Conditions were fantastic thanks to the great work done by crews across the mountain – and I even got to ride with Jonny Moseley!
This report was written by Rene Jerez.
Thursday and Friday were on point at Palisades Tahoe this week, and the resort was the perfect place to kick my season off. Thursday morning, temps were in the 40s with no wind, and the sun was shining to help soften the snow and melt away the ice. I decided to start things off and regain my snowboarding legs by doing a warm-up lap down Mountain Run. Despite the slow start to the snow this season, the grooming crew did a fantastic job with what nature has provided (so far – fingers crossed!) in addition to the manmade snow they’ve been blowing. I was blasting through Mountain Run back to the base on a freshly waxed and sharpened board, and the snow wasn’t grabby at all. My second run was even better, and after feeling sufficiently warmed up, I headed over to the Shirley Lake area to scope out how things were doing there. I had so many great days there last season; it felt great to be back.
The runs at Shirley Lake were a bit low tide, but thankfully, it was mostly just grass and not rocks sticking out, so I had no problem riding over them. My best runs were down Shirley Bowl, my steepest trail of the day. It wasn’t too moguled out, and I managed to get down to the Shirley Lake chair and return easily. The Hill’s trail was also a lot of fun, and there were a lot of other skiers and boarders using the Shirley Bowl drop-in to traverse over and hit some of the lower parts of trails that feed in from Granite Chief. Since this was my first day of the season, I didn’t want to push things too hard.
After Shirley Lake, I took some time to work on my riding in the Mountain Meadow area. I love how open that area of the resort is and how it’s reminiscent of Alps-style ski resorts. After a few rides there and a quick Mexican Coke break at Funi’s, I decided to work on my park skills in Belmont Park. Once again, this year, the park crew has done a fantastic job setting up their features, and I can’t wait to see how the park will look in a few weeks when we get more snow. I mainly focused on the smaller ramps and grind boxes they had set up. After getting in my park fix for most of the afternoon, I did a few more Mountain Run laps to finish the day.
For Friday there unfortunately was a wind hold in place for most of the day for the Base to Base Gondola, as my original plan was to go to both the Palisades and Alpine sides on the same day. The temps were even warmer than Thursday, which further helped soften the snow and gave it a spring skiing-like quality. I did my obligatory Mountain Run warm-ups and then headed to the Red Dog area, as the wind affected the Belmont and Siberia chairs.
Red Dog was great! The new Red Dog chairlift installed last season is a seriously nice upgrade compared to how scary the old lift was, and the ride-up is extremely fast. Despite being in the lower mountain area, the snow was holding up well, and the groomer crew did fantastic work. For the snowboarders, there were tons of spots to get in some sweet side hits along the upper part of Champs Elysees, and Red Dog Face was steep and the perfect spot to work on my carving skills. After about 90 minutes of riding there, I returned to the Funitel Plaza to ride with Jonny Moseley.
One of the things I love most about skiing and snowboarding is how accessible and easy it is to meet Olympians face-to-face. Jonny Moseley was friendly, and it was fantastic to see how much he loved interacting with kids and his fans. I was the sole snowboarder in his group, and I stuck with his crew for the first run down Shirley Lake via Marillac’s while he was giving a clinic on how to ski moguls more effectively. If you’re a skier who loves the bumps, that’s the trail to do hot laps down. Jonny is also here at the resort until the 31st, so guests have two more opportunities to meet one of Tahoe’s most famous Olympians.
After riding down Shirley Lake with Jonny Moseley, I spent the rest of the afternoon at Belmont Park and got in more park laps to finish off my day at the resort. It felt so great to continue where I left off last spring, working on my park skills with little to no loss in skill. With snow in the forecast for tonight and Saturday, Palisades should be the perfect place to get in your last turns of 2023 and ring in 2024.
Happy New Year!