Based on my experience yesterday with the frozen base layer at Squaw I didn’t expect conditions at the resort to be all that great today. I wasn’t even planning on skiing. But early this morning I got a call from Garrett Russell to see if I wanted to try and find some soft snow in the Tahoe Backcountry before wind and weather from tonight’s storm raise the avalanche danger.
Today seemed like the perfect day to test the touring legs and check out the snowpack before the storm and Russell is a Pro and experienced backcountry guide so I couldn’t pass up the offer. We headed out to Rose to make some turns.
The conditions up on Tamarack were great. Light, knee deep pow with minimal wind loading on anything Northeast facing. There was a little bit of a crust but no slab. 14 inches or so of cold soft snow that was light enough for faceshots but dense enough to float you above any base layer. The best part was that the base crust layer wasn’t frozen. You could punch right through it with your pole and it didn’t effect the way the snow skied today.
Aspects facing more to the East had seen time in the morning sun and had thickened up somewhat. Not mankey, but dense compared to the light snow on the North to Northeast facing slopes.
The light was in and out but for the most part it was a sunny day on the ridge. By the afternoon you could begin to feel this next storm rolling in. The broken clouds over the lake made for some incredible scenery.
The wind and snow tonight and tomorrow will probably increase the avalanche danger over the next several days, but conditions today were fantastic by this season’s standards. Hopefully after this snowfall settles we will be looking at a few more options.