In our lightest layers, we arrived at Palisades Tahoe late this morning as the temperature climbed well into the 50s under sunny skies. You couldn’t tell from the parking lot, but blustery ridge winds were interfering with lift operations on the upper mountain. We made the mistake of not checking our Palisades Tahoe App (download it in the App Store!) for the latest lift and terrain updates and loaded the Funitel to head over to Granite Chief.
We soon found that Granite Chief wasn’t running, so we loaded Shirley for another run. Shirley was soft and slushy, although not as sticky as South-facing terrain that bakes in the sunshine all day long. We made a brief attempt to start out the snake run you’ll often begin to see this time of year looker’s left of Shirley Express before deciding to traverse across the ridge above Shirley to Solitude.
Solitude, much like any other off-piste terrain, was tricky today. Steeper sections and shady areas stayed fast enough, but any flat or sun-exposed areas became incredibly sticky by midday. The variable snow conditions made it difficult to hit anything confidently – I hit one roller right under the chair and went flying over the handlebars upon landing in the soft, sticky snow below. Later on the same run, I miscalculated the snow again and slid out backseat following a small cliff drop – it was just that kind of day on Solitude.
With bruised egos, we made our way over to Siberia Express, which we also found sitting dormant (seriously, download the Palisades Tahoe App). Instead, we followed Mountain Run down to Headwall express for a few afternoon runs down Chicken Bowl to Newport, continuing to Mountain Run. Despite the snow becoming increasingly slow, these were some of the best runs of the day with very sparsely tracked corduroy under the idle Siberia Express chair. Mountain Run, per usual, was loaded with side hits that kept the fun coming all the way to the bottom of Headwall Express.
After a few Headwall runs, we decided to call it a day and head down to Rocker for some après. Tonight’s low will hover right around freezing, meaning today’s slush won’t turn to hardpack overnight. It’s not a bad idea to throw a heavy coat of wax on your skis or board and get to the mountain early tomorrow. We should start the day off with soft conditions, becoming even softer (and slower) as the day continues with sunny skies and a high reaching about 60º.