Today was awesome to hit the mountain, and I’m totally looking forward to coming back up to Tahoe to get in more fun in this totally epic winter that the Sierras have been experiencing
Reported by Rene Jerez
The conditions today were very similar to yesterday, but with a bit stronger wind! When I got to the base of Palisades from Reno, the temperature was a cold 25 degrees which felt great on my face when I was getting ready at my car. The sky was partly clear, with a few clouds here and there, which meant it would be a total sunblock day. Thankfully though, I skated by wearing my cloudy day goggles.
I started the day off with a ride up on the Funitel for my obligatory mountain run lap down the mountain. For this variation, I hit Morning Side when I had the opportunity to get in some shredding on the little bowls that dot the trail. The snow was in excellent shape despite being windy yesterday and today, and there were fresh deposits of wind buff that Mother Nature had moved around. I’ve loved how dry the snow this week, and today was no exception.
After my Mountain Run lap, I did two laps down KT-22 via the Saddle trail. Unfortunately, due to the wind, parts of Saddle were pretty wind struck and were getting icy, but closer to the bottom of the trail, the conditions were more wind guarded, and the snow was a lot better. After my second lap, I considered going over to Alpine via the base-to-base gondola, but I was worried about getting stuck over there due to a wind hold and wanted to make the most of my time, which meant hitting up Shirley Lake again!
Shirley Lake was just as fantastic today as it was yesterday. The snow was still in excellent shape, and like with portions of Mountain Run and Morning Side, there were fresh pockets of wind buff which were an absolute pleasure to shred over. The best snow off of the Shirley Lake Chair was found on the Shirley Bowl trail, and I was stoked to see that the recent grooming still resulted in the run being evened out. I got in quite a few laps but was getting a bit bored so I decided it was time to check out the Granite Chief chair.
Granite Chief was the absolute highlight of my day on the mountain. The conditions at the top were excellent and were pretty free of ice and crud. I did a lot of laps going down both Crook’s Gulch and Main Backside, and I was stoked to see that the groomers had smoothed this area out, and it was mogul-free. The terrain off of the Granite Chief chair heavily reminds me of Deer Bowl and the terrain at June Mountain in the Eastern Sierras. I definitely can’t wait to get my skill level up to where I can safely and adequately shred in the trees and gnarly terrain you find around Magoo’s and the Black Forest area of the Shirley Lake/Granite Chief part of Palisades.
After taking a nice and mellow lunch break, I headed back up to the top of Palisades via the Funi and headed right back to Granite Chief and Shirley Lake for my afternoon session. The snow was even more fun to ride on than a few hours earlier, and I had a massive smile on my face doing lap after lap back into the bowl. Once it was getting closer to 3 pm though, I didn’t want to get caught when the lifts stopped early there and capped my day off with runs down Mountain Run and Morning Side. During these last runs, I focused a lot on riding switch as I’ve found the mellower parts of Mountain Run near the base to be a great location to bone up in that area.