Mid-season conditions, but in December.
This blog post was written by Rene Jerez.
Today I decided to head to the Olympic Valley side of Palisades to kick off my three-day pre-Christmas Tahoe trip. The weather this morning driving up was cold, but crisp with lots of fog on the highway. It heavily reminded me of cutting my teeth snowboarding in the San Gabriel mountains of Southern California, as the ski resorts in those mountains get blanketed in fog layers. I was eager to get up to Palisades as I was itching to get my fix in and to try to catch as much of the snow from last week’s storm when it was still fresh. The weather today at the resort seemed to stay in the 30s and it was slightly overcast, so I had to use my cloudy-day goggles.
I was not disappointed at all with any of the trails I picked today! I decided to kick things off with two runs going down the mountain run trail from the Funitel to make sure everything on my board was in order. The snow on Mountain Run from morning to afternoon was completely perfect and last week’s fresh snow was turning into a hardpack sprinkled with freshly scraped snow and wind buff that was just absolutely pleasurable to shred down!
After my warm-up runs down Mountain Run I decided for today I’ll do laps down the Saddle and Saddle Face trails again. It’s still relatively early in the season (In spite of the awesome conditions right now!) so I don’t want to push it too hard, so I figured doing tried and true trails I’ve done in the past would be a good course of action. The snow down Saddle Face was stupendous, with pockets of wind buff that felt so great to hit. I’m a big wind buff guy being a former Mammoth Mountain regular, and Palisades Tahoe on both the Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows side are no slouches in this department, especially with the fast winds both mountains are famous for. The hard pack on Saddle Face was perfect for hitting high speeds and sharp carves down the mountain. Even more awesome was the lack of lines to get back up to the mothership, and how many great photos I was able to snap on my laps. Palisades has the best and cutest ski patrol dogs!
After spending a good hour with my KT laps I decided to switch things up once again and go to the Siberia Express chair. Siberia Ridge had lots of wind buff, and there were barely any areas scratched completely bare of snow. Like with KT22 and Mountain Run I never came across any ice patches and the snow off-piste was still relatively soft. The weather we’ve been experiencing since the storm last week has been incredibly favorable by keeping conditions nice.
After enjoying my lunch and relaxing a bit on my break I decided I’d give Emigrant a shot. Last season I didn’t spend as much time on the terrain from this chair so it was going to be total virgin territory for me. The runs from up here were just amazing for my afternoon session, and like with the other areas I visited today completely free of ice and hazards. I was getting quite the lower body workout shredding down the bumpy terrain on Emigrant Face which was interspaced with fast speeds and sharp carving on the steep parts. The bumps were still super soft and pillow-like with no hard or icy patches! The wind was starting to pick up by this time, and it was doing its magic to help groom the snow for tomorrow. The views from the Monument Ridge trail were spectacular in the late afternoon when the sun was starting to set.
We’re so lucky to be having what are pretty much mid-season conditions in December. The Tahoe area hasn’t seen conditions like this in a while and I’m so stoked for the possible snow shower refresher Palisades may be getting tomorrow night!