Perfect powder and great groomers made for an awesome couple of days at Palisades Tahoe this week.
Reported by Rene Jerez.
Thursday was a good day to be on the mountain! Temps were in the 30s, with one inch of fresh snow at higher elevations, partly cloudy skies and sun, and the sunlight throughout the day was excellent for photography. I started my day with a run down Saddle and Saddle Bowl off of KT-22. It was a bit icy at spots, so once I got back to the base, I immediately headed up to the upper mountain, figuring the snow would be much softer. I turned out to be correct when I made my ascent to the top of Gold Coast, as Mystery and Gold Face were a blast to shred down, with both runs featuring packed powder with no ice patches in sight. Gold Coast Face had some seriously steep sections you could pick up some great speed on. The groomers, too, at Gold Coast were in great shape.
I spent a good bit of time in Belmont Park working on my jumps and grinds. The park crew has added more features, and there’s now a dedicated section just for intermediate to advanced grind boxes. Hopefully, with more snow coming in the February forecast, the park crew can continue expanding and offering more features. After my final park lap, I headed down to the Siberia chair and was stoked that the Packers trail was open for the season. There was a ton of fresh pow in that part of the upper mountain, and I could lay down some fresh lines. As a heads up, coverage in Packer’s is still a bit patchy and is definitely for advanced skiers and experts.
Siberia Bowl looked steep and icy when I got to the upper part of the lift line, so I played it safe and rode down the ridge. Looking down from the ridge was absolutely gorgeous, and by this time of day, all over the resort, snow began to soften up and became a lot nicer. Shirley Lake on Thursday had a delayed opening and was finally open, so I headed over there from Siberia Ridge. Shirley Bowl was on fire on Thursday, with tons of fast skiing/snowboarding and excellent coverage. After riding down to the Shirley Chair, I rode Granite Chief up and headed down via Paradise Alley. That area of the mountain right now is very much expert-only and is steep and mogul-filled. After returning to the bottom of Shirley Lake, I took a break for lunch.
After taking a nice break at the base, I spent the rest of my afternoon working further on my park laps, and I did multiple Mountain Run laps down to the base. There’s enough coverage now that the Summer Road and Sunnyside trails are entirely open, and I find Sunnyside is an excellent alternative to Mountain Run to get back to the base lodge due to the lack of crowds.
On Friday, conditions were the opposite of Thursday, with total cloud cover and a wet fog limiting visibility at the Upper Mountain. Because of that, I decided to play it extra safe and spend my time on the mountain on-piste. The temps were great throughout the day, and there was little wind. I started my day off with laps down from the Gold Coast chair and then switched it up to a run-down Emigrant Face now that the Emigrant chair has opened for the season. Emigrant Face was a bit crunchy, but I loved it, and there wasn’t any ice. I did more laps down from the Gold Coast chair and then rode up to Siberia. Visibility wasn’t too good there, and the light was flat, so I didn’t want to risk falling down Siberia, so I stuck to the ridge again, but rather than going to my usual go-to of Shirley Bowl, rode down Marillac’s and Reuter’s down to the Solitude chair where there wasn’t any fog and visibility much better in addition to super soft snow. Solitude is a great area that more guests need to check out, and it never seems to get too tracked out.
After riding Solitude back up to the top, I immediately headed back down to the return, but this time via Rainbow Bowl. The bowl is in fantastic shape this season, and the snow down the ridge is in great shape; just like in Shirley Bowl, the geography and trees of Solitude help protect the snow from the wind and sun. After returning to High Camp, I shredded in Bailey’s Beach to bring it back to the Gold Coast for more laps down Mystery and Emigrant Gully. One aspect of Bailey’s Beach I love that is entirely unique to Palisades is how open and reminiscent of the terrain at ski resorts in the Alps, which you can’t find anywhere else in North America. Since the fog was getting stronger and visibility was getting more impaired, I spent the rest of my day doing more park laps and a few more laps down to the base and back via Sunnyside.
Now that coverage has improved, and after improved snowfall, the winter in Tahoe is more firmly in the swing. With partly cloudy skies in the forecast for the weekend and an atmospheric river coming through the Sierra next week, now is a great time to come up to Palisades to get those turns in!