State of the Backcountry 10 by Brennan Lagasse

State of the Backcountry 10 by Brennan Lagasse


State of the Backcountry 10 by Brennan Lagasse



in it

Last week we saw pretty similar weather with some late season powder skiing early in the week, and corn conditions in full effect by the weekend. In general, the greater Tahoe backcountry still has solid coverage at higher elevations, and porn snow is definitely lurking above 9000 feet on north facing shots. Turns after noon (even some north aspects) have been manky warranting an earlier call to get the prime corn, but it’s almost May so that’s nothing unusual. But that really doesn’t matter this mid week as we‘ll get to chase a little more pow, again, then you’ll be able to reap some more of that Grade A Sierra corn in a few more days.

I’d be nice if I could get after some more corn, I’ve had a blast chasing the goods around again this year, but I’m headed to Alaska for an alternate adventure at the end of the week. For the month of May myself, three of Tahoe City’s finest from Alpen Glow Sports, Jeff Dostie, Brenden Madigan, and Ryan McAuliffe, as well as Points North Heli Guide Ming Poon, will be heading to Denali National Park in Alaska. Our goal is to ski from the summit at 20,320 feet, North America’s highest, as well as tag any other skiable lines that are in while we’re there. We have high hopes for the trip, and we’re all super excited to make a solid push. If you want to check in on our progress, I’ve been told Alpen Glow’s blog may have updates on our progress through a “Spot” tracker. Check it out if you feel so inclined, (

Currently, Ming is already up in the park with Points North ski guide and all around local shredder Kip Garre. They’re attempting to be the second party to log a successful descent of Mt. Hunter, one of “The Big Three” of the Alaskan Range (Denali, Foraker, Hunter). For Kip it’ll be a link-up of turns on all three (including a first descent on Mt. Foraker), and for Ming, it will be a first snowboard descent. Send them some good vibes as I’m sure they’re gonna crush it and have some great stories to tell when they get home.
looking good

Back to our local scene, although I’m so excited to make this dream trip to Denali with such an awesome crew of rippers, I know what’s being left behind will be an all-time spring season for anyone willing to go for a walk. It’s been a solid 500+inch year, and from my trips down south in the past few weeks, conditions up high are looking really good. Add some more precipitation this week, then some sun, and May is really going to be prime-time if you want to get some. Whether you want to tag something deep in Desolation, or hit one of the many epic line south Of Mammoth, the High Sierra will be going off this May.

3 pill skin in

Last week I made it down to the Eastside for one last hit on the Dana Plateau. While my crew and I were bummed to find the Whoa Nellie Deli was still closed at the Tioga Mobil Mart, we were stoked to catch the Third Pillar couloir in mostly powder. Well, the top was somewhat wind scoured from some strong NE winds, but most of the top rode soft on the riders left, and the rock choke was easy enough to either air a few feet into some soft powder, or point it down a small snow ribbon on the riders left. Either way, as I shared last week, if you have any inclination to hit Dana Plateau, or the Dana proper lines when the road opens to the pass, this May will be your ticket.

A few parting words as this epic season continues. When you start heading out after this next storm, don’t forget to invest in skin wax. There’s been days when my whole session has been totally funked because the glopping was so bad I could barely keep skinning. Skin wax will save you a needless headache, trust me, it’s only a few bucks and you and your partners will be thankful you have it. And remember as more storms come in during the next few weeks the sun will bake things quickly. Get out there early and if you’re going big stay off steeper terrain as snow becomes saturated during the melting process. The best corn will take a transition period to really shape up and give you what you’re looking for, so be patient and stay motivated, and you’ll be sure to get what you’re looking for.

Thanks again for checking in with the State of our Backcountry during this skiing and riding season. Have fun ticking off some sick lines this late spring, and I hope to be able to share some epic tales from the “the Great One” when I get back. Actually, by the time I get back, Mt. Shasta may still be prime for some even later season fun. Don’t let this couple-of-hour-drive (4-ish from Squaw) classic fall too far off your radar. This is one of the most amazing mountains on the planet, and I’ve had some of my best corn runs here well into June, even into July, and I’m sure it’ll be offering some fun turns for at least another month or so (
Maybe I’ll catch you up there this June, and in the meantime, have fun gettin’ some!

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