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State of the Tahoe Backcountry 2014: IV | Sponsored by Alpenglow Sports

With our lack of precipitation thus far this season, a tight, skiable corridor like this is a score.

With Tahoe’s current lack of snow, a tight, skiable corridor like this is a score.

Do you enjoy long walks in the mountains? If so, you’re in luck because if you want to slide on anything resembling snow in the Sierra, you’re going to have to work for it. As crazy as it may sound to some, there are panels of recrystallized powder strewn about the Sierra Crest. From the most northern reaches of our greater forecast area down to the south, it’s out there, and it’s fun. The question is, do you  really want to search for it?

Jillian Raymond gets her bootpack on with a little extra spice thanks  to a very thin local snowpack.

Jillian Raymond gets her bootpack on with a little extra spice thanks to a very thin local snowpack.

If you do, thin cover is obviously dominating. The Sierra Avalanche Center (SAC) continues to offer advisories even though our current state is so dry. Although instability issues may not be at the forefront of your mind now, it’s going to snow again, and it’s always good to keep familiar with the current happenings of our snowpack. No one will clue you in and keep you sharp as well as SAC. I agree that what we’re dealing with right now is unfortunate, but as the photos in this piece speak to, there is fun to be had out there if you’re willing to deal with minimal diversity of terrain selection, sparse coverage, and greater effort in terms of access to good turns.

Seth Lightcap enjoys a slash of the best available carpet in the area.

Seth Lightcap enjoys a slash of the best available carpet in the area.

Exploring the backyard always leads to a new line to experience, like this fun pointer...

Exploring the backyard often leads to new lines to experience, like this fun pointer…

and in

and this surfy tube.

If you’re not willing to adventure out for turns you have two prime options. One is to practice patience for the snow, and get out on one of the number of other adventures folks in our outdoor community have been tapping into as a result of the poor snowfall. There’s  quality ice climbing to be had in sheltered nooks, swell has been lighting up the coast over the past couple of weeks, and mountain bikers have been fired up on the conditions in Nevada City and the Foothill region.  People are rock climbing, ice skating and generally seeking out whatever they can to distract themselves from the lack of white stuff on the ground.

Ice climbers sending, high on the Sierra Crest.

An ice climber sends high on the Sierra Crest.

The last option is to get out of town, asap, and  make the most of the storms that are impacting the American West, Western Canada, and outside of North America. If you haven’t already noticed, a good number of locals have been heading out of town, chasing whatever storm they can. I’m in full support of doing whatever one needs to do in order to maintain a sense of stoke while we deal with these drought conditions.

The Matterhorn and the Sawtooth Ridge, Eastern Sierra, CA

The Sawtooth Ridge, Eastern Sierra, CA

We are due to get a few inches of new snow over the next couple of days, but we all know a few feet or more is  what’s really needed. In the meantime, make your sacrifices, do your dances and stay sane. It’s gonna come around at some point, and the best of the best is worth waiting for, so don’t get down on the lowly snowpack and make the most of what’s out there.

Exploring for shredability in the Eastern Sierra. Photo: Jules Hanna

Exploring for shredability in the Eastern Sierra. Photo: Jules Hanna

Even with such a sparse snowpack, a few turns in the Range of Light is always  worthy.

Even with such a sparse snowpack, a few turns in the Range of Light is always worthy.

Jules Hanna threads a soft sliver of old Sierra pow outside of Bridgeport, CA.

Jules Hanna threads a soft sliver of old Sierra powder outside of Bridgeport, CA.

“State of the Backcountry” is sponsored by Alpenglow Sports. Established in 1979, Alpenglow Sports is Tahoe City’s original mountain shop. Specializing in Backcountry and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, trail running, backpacking, hiking, camping, and the mountain lifestyle apparel, Alpenglow is always psyched to offer premier user-based customer service.

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You can check out more “State of the Backcountry” reports through its Facebook page and website.

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Logo created by Mountain Town Media 

Previous “State of the Backcountry” Reports from the 2013-2014 season:

Edition I

Edition II

Edition III

 

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