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How true is the term "Sierra Cement"?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I have never skied in California and was wondering (after all their snow this season) how the heavy their snow (on average) really is.

post #2 of 15

Kids in Tahoe-area schools are allowed to throw rocks at each other, but not snowballs because they hurt too much (so I've heard).
 

post #3 of 15
If the storm slides down from Alaska the snow will be pretty dry, but if you get a pineapple express straight from the Pacific it's going to have a lot more water content. It makes the best corn snow in spring, but it can be very heavy before then. You just don't know what you will find until you get up to the mountains.

It's fun enough to ski, just not Northern Rocky light. After a few days it can get pretty heavy as it settles, gives your legs a workout.
post #4 of 15

It just depends on the storm. Right now the snow is great. But it can get heavy around here. And yes, the corn here in the spring is epic.

post #5 of 15

Just get here in the next couple of weeks...................No cement here now!.......Don't do the cement. It's over-rated. biggrin.gif

post #6 of 15

The water content really does make fresh powder, usually, heavier than snow that falls further east. There is the occasional storm that brings colder, drier powder, but heavier and wetter is more the norm. However, it really only is an issue for the first couple of untracked runs one might be lucky enough to get on any given powder morning. It does take some getting used to, but it still beats a day at the office. It also is worth noting that packed powder is packed powder no matter where you are, and groomed Sierra Cement skis much the same as groomed snow anywhere else. My schedule has not allowed me to get up to try out the epic conditions that Mammoth has had for the last couple of weeks but I hope to find out whether or not my new (Armada) JJs are a cure for the "Cement" sometime soon.

post #7 of 15

Sierra Cement seems to come in two forms: wet and cured.  I don't mind the wet form too much, until it becomes sticky mashed potatoes, but I find the frozen, hard, rutted stuff to be a pain until groomed.

 

To me, complaining about the water content of fresh snow is like turning one's nose up at a New York strip because it's not filet mignon.

post #8 of 15

Mammoth Mountain is significantly higher elevation than the Tahoe mountains.  I've skied there for 15 years and have rarely encountered cement-like conditions.  It's not Utah, but it's still pretty darn good.  Mammoth is a wonderful mountain, but it's hard to get to.

post #9 of 15

In the few weeks I was here last year and the 12 days I have on snow this season, I have yet to experience it. 

post #10 of 15

I have recently analyzed the distribution of water content (Alta, Mammoth and Mt. Mansfield) in snow here: http://bestsnow.net/snoqlnet.htm

 

Fat/rockered skis have made high water content untracked snow a non-issue IMHO.  Chopped up snow is still quite a bit more work when it's high density.  As a regular Mammoth skier I love the place but must disagree with pvonhaam.  The upper mountain gets a lot of wind, which can make the powder far more difficult than the 12.9% average water content does. 

 

I agree with the comments about groomed snow.  The high water content is also desirable for maintaining cover on steep terrain, Squaw Valley being the prime example.  It also piles up a deep base that allows us to ski at Mammoth to Memorial Day in mediocre years and 4th of July in good years.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 1/1/11 at 8:17pm
post #11 of 15

Get the skis tuned. More snow on the way.

post #12 of 15


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

I have recently analyzed the distribution of water content (Alta, Mammoth and Mt. Mansfield) in snow here: http://bestsnow.net/snoqlnet.htm

 

Fat/rockered skis have made high water content untracked snow a non-issue IMHO.  Chopped up snow is still quite a bit more work when it's high density.  As a regular Mammoth skier I love the place but must disagree with pvonhaam.  The upper mountain gets a lot of wind, which can make the powder far more difficult than the 12.9% average water content does. 

 

I agree with the comments about groomed snow.  The high water content is also desirable for maintaining cover on steep terrain, Squaw Valley being the prime example.  It also piles up a deep base that allows us to ski at Mammoth to Memorial Day in mediocre years and 4th of July in good years.


 

 

haha so california skiers should come to vermont to experience lighter snow. Well as long as its not raining!

 

 

post #13 of 15

Its awful.......stay away biggrin.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But if you do happen to make a trip to Tahoe, stop by Start Haus and say hi smile.gif

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post


Fat/rockered skis have made high water content untracked snow a non-issue IMHO.  Chopped up snow is still quite a bit more work when it's high density. 

I agree with Tony.  If you have big wide skis the higher water content snow is fun.

 

 

Sierra Cement is not the typical snow in Tahoe.   It happens during wetter/warmer storms when the snow level is close to the bases of the ski areas. Some year we get a lot, some years a little. There is a pretty big range between UT blower and true Sierra Cement.   In my experience, most Tahoe storms fall in the middle between the two.

 

 

Tahoe also experiences very high winds leading to "Wind Bluffed" snow which is smooth and very fast.   Very fun skiing.

post #15 of 15

Lake Tahoe snow is around a 12% water density, while Utah has 7%* or less H20 density in their snow. OK, Utah has the "Greatest Snow on Earth."   But is Cal/Nev's snow cement?  Not with wider skis. They both work for me!

 

*These are Utah's advertising and UT ski resort claims, not Tony Crocker's.

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