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Tahoe terrain

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I will be taking my first ski trip ever outside of western new york with my family at the end of this month. I have no idea what to expect as far as terrain and snow. I'm prettty sure we'll be going to squaw, heavenly and alpine meadows.

How does the steepness and difficulty of the trails compare? What's a common black diamond like? The only slope that i'ver skiied and know the angle is holiday valley's only double black which they say is 37.5 degrees.

Do you have to hike to much terrain? looking at alpine and heavenly's trail maps it looks like there is a lot of stuff that requires hikes.

How much is groomed? particularly at squaw where its all so open. What is the snow like in ungroomed areas? Moguls, crud? I know it hasn't snowed in a while, Is there much closed?
post #2 of 4
You'll have fun in Tahoe. It hasn't snowed for a while here, but we're supposed to get some new snow this week and next. Even now, there is pretty good coverage (though it's firm). Without new snow, Squaw gets very bumped out. Squaw will have the main "Mt. Run" groomed (an intermediate trail that everything on the front side funnels into so it becomes a freeway), then also one or two runs on Shirley and on Red Dog will be groomed. Not much other than that. If you want good groomed intimidate runs, Northstar and Heavenly are probably your best bets.

The pitch you mentioned would probably be a single black diamond in Tahoe, but off-piste conditions (depending on recent weather) can make it more challenging than that implies. Whether you find moguls, powder, or crud is dependent on whether it has snowed recently, has been a constant cold temp, or has been going through a daytime thaw/nighttime freeze cycle -- so I can't predict that for you.

The in-bounds hikes that I think you are referring to at Alpine and Squaw typically get you to the steepest terrain, and they are very short hikes (most about 5 minutes). If you want steeps, they are some of your best bets. But you never "have to" hike, there's plenty of good stuff you can get to without it.
post #3 of 4
Come on AC, 37.5 degrees is steep where ever you are and will most likely be labeled a double diamond whether your in Tahoe or NY. Granted, upper 30's are boarderline but on most trail maps, even in the West, you'll see two diamonds for these slopes. I guess it doesn't matter at Squaw since, like Alta, they don't use double diamonds. However, some of the black chutes I've skied on KT22, Broken Arrow, and Silverado are in the upper 30 to lower 40 range. Plenty steep enough for most of us and enough to warrant two diamonds in most if not all Western resorts including Squaw and Alta if they chose to.
post #4 of 4
Its not too bad, really:

With the clear nights the last week, they've been making a helluva lot of snow, and the coverage is better than you'd expect, more than 2 weeks ago. Really not bad. Especially if you catch a day where it doesn't go above freezing by noon (last friday it was nearly zero, centigrade, never got to 25). There's been a couple inches here and there, and the artificial stuff provides a fair base.

There are some ice patches, so keep an eye out, and a couple runs around that are nothing but ice. The ungroomed mogul are pretty bad.....dude. Other than the gunbarrel at heavenly, which they spray a couple inches of fresh snow every nite, I avoid the ice humps.

Weather pattern has just changed - - - end of february should be pretty good, I think, I hope.
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