State of the Tahoe Backcountry 2013-2014: III | Sponsored by Alpenglow Sports

State of the Tahoe Backcountry 2013-2014: III | Sponsored by Alpenglow Sports

ALL

State of the Tahoe Backcountry 2013-2014: III | Sponsored by Alpenglow Sports

By

"Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart, you just gotta poke around." Rider: Jules Hanna

“Don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart, you just gotta poke around.” Rider: Jules Hanna

Patience is a virtue; rock boards are mandatory. That about sums up the current state of the Tahoe backcountry as we inch closer to ending 2013, and look to welcome 2014. There’s no doubt when taking into consideration the total snow that’s fallen this fall, we’re lucky there’s been any backcountry skiing at all. Sporadic light snowfalls with one solid two-footer that unfortunately came in much colder than we would’ve liked is what we’re working with. Compound that with the ongoing trend of sunny skies and the sincere hope for a wetter January, and there you have our present status.

Twin Peaks as seen from the air. Photo: Kevin Quinn

Twin Peaks as seen from the air. Photo: Kevin Quinn

Jeff Dostie skins through shards of surface hoar on the NW Shore.

Jeff Dostie skins through shards of surface hoar on the NW Shore.

A fun early morning downclimb leads to the goods.

A fun early morning downclimb.

A nice early season apron typical of the best skiing available in our local area-powder sprinkled with hungry sharks.

A fall apron typical of the best skiing currently available in our local area-powder sprinkled with hungry sharks.

A quick blast of 3-6 inches gave us a little something to work with this past week, but east winds quickly followed blowing much of the new snow off desired slopes.  Fun pockets and slivers have been found with NW-N-NE aspects offering the only game in town, the higher the better. Thin cover is still a major issue as is the overall integrity of Tahoe’s marginal snowpack. In fact, SAC has continued offering moderate avalanche advisories based on consistent weak layer observations.

Ben Mitchell making the most of a lull in snow and a little wind at Squaw Meadows.

Ben Mitchell making the most of a lull in snow, and a little wind at Squaw Meadows.

In reality, as several of this editions’ shots speak to, creativity and low expectations have yielded more than a few fun days in the field. However, your tolerance for early season obstacles, inconsistent snow and a threshold for adventure must be alive and well in order to fully enjoy what’s out there.

It's certainly thin out there, but there has been some high quality panels to explore.

It’s certainly thin out there, but there continues to be some worthy panels to explore.

JT is not affraid to scrape a few rocks on his way to the goods. Carson Pass, CA

JT is not affraid to scrape a few rocks on his way to the goods. Carson Pass, CA

The best backcountry skiing in the greater Tahoe area continues to be most easily accessible from our local mountain passes. Overall, Donner Pass, Mt. Rose and Carson Passes are thin, but that’s still where the most-trustworthy conditions have been found as of late and thus far this season. Exploratory snow sliders have found some quality pockets on West Shore locales as well as elsewhere across the greater zone, but the steady trend of a ribbon of goods into scraping rocks has remained constant no matter where one chooses to tour.

A fun early season climb taken from State of the BC's Instagram account.

A fun early season climb taken from State of the BC’s Instagram account.

The good news is fall is finally over and we have winter and spring to look forward too. It’s hard to not harp on the weather-especially at this point, but when it snows, it snows, and when you’re skiing via human power you work with what’s stuck to the mountains. We’re working with very little right now, so it’s best to take advantage of the Sugar Bowl uphill policy, tour where you feel competent enough to mitigate early season backcountry skiing hazards and be prepared for when it does dump.

Getting Walled in the Hidden Couloir.

Getting Walled. Early season turns in the Hidden Couloir.

That’s the thing with the Sierra. Slow starts and stretches of little to no precipitation are no strangers to our neck of the woods because it always comes, and when it does let’s hope it’s big enough to really get things going. Enjoy exploring, and here’s to welcoming a new year and a hopefully safe, much wetter, active pattern in 2014.

“State of the Backcountry” is sponsored by Alpenglow Sports. Established in 1979, Alpenglow Sports is Tahoe City’s original mountain shop. Specializing in Backcountry and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, trail running, backpacking, hiking, camping, and the mountain lifestyle apparel, Alpenglow is always psyched to offer premier user-based customer service.

alpenglow-sports1

You can check out more “State of the Backcountry” reports through its Facebook page.

final_logo11

 

Logo created by Mountain Town Media 

Previous “State of the Backcountry” Reports from the 2013-2014 season:

Edition I

Edition II

More Unofficial Networks
Home