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Alpine Meadows, Sunday Dec. 10th, 2006

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I finally broke down, got off my lazy bum, and trekked to Tahoe this weekend.

Initial plan was to leave early afternoon Friday. As is often the case with my job, that was not to be the case. Got stuck at work until 6:30. Luckily I'd loaded the truck in the morning with the soft goods (clothes, sleeping bag, etc) so all I had to do was swing back by the house and grab the skis (shoved 4 pairs into the cab of the truck because I haven't bought a shell yet and was taking one pair up to get mounted, grabbing the bindings off the other pair, had another pair to possibly get mounted. 4th pair were for riding). Make a quick stop at a local shop to pick up some cheap Look P12 bindings and then crossed the GG Bridge.

It was raining pretty damn hard all the way up to Davis, where I made a quick stop for some Del Taco (I avoid fast food for the most part, but the drive up to Tahoe makes it somewhat impossible unless you pack your own grub for the ride).

It began snowing pretty solidly around Kingvale and it was sticking to the ground, which was a good sign. No chain requirments were in effect, but the CalTrans plows were out in force and I pulled to the side and popped into 4x4, just in case. By the time I got to our cabin, there was a nice burm blocking the driveway from the local plows. Good sign.

Sadly, Saturday morning it was clear and any snow that had been on the ground had long since melted, turning to slushy ice. Nixed skiing and went to b-fast with a local buddy (our topic of b-fast discussion was how we should have made a Thanksgiving trip to Bachelor and idly discussing trips to Alaska, Montana, and Europe this season). Then took a pair of skis to Tahoe City Porter's to get mounted. Visited all the other local ski shops looking for deals on gear. Start Haus bummed me out as their website listed some incredible deals on Salomon bindings from last season. Yet when I got to the shop they promptly told me all the bindings were long gone. HELLO! How frickin' hard is it to update your site? Since I was there I tried on a few helmets (learned that even though the POC helmets look kinda sweet, they're made for mutants with completely round heads!). Finally saw the Armada ARG up close and personal at the Truckee Porters. Had the guy at Alpenglow in TC offer to call the Rossi rep and see if he'd set me up with some Sick Bird demos (I am continually amazed at how cool people can be, even if you're just window shopping).

Laid low Saturday night and watched Ginger Snaps: The Beginning. Crap. Don't bother putting it in your Netflix any time soon (sorry, I'm an O.G. horror film geek). Obviously it started snowing late Sat/early Sunday cuz when I got up there was about 5" of fresh on the deck and in the driveway. I suited up, drove to TC to grab my boots from the shop, and hit Alpine Meadows.

I was a little bummed that they were charging full price (even though their $46 lift ticket is the cheapest in Tahoe, they only had 1 lift running for non-beginners). The coverage at both AM and Squaw is crappy-crap. Trees, shrubs, rocks, all kinds of stuff showing. The snow coverage all around the Truckee/Tahoe City area is pretty sparse, as well.

At any rate, buoyed by the "fresh" and the fact that it was still lightly snowing, I plunked down the cash and hopped on the Roundhouse lift. A guy two chairs in front of me was rocking some Spatulas (those were the skis I was having mounted at Porter's) and I caught up to him at the top of the lift. He revealed that they were now his rock powder skis and commended me on leaving my brand new pair back at the shop. I followed him over to Waterfall. The snow along the traverse was silky and bode well.

Ah, how looks can be decieving. I turned into WF and first turn was silk, second I hit a sheet of rock and heard that sickening sound of my bases being cheddared. Next turn was silk, followed by rock. I stopped, scoped out the run, and opted to ski the shrubs, figuring that they'd do less damage. Cherry picked my way down and ended up waist deep in shrubs and weeds before finally crossing back over to the "groomed" run out.

On my second run I nixed any further over-zealous notions of going "off-piste" and opted to take the run under the lift. Bad Move #2, is what this was. This run was a total mine field of hidden rocks. I'd turn, then hit a rock, turn, hit a rock, turn, rock...I made about 4 turns and finally hit a rock head on, punted over the handlebars and popped out of my right ski. I looked back up the hill and it was dotted with folks who were doing the same thing. Looked down the hill and saw even more folks strewn about. Clicked back in and cherry picked my way down, avoiding the guy who was sitting holding a broken arm!!!

2 runs down, nice gouges made to the bottom of my almost pristine Karmas, I decided it was time to ski where everybody else was skiing. I must admit that I never remember the names of runs. I just ski. The main run that was open and clear of obstacles was to the left of the lift or skiers right as you came off the lift and rounded the crest to hit it. I hit this run 4 times before getting bored. The snow was great, but it's a mellow run and was a bit overcrowded since it was the only run sure to provide an uninterrupted ride.

Funny enough, on my first trip down the groomer, I stopped off to the side. 3 twin twip rippers came up behind me, higher up on the side. I heard the sharp scrapping as they hit rock after rock and they finally stopped just above me, spewing expletives. Then one looked down at me and asked "Are those the new Made 'N AK's?" To which I replied "Nope, last year's Karmas." To which he responded "Sick." They asked where was good to ski and I said this is it, pointing to the right and the groomer. "I rode Waterfall first thing and it was nothing but rocks and shrubs. I put some nice gouges in my bases, for sure."
"Bummer" was the reply. I then offered up the suggestion to avoid the run under the lift. "Too late, man," they laughed. "We hit that first run and hit every rock there was. We must be following your lead!" With that they took off, hitting more rocks and letting loose with more expletives followed by laughter. I followed suit, albeit given that I was a few feet down the slope from them, I avoided any of the hidden chunkers that they were bombing over.

To give you an even better idea of the conditions, I ran into a guy riding a pair of Praxis skis. These are some new powder planks made in Tahoe. I asked him how he was digging them and he replied with a laugh, "I'm out here doing durability testing!" He picked the perfect day for it, that's for sure, as there were ample rocks, trees, shrubs, logs, and other debris just waiting to grab a chunk out of anybody's bases.

I cashed out at about 12:15, after only about 6 runs total. I skied all the way to my truck, since there was enough coverage on the parking lot surface and I wasn't going to do any more damage than had already been done to my edges and bases already.

All in all the day reminded me why I usually wait until a few serious storms have hit the area before laying into my first turns of the season.

The day also hipped me to the fact that I need a pair of dedicated rock skis if I'm to continue riding early season.
post #2 of 9
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
The day also hipped me to the fact that I need a pair of dedicated rock skis if I'm to continue riding early season.
Sounds like you just got a pair.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
I may very well have!

I checked 'em last night and the damage wasn't too bad. Some scraps, a few shallow gouged, and some nicks to the edges. No core shots (I learned my lesson quick after that run down Waterfall and the "mine field").

post #4 of 9
I was the guy on the lift laughing at you and all the other folks who got sucked in by the looks of the off-piste. I knew it was all rocks. I stuck to riding the one groomer off roundhouse all day and quit around 2. I was on my rock board, but still, there's no reason to put a core shot in a board that still performs plenty well even after 120+ days of carving. Plus, hitting a submerged stump is not my idea of fun on my 3rd day of the season.

Pray for more snow.

Oh, and I blew off Saturday too. Partly because I knew it would suck, and partly because I had a very successful second date Friday night and that was more appealing on Saturday morning than driving to Alpine.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
thanks for laughing.
post #6 of 9
Just so you know who's laughing, Sinecure is the beanie on top of Soul Skier's head.

If you want to pick him out in a crowd, look for this guy:

And if you need a good laugh yourself, here is Sinecure taking it in the face on Palisades. Now you know why he gets a laugh in when he can, and why I will never ride a snowboard!. Also, for the helmet haters, check it out!

Oh, and like any trip report, this thread is worthless without pictures, so here's a picture of me doing my version of the Palisades Shuffle at Alpine last May.

Of course none of these archive photos would be needed if only WE HAD JUST ENOUGH SNOW TO SKI!
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Ah, Mickey's...brings me back to the good old 40 chugging college days.

CR, thanks for the pix. Now I know who to laugh at on the hill!

post #8 of 9
Great pics of me. I love the one 666 took of me crashing. That was Beaver or Estelle, not Palisades. I missed my 1st toe-side edge-set when I dropped off the cornice and it was all over. I tumbled a good 200yds down the hill. The cool thing is how deep the snow must be. That board is 180cm and its in all the way to my front boot. One of my better crashes.

Oh, but I've shaved the beard for this season. Otherwise I still look the same.

Dookey knows me, he just didn't know my Epic Alias.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
definitely looking forward to slugging down some MBM's and falling down the Palisades with some of you folks now.
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