While snow levels did finally drop late Sunday, it wasn’t until most of the moisture had passed through our area. However, driving back from Carson Pass on Monday Freel and Job’s Sister looked almost as caked as they did earlier in the month. Knowing the road to Horsethief Canyon would only be open a few more days, I figured Job’s Sister may have enough snow on the North Face for a worthy mission, and if not at least the North Bowl of Freel should be good to go.
For Tuesday’s mission I met up with long time Valley local, GNAR competitor, and Squaw ripper Jaime Blair. Jaime and I headed out early, and from our truck we walked for about 1k vertical feet before skinning. The south aspects had snow, light powder at that, but coverage was much spottier than a few weeks back. It still looked okay for a grand of good turns up top, so we proceed to the notch in between two giants of the Tahoe Basin. Jaime and I noticed a gash of snow that looked skiable from the summit of Freel. While only a few hundred feet higher than the notch, Freel’s summit is usually stripped of snow from heavy wind exposure, but today seemed like a worthy day to take advantage of the snow deposits from north east wind.
The bowl looked good, but we couldn’t tell from the notch whether it was wind hammered or what the discrepancies in snow texture we saw would ski like. The west side of Job’s Sister was bare. It wasn’t looking too good to venture in that direction, so we settled with one of the best views in Tahoe, and some great snow off the top of Freel. It was a few inches of super light powder just thick enough to not hit any rocks underneath. Well, we did scrape a few, but the quality was really above par. The bowl skied better than expected too. Right down the gut was a few inches of dry fluff on top of a bightable slab. We were stoked to be getting a powder day in before Halloween, and we even had another solo tele skier drop in as we were switching back over to skins.
We also found out the discrepancies we had noticed from above were actually sections of exposed ice randomly strewn about the bowl. While easily avoidable, these bad boys signaled it did in fact rain to the top of every peak in the greater Tahoe areas this past weekend. Hopefully the event won’t lead to any issues when and if new snow comes in over the weekend, but a good thing to take note of before the season gets underway.
When we saddled up to ski out the south side, the little ribbons of snow that had looked super manageable on the way up looked a lot more thin on the way down. We were able to ski over a thousand feet before walking back to the truck, but it was definitely adventure skiing and is not recommended for anyone looking to keep their bases clean and smooth. But it was another good day out in our local backcountry for October, with high hopes for many more in the weeks to come.