A little precip and a freeze is just what the Tahoe backcountry needs right now. State of the Tahoe Backcountry 2012: IX | Sponsored by Cloudveil | Unofficial Networks

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

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


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


Seventy degrees last weekend, and lake level snow coming this Thursday. In Tahoe, conditions change in an instant, and the cold front that’s about to hit us is more than needed. The high temps that have run rampant throughout the Sierra since the last storm dropped have wreaked major havoc on a snowpack that was already hurting.

We all know what a season it’s been in the Sierra, and even though the skiing hasn’t been all that high quality the past week, there’s still been a few good turns to score on the Eastside, and there’s always fun to be had in the Tahoe backcountry. The major issue with the past 7+ days has been the fresh dump of snow we received followed by a strong spring sun with zero freeze. Had there been a freeze we’d have some  prime corn to slay by now. However, the lack of freeze has been the most recent major impact leaving mostly unconsolidated snow to shred throughout the range.

Coverage has dwindled quite a bit in the past week or so as well. While Carson Pass (top shot) and other higher elevation terrain is holding on, southern slopes like the Emerald Bay side of Jake’s are toast thanks to the intense rays of the April sun.

In fact, most of the West Shore is pretty burnt down low, with decent coverage up high if you’re willing to walk on some dirt to get there. Case in point, the trailhead at Jake’s.

This shot looking out to Desolation says a lot as there is snow to ski up high, but look at the flow at Cascade Falls!  It’s been beyond warm!

I know those shots kinda suck, but there is solid coverage at higher elevations and even Tallac will still be holding for a few more weeks. The south side may be especially prime when and if we do go into a regular melt-freeze cycle in the near future.

Coverage is a bit better to the south off Carson Pass, but with the only freeze occurring due to radiational cooling skiing was not all that ripe this past week. I still had a great session out there with my buddy Travis, but truth be told, our climb of the Crescent Couloir was more enjoyable than the ski.

That said, the Crescent is fat,

and when we do get a freeze with precipitation on Thursday hopefully it’ll smooth out a bit. The turns out the apron may have been some of the best all week, but it was still sloppy in terms of what we’re used to around these parts when it’s corn season.

Steven’s and Red Lake Peak are still looking pretty good on the north aspects,

as is Desolation Wilderness on the whole.

As we look at Thursday and on into the weekend we could see anywhere from 2-10″ inches fall around the Tahoe Basin. Snow is forecasted to drop to lake level, and we will get our first solid freeze in a while Thursday night. From there the weekend looks to have a gradual warming trend, and with a little fresh coating and some colder temps there will undoubtedly be some great backcountry skiing to be had as a result.  Be safe and enjoy these upcoming weekend turns. This time of year-especially this season and especially with how warm it’s been recently-you never know when summer will drop in and stay until next fall.


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