The most recent storms this week at Tahoe gave me the rare opportunity for some powder turns. I took the day off work Friday and signed up for a trip on the Bay Area Ski Bus to Alpine Meadows. We were on 80 Friday morning about 8:45 about to get on to 89. It was a parking lot. After discussing it, we decided to re-route to Sugarbowl. By about 10 AM were were boarding the Jerome Hill lift. Right off the top Sidewinder had powder all along the edges of the trail. It felt great to get that float back for the first time this season.
We took Lincoln next and it had more goods. Lots of untracked. The word at the resort was that Wednesday and Thursday were incredibly windy. We saw evidence of this with lots of nice wind buff getting set up and still untracked at that point in the morning.
It wasn't untill we hit the Disney lift that we saw the full extent of the wind blown pow. There were huge organic shaped banks of snow at random spots throughout the run. The snow got incredibly deep in parts. Overland is also one of my favorite runs off Disney because it has a small gully on the skiers left that always holds good snow. It was really narrow, almost like a chute because there was a fence lined off on the left and trees on the right.
Disney lift was pretty busy in the morning but it definitely died down for the lunch period. On the lifts, we heard more horror stories about people having to get bussed into Squaw after the parking lot filled up.
I opted out of lunch and into more pow. I split up with my morning partner and headed out on a solo mission. I got up the stones to go check out Nancy's Couloir skiers right off of Disney. There were huge exposed rocks and a tricky entry so I continued on the ridge to Sugar Bowl. It had a ton of good snow and lots of untracked windbuff which made for some great turns.
In the afternoon I headed back over to the Judah lodge side. Sugarbowl offers free group lessons (and free rentals) on all General Admission days. I'm all for taking lessons as I'm really trying to improve my skills. They had 6 stakes in the snow for the 6 different levels. I got into the 5 group but we went out as a larger group of 4's 5's and 6's for an on snow eval by the instructors. I think I wound up with the 6's after that eval but I couldn't say for sure.
Craig, our instructor, had us working on pressuring our edges and releasing into the next turn. He took us through lots of little mogul runs off Disney and Lincoln. It was fun skiing with a group again and watching the other skiers perform. I had a few minor bobbles and a bail but nothing too bad so I was able to keep up with the instructor and the rest of the group with no issue.
By the afternoon the snow had started to change to get a bit heavier. The instructor called some snow surface "Elephant Back" which was a term I hadn't heard before.
The fresh snow, untracked lines, and great lesson easily made the Sugarbowl outing my best trip of the season.
Here's a photo from the bus after the day was over. We're looking the Judah lodge with bumps starting to form on Donner's way. Second photo is of my girlfriend getting some in Nancy's Couloir a year ago.