Yesterday, Stev, myself, Gone2Alpine, and two of his friends headed out to Mt. Lola, one of my favorite spring/summer patch skiing destinations in Tahoe. A fairly popular snowmobiling area in the winter, it's virtually empty of folks in the spring and summer, except for the occasional hiker and mountain biker, and of course the die-hard skiers such as myself and friends.
In "normal" years past the approach to Lola is pretty straight-forward: drive up an unmarked logging road, cross the "Jan Michael Vincent Bridge of Danger", continue up another unmarked logging road, then hike to the ridge and traverse. All told the hiking end of the approach usually takes 45-minutes.
Said 45-minute approach was what we expected on this day, but alas a couple of fallen trees and copious amounts of snow made it otherwise; the trees were blocking the road, the snow was covering most of the hiking trail. Our approach ended up being full-on Gilligan's Island (a 3-hour tour, for those of you on the clueless tip). While the initial meadow portion of the hike was relatively snow free, once we got to the proper trailhead it was 90% snow encrusted. We "stormed the castle" on a snow (and bush) whacking jaunt straight up the east side of Lola, forgoing the official trail when we couldn't find it any more due to the snow coverage.
The ridge was holding more snow than I've ever seen at this time of year, which was great for us. Turns were nice and creamy, thanks to virtually untouched white canvases yearning for our two plank painting technique. There were hints of snowmobiles (high side marks) and a couple of old snowboard tracks, but other than that the ridge was clean and ripe for a little art school smearing.
One plus of so much snow was that a chute facing down toward nearby Independence Lake was holding glorious (in the 5 seasons that I've been hiking/skiing around Lola and the surrounding area there has never been snow in this chute). Naturally, we graced it with our sticks. Creamy corn goodness satisfied our souls.
While the snow covered trail was a bit of a bane on the ascent, it proved to be a boon on the descent, as we were able to ski all the way down to the meadow (in comparison to the 3 hour approach, our descent took about 30 minutes!).
I snapped quite a number of photos, but we're still sifting through them and will post in the coming days.
In the meantime, here's a mini-TR from Gone2Alpine to tide you over: