I woke up this morning disappointed to hear the sound of rain pattering on the roof of my house in Truckee. I looked out the window and was disappointed again to see no new snow had accumulated overnight before turning to rain in the morning. The day wasn’t off to the start I had hoped for, but I clung to some hope that the rain we were getting in town was coming down as snow up on the mountain.
We arrived at Palisades Tahoe around 10:00am under cloudy gray skies. It wasn’t raining, but the puddles in the parking lot indicated that at least the lower mountain got a bit of rain early this morning as well. We could faintly make out some fresh snow up on KT-22 and the Tram Face, so we shifted our attention to the upper mountain, where we hoped the snow levels stayed low enough for just a few inches of heavy, wet snow.
We loaded the Funitel and set off for Siberia, which climbs up to around 8,500’ elevation. If there was good snow out there, this wasn’t a bad place to start looking. Through the thick fog, we could see tracks zig-zagging through a couple inches of fresh snow. Siberia Bowl looked tracked out, so we unloaded to the right and took Ridge Run to Killy’s. We decided to drop into some untouched snow, which was fun but certainly fell under the category of wet & heavy Sierra cement. You could feel the snow getting stickier and heavier as you descended the run, so we decided to check out Granite Chief to see if a little extra elevation would help our cause.
We made a pass down Solitude before traversing towards the bottom of Granite Chief. Although we weren’t any higher up than our last run from Siberia, the snow wasn’t quite as sticky on the north-facing aspects of Solitude. We came across some nicely refilled trees and rock drops that warmed up our legs nicely in preparation for a few Granite Chief runs.
Granite Chief was absolutely the place to be today. At about 9,000’, it’s some of the highest elevation lift-accessed terrain in Tahoe. With a storm like the one we had last night, that extra elevation can make all the difference—today was no exception. We could feel the difference in the snow immediately, with those first few turns down Hidden Bowl being our best of the day. Like everywhere else, the snow did get heavier further down the run, but it was still plenty soft for us to confidently hit some cliff drops that we haven’t touched in months due to the dry weather.
With our legs quickly fading in the heavy snow, we made our descent down Mountain Run to wrap up the day. The contrast in the snow on Mountain Run compared to Granite Chief was striking—it wasn’t just wet and heavy; it felt like riding over a glue trap. The snow was sticky enough to send you over the handlebars if you weren’t paying attention and made for a sloppy last run.
We’ll have cloudy skies overnight with temps dropping back below freezing. This morning’s wet snow will likely freeze back over, making for a fast and firm start to our day tomorrow. Look for warm temps and sunshine to soften that snow back up through tomorrow morning, providing spring-like conditions by the afternoon.