This report was written by Claire Weiss (1/18) and Jason Dobbs (1/19).
The groomers were where it was at as we took advantage of the soft, spring-like conditions, which had people skiing in t-shirts. The forecast is good, though, with the potential for up to 20” of fresh snow over the next few days.
1/18: Anticipating the firm trails in the morning, we came to Alpine in the afternoon and parked near the lodge. It was overcast, and the sun was breaking through the clouds from time to time. The day was calm and warm and felt more like a spring than a winter. We noticed a few people skiing and shredding in t-shirts.
We started from Roundhouse. Yesterday was quite warm in the afternoon, so the melt-freeze cycle kicked in and led to a firm surface on the trails in the morning.
Tuesday’s storm system was warmer than expected, and instead of fluffy snow, it brought some rain to the low part of the mountains. That definitely affected the snow off-piste. So, we decided to start with the groomers.
The Dance Floor and Charity were really soft and skied like butter. In gastronomic terms, the snow this afternoon was more like mashed potatoes. Some people were comparing it to cream cheese. The melting was just right, and it was super fun skiing today.
After a few laps on Roundhouse, we hopped on the Summit chair and ventured to Wolverine Bowl. This area is not groomed and has nice small moguls. I bet they were very firm in the morning but had softened up enough by the time we went there.
The sunset painted the low sky at the top of Summit with fiery reds, setting a dramatic display of colors.
We did a few laps in Wolverine Bowl, alternating between The Face and Werner Schuss. Both trails were really nice, with few moguls. The upper section of the Alpine Bowl was a bit bumpy, but the rest was skiing nicely. The Palisades side didn’t get much traffic and looked very spicy in the afternoon. It was hard to see the bumps due to the flat light in that area, so we skipped it.
By the end of the day, the sun had completely disappeared into the clouds, and flat light covered the upper mountain. It was not easy to navigate the moguls, and we went back to Roundhouse.
Another storm system is coming Friday night, and hopefully, it will be cold enough to soften the upper mountain and bring good fluffy snow. Opensnow forecasts for about 20 inches of snowfall for the next three days. Get your powder skis and boards and be ready for the powder day. Don’t forget to make a parking reservation or use TART or Park and Ride to get to the mountains. Have fun up there!
1/19: Today, we set up a two-day freeride competition for the weekend, where Tahoe Freeride juniors will throw down in TJFS Stop #2 on Enchanted Forest. Setting up for a competition, we don’t get to play the whole mountain, but we get to know one particular zone very well. Very, very well. Today was a lesson in metamorphosis, as the day started with a frozen-over surface. There was a little air in the snow, so it had some forgiveness, fortunately, though it was far from a cushion. In conditions like this, I opt for groomers or straightforward off-piste slopes without exposure or bumps.
By noon, the surface had softened enough to take an edge, but it wasn’t full-speed skiing. Had the sun been on it, the visibility alone would have boosted confidence, but a silver sky kept vision pretty flat. It started to change over, though, and allowed for some breaking through by early afternoon. Then, oddly, even though I started to get chilly (being underdressed of my own taking) as we neared the 3:00 shadows, the snow approached a slushy quality that became pretty fun for ‘slarving’.
As conditions go, I’ve skied better, and I’ve skied worse. Fortunately, the forecast hints at delivering a nice week ahead. We’re hoping for snow, but the temps teeter between snow and clear snow (which you might call rain.)
Either way, come on out and poke around. The mountain should be improving by the day, and when you’re ready for a short break, come watch the skillful action from the 12-18-year-olds. The finish corral will be at the bottom of KT Saddle, right before it joins Mountain Run.