


Sierra has one of the best grooming crews in the area.  None of the odd ridges and ruts you usually find at Heavenly or Kirkwood.  Those wide open West Bowl groomers are always smooth as glass in the mornings.

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by sth1d View Post


Sierra has one of the best grooming crews in the area.  None of the odd ridges and ruts you usually find at Heavenly or Kirkwood.  Those wide open West Bowl groomers are always smooth as glass in the mornings.



Heavenly has exceptional grooming IMO. It's Kirkwood thats got the not so great piste skiing (but perhaps the best off that piste)

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

I have mixed feelings about Kirkwood grooming.  I had never thought about it before the comment above but then I went Sunday and saw this:

 

6810276186_86dbcb1325_z.jpg

 

It does look like they could have done a better job.

 

On the other hand, Zachary's and Sentinel bowl were groomed and they were fantastic.  I guess it's called high-angle grooming?

post #14 of 18

I'm thinking that people don't go to Kirkwood for the groomers. wink.gif

post #15 of 18

LOL.  Maybe, just maybe...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

I'm thinking that people don't go to Kirkwood for the groomers. wink.gif



 

post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

I'm thinking that people don't go to Kirkwood for the groomers. wink.gif


 

It still should be better done. We'll see what Vail Resorts does with that. Potentially, Vail Resorts could make Kirkwood even better with little to no drawback with better snowmaking, grooming, and upgrading lifts.

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiking4 View Post


 

Potentially, Vail Resorts could make Kirkwood even better with little to no drawback 


Good luck with that. 

 

post #18 of 18

There's always a drawback with a company like Vail, but yes, they will make it a better mountain in the short term.  What it will be like in 10-15 years is a more interesting question.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skiking4 View Post


 

It still should be better done. We'll see what Vail Resorts does with that. Potentially, Vail Resorts could make Kirkwood even better with little to no drawback with better snowmaking, grooming, and upgrading lifts.



 

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