It's been a great week in the Tahoe backcountry. Powder conditions were solid through the storm cycle and held out through midweek before a turn in the weather brought a bout of warm precipitation that has given way to spring like corn skiing in our greater forecast area. State of the Tahoe Backcountry 2012: III | Sponsored by Cloudveil | Unofficial Networks

State of the Tahoe Backcountry 2012: III | Sponsored by Cloudveil

State of the Tahoe Backcountry 2012: III | Sponsored by Cloudveil

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State of the Tahoe Backcountry 2012: III | Sponsored by Cloudveil

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It’s been a great week in the Tahoe backcountry. Powder conditions were solid through the storm cycle and held out through midweek before a turn in the weather brought a bout of warm precipitation that has given way to spring like corn skiing in our greater forecast area.

The last backcountry conditions report chronicled the glorious return of powder to Tahoe, and spoke to better conditions being found above 8500′ due to high snow levels. At the turn of the week as the storm exited our region there was still a good deal of powder to seek out,

but temperatures spiked and skin wax became an instant necessity when going back and forth between aspect.

North aspects above and around that same elevation mark, 8500′, stayed great to the south of Tahoe. Venturing towards one of the finer backcountry riding peaks in our area, Red Lake Peak, I linked up with my buddy Toby for a few laps that continued to ski like old winter pow. Here at a switchover you can see how our one storm brought a solid spackling to areas to the south of Tahoe, like Ebbett’s Pass and on down to Sonora Pass.

Ski objectives in the Carson Pass zone looked good at the high elevations, such as Elephant’s Back,

and the north facing snow skied perfect for Red Lake Lake Peak- supportable, boot to shin deep, and fast.

This storm also got the cherished West Shore Peaks somewhat going with Jake’s, Bliss, and Rubicon Peaks all getting their first “real” action of the season. It was a joy just to be skinning up and scoping the perfectly spaced trees of Ruby,

while taking in views of Tahoe that never get old. 

The snow on the West Shore did however get funktified from the temperature spike, but in utilizing a tool like the Praxis Powderboards the skiing stayed top-notch. Sure it was heavy, hot pow, but there wasn’t a crust (yet) and being able to keep a solid rhythm and speed during the descent made the thick snow an even more playful surface. Since it’s low tide all the little rock hits made for certain parts of the mountain to ski like a pillow field allowing the rider to hop around effortlessly while linking up a fluid, fun run.

After the West Shore sampling I headed back south with Toby to try and squeak out a little more cold snow skiing before the warm blast of rain got to us on Thursday. Initially forecasted at only a 20% chance we knew something a bit stronger was blowing in when the sunrise popped so colorfully on us showcasing a good grip of cloud cover while skinning up Steven’s Peak.

We manged to find more silky powder in the north nooks and crannies,

but the crust had grown in full force on anything other than due north.

The rain blast we received was not that helpful for much, thus a quick hit to the Eastside was in order, but upon return the drastic changes we can get here in Tahoe were most evident with spring snow already taken shape. Where else can you get a faceshots on Monday and slarve some pretty sweet corn turns by the weekend? The Emerald Bay area was thin, and continues to shrink, but had just enough to host a good group of backcountry snow sliders through the weekend and on into this week. Here’s a  shot of my buddy Dave the photographer and splitboarder enjoying some warm, soft snow,

with a nice shot he grabbed as well.

Some of the warm aspects have started to grow quality, almost pure corn snow while some are skiing fairly unconsolidated. SE-S-SW aspects are you best bet for now, although Wednesday may be a little interesting with this short window of light snow falling across our forecast area.

Looking ahead avalanche danger is low and normal caution is advised. We should be back looking for cornish snow through this week, weekend, and on into next week although be advised that depending on what you plan to ride with the low February sun and temps in the lower 40’s you might need to give your intended slope a little extra time to soften before descending. There’s growing buzz of a pattern shift in later February, but I say let’s hope for the best when the dates get closer and the models can be more precise, and for now, get out and enjoy what’s on tap. I know there’s a very real vibe of many locals and consistent visitors to Tahoe  bumming on the low snow year, but thanks to that one storm there are many good turns to be had-you just have to chose your objective wisely based on aspect and coverage.

 

 

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